Tour de France, Paris
“I am afraid I play no outdoor games at all except dominoes. I have sometimes played dominoes outside French cafés.”
— Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Our Sunday in Paris coincided with the entrance of the Tour de France into the capital.
We had been warned by our taxi driver from the train station to avoid the Champs Élysées because of pickpockets. Instead, we took up spots along Rue de Rivoli, along the Tuillerie Gardens fence. The crowd was large but we had a good view of the street.
We waited, and waited, and waited.
The only diversions were the passing sponsor floats; although amusing it was not what we came to see.
We stood around for an hour, at least. The cyclists did materialize in a reasonable amount of time. Waiting in the hot sun with lunch approaching was not fun.
We ditched the prospect of seeing the contestants pedal through the city. We took lunch at the Café Loup outside the Louvre, followed by a tour of the Valentino Retrospective Show in the Museum of Decorative Arts, a branch of the Louvre. We watched the news later that night and we saw the winner and the two runners-up awarded their prizes.
Equipment: A great deal of patients, if you want to see the cyclists race through town.
The Tour de France, the world's most famous cycling event! Now, we're not professional (or even active) cyclists. But, to be in Paris on the final day of the Tour is just electric. We decided to spend the day on the Champs Elysee and were rewarded with the sights and sounds of a "Super Bowl" type event. Germans, French, Dutch, Americans, we were all there for the final suffering kilometers of these great athletes.
Equipment: A baguette, sliced cheese, ham and a nice '92 Merlot. Most of these supplies can be found at any corner market and the restaurants on the Champs will provide the vino!
Just watching the Tour de France in Paris is exhausting! The peleton ride into town and do 6 or 7 laps.
If you watch in Tuilleries Gardens, you can run from one side to the other - seeing the riders twice per lap.
This is their Super Bowl, their World Series, their World Cup. It's an all-day affair so pack a lunch (and a good merlot!)...
Equipment: 1992 Merlot