Last pictures of the tour  (I promise)

I think I took so many pictures as it was just such a surreal sight.  Our road that sometimes has more horses than cars in a day, was packed with hundreds of people from all over the world and a  TV camera platform streaming it all live to the world.  The roads around the village that normally have people strolling along them and kids going to school was lined both sides with thousands of people and a massive 2-truck timing station and live satellite feed. Plus I really liked the fact that you can just stand there at the side of the road – as close as you dare-  knowing that a Gendarme on a motorcycle precedes every rider and at least two cars are following each one – and the cars tend to be a bit wider than the bikes – so one best pay attention.

How close does le Tour come?

Andy Schleck rolling past in the Maillot Jaune.  Yes – I was that close.  I was crouching on the curb on the inside of the turn. He practically leaned into me.

La caravane publicitaire

Before the Tour de France riders roll through the course, there is the massive parade of sponsors.  It’s a pretty huge deal – and was a lot more what our kids thought a parade should be (especially compared with some recently disappointing events)  There were floats, lots of music, and tonnes of people throwing out (often rather violently) freebies.  The kids got hats, t-shirts, bottle openers, magnetic book marks, newspapers, small packages of dried sausage, Haribo candy, little packages of biscuits, crackers, more hats, samples of laundry soap, those noisy things you blow up and bang together….and a lot more.   Unfortunately it was cool and rainy when the caravane rolled through our town…but it would take more than that to keep us away.

Le Tour Eve.

I drove home at about 10:30 this evening, and man are people packing in around her for le tour tomorrow. These are just some shots I took driving (don’t tell the Gendarme).  I saw people parking their cars on very precarious steep hills and crawling in the back seat to sleep. Some guys who had set up a fairly official Muscat wine tasting tent – (which did attract the attention of both the Gendarme and the Police Municipal as I went past) camping cars everywhere, signs, pylons, giant media trucks, camera towers, giant messages cut into the meadow across the valley, all sorts of things. I think tomorrow is going to be a big day around here.