Friday, May 21, 2010


Well, after 3 and a half weeks of running around the better part of France, Spain and Switzerland it was time to get back to Paris for a nights sleep and to pick up my girlfriend Emily from the airport the next day. I decided to skip the stage up the Ventoux because the drive all the way to Paris after the stage through all that traffic would've been a bit much, and I didn't really believe that anything major was going to happen. After the TT in Annecy and the fun that was looking for my car for about 2 hours I got back into the focus and started heading towards Paris. Since I got such a late start that night I actually ended up sleeping in the car for the last time at a gas station somewhere in between Annecy and Paris freaking out due to the fact that Emily hadn't yet booked our hotel in Paris for 5 days and it was the day before she left Chicago. I had to find a room of my own for the night before she got there and this is what I got.

The best value for my money as far as hotels went in all the time I spent in Paris. Comfort Hotel Cardinal Rive Gauche. There was a pizza place down the street, a tv and a shower. At this point it's all I needed. I was totally burnt.

After sleeping in a bed for the first time since the day after I left Spain, I woke up the next day and headed out to De Gaulle to pick up Emily. Spotted this bike on my way to the garage.

I thought driving away from De Gaulle was hard enough and I sure as hell didn't think it could be that hard to get back. Turns out I was wrong. After doing circles around the perimeter of the airport trying to find a way to the arrivals terminal and even getting wrong directions from a couple of cops that pulled me over for running a stop sign I got to Emily and we headed to our hotel right across The Seine from Notre Dame. Romantic, right? Wrong. Think snotty, stuck up french dicks and that's who staffed this hotel. In all honesty the room was pretty great, it's just the staff that sucked.

We passed out for the night completely exhausted from both our travels and woke up the next day and headed out to the Champs-Elysees for the finish of Le Tour and it didn't disappoint. The atmosphere was crazy. Paris at the end of July is crawling with tourists and crowded enough as it is, add Le Tour and you can imagine what it was like. Somehow, Emily and I ended up right in between two groups of americans. On one side a group of about 6 teenagers that couldn't decide whether or not they wanted to stay and watch til the end or go get drunk somewhere, on the other, a couple that kept asking each other if they saw Lance every time the peleton came around. Awesome!

I'm pretty sure Emily took all these pictures of the race. After doing everything with a camera stuck in my hand for the entire tour it was nice to have someone else taking care of it. The speeds these guys were reaching was pretty crazy and to see the Columbia train come by on the run in to the line for the last time was amazing.

We spent the next couple days cruising around Paris and checking stuff out that doesn't really pertain to this blog so I'm a little light on pictures of that time. There are these though. An awesome little shop that carried little figurines complete with a full front window display in honor of Le Tour.

Taking it all in.

I still had a couple more Aloha Fixed stickers to get rid of.

Well, that's pretty much it. It only took me, what, 10 and a half months to get this done? People always ask me what my trip was like and for the longest time I never really had a succinct answer for them until recently. I decided on this, had I known what I was getting myself into I would've never gone, but now that I have, I can't wait to do it again. Thanks for reading.