I’ll admit it–I wasn’t overly excited to see the Tour de France. I don’t know much about cycling and was planning to travel this weekend (the plans fell through), and only went because I could say I was in Paris when the Tour de France finished.
My indifference proved me wrong. Despite crowds and a long time waiting, it was amazing* to see the hundred bikers fly past us. I don’t know how fast they actually move, but if you look straight ahead of you and are in the front row (which I was for a brief time) they all pass in a blur.
There are some life lessons to be learned from going to the Tour de France (or any major non-ticketed event with crowds)–arrive early and be patient. Emily, Pat, and I left the Cite Universitaire around 5 p.m. to make our way to the Tuileries Gardens, which the cyclists lap ten times. We found a spot against the railing less than half a block away from the edge of the Tuileries Gardens and across from the Louvre so we figured it was pretty good to see the cyclists. They passed directly in front of us during their first lap in the city, but after that a new barricade was put up so we had to find a spot across from the Tuileries Gardens. A handful of people trickled out throughout the next few laps so we were able to inch towards the front until I got a coveted railing spot. With six laps left, we were able to watch the cyclists from our hard-earned prime spot.
About two hours before the cyclists came through a caravan of float like cars came by advertising products and stores. These were some of my favorites:
We also met a girl from Malaysia who is interning in Paris and came to the race by herself. Her family and boyfriend are in Malaysia, so she said she’s been lonely and explores the city by herself on the weekend. She joined our group and was a lot more knowledgable about cycling than Emily, Pat, or I so she helped lots. She was really sweet and it was nice to meet an international student.
And of course, some pictures of the cyclists coming through and other pictures from the race:
*I feel like the two most words on my blog are incredible and amazing. I should really expand my vocabulary or be more descriptive about Europe.