And there it was…. Gone!
Today, Friday July 25th, a very stormy day in an otherwise beautiful week, saw Stage 19 of the 2014 Tour de France come right past the end of our road. So where best to see it from we thought? Correct, from the end of our road!
(click on any image to see a larger version)
A couple of minutes pass. The place is electric with anticipation. And suddenly we can see the main group (le peloton) approaching.
“Il arrive! Regardez! Le peloton arrive!”
Everyone starts going crazy (except for the guy on the left who seems more interested in being captured on TV by the helicopter!)
Le Tour is a national institution to the French (and quite right too). But wait! There’s a problem with that flag, isn’t there?
OK, so after a good lunch and a bottle of rosé or two, even the best of us can hold a flag the wrong way round 😉
They start watching it at a very early age. Look at the tiny tot by the gendarme who is waving the orange ‘all bikes turn right’ flag
Oh, and look top left, the guy with the French flag has realised the error of his ways and is now holding it the right way round 🙂
Of course, prior to the riders arriving, there’s a great build up and lots of hullabaloo which stretches the whole thing out to very much longer than five minutes.
All the sponsors were giving out freebies by the bucket load. Those people over the road on the left are not waving, they’re begging for whatever is being thrown out of the vehicles! Packets of washing powder? Beanie hats? Sausages? Hey, who cares what it is? It’s FREE!! Gimmee, Gimmee, Gimme! A female friend of ours was almost tackled to the ground by an 18 stone bloke who ended up with THREE ‘Skoda’ beanie hats!
The whole thing, from first appearance of the ‘Caravane’ to the last official vehicle passing, was just about two hours. We had one storm during that time, but we were on the periphery of it and it wasn’t enough to send us scurrying for cover.
A great day spent with friends, and what a fabulous spectacle. Thank you France; we love you 🙂