Germany, Iceland, France (& that Bike Race) & England

July, 2005

The Tour ends

No, not our tour, THE tour! The final tape has arrived. Our feeling, having really only this one day in Paris, was that we should see the stage as it was obviously the biggest day of the year in Paris. We knew we had no time to see any of the Louvre, or to climb the Eiffel tower, but we could at least wander about and look at whatever took our fancy on the way to the Champs-Elysees. So a couple of big churches took our fancy, the best being St Eustace. This is the tallest cathedral we have been in on this tour - immense would be a good word to describe it. No crowds of tourists here like at Sacre Coeur either, just a few here and there. Magic decorations around most of the arches on the side chappels, lots of beautiful glass, and that very high ceiling with all the usual vaulting. One section was also buttressed. The church is C16th and is undergoing major restoration and cleaning - this is much more worth seeing than Sacre Coeur.

Keep walking, via the Louvre. People everywhere. We walked and walked and walked, over the Pont Neuf, back across the next bridge, down the Champs-Elysees, back on the other side a bit, then we sat and waited. As the Caravan came passed we took positions about 4 deep along the roadside, behind the barricades.

Annoyingly the crowd was overly heavy with people supporting Lance Armstrong. Our Aussie flags helped make us feel less biassed :) As the riders approached the choppers were heard, the loudspeaker commentary in frantically fast french continued unabated, and un-understood by us. Each lap there was a new breakaway, always caught as they came back from the turn around. On the final lap Vinokurov was ahead on the return, and went on to win the stage ahead of the sprinters, with Aussie Brad McGee in 2nd. Great stuff Brad!

We walked back, tired and foot sore. After showers we ventured back out for a BBEEERRRRR - Ah that's good. Dinner to follow immediately at the same place - no need to walk any more!

A good day, tommorrow will be harder.

On the way back we saw another building of interest and wandered in - it proved to be the church or St Vincent de Paul. Very plain in some respects but elaborate ceiling paintings and a very big building - and NO TOURISTS!

Finally it was beer o'clock as we sat down at a small corner bar and enjoyed excellent beer, at more than twice the price we were now used to!.