France 2010

This summer we went to France to see the Tour de France. It was great.  We saw Stage 8 and Stage 9 in the Alps. Here are some photos and descriptions of our trip. Click the images to see a larger size.

We flew on US Airways. We selected our seats online, but it turns out those particular seats are used by the crew. I have no idea why the website lets you book them. So we had no leg room on the flight overnight from North Carolina to Paris – Charles de Gaulle, which is a gigantic airport. The flight was about a half an hour late, so we had to run with our luggage and bike cases to find the TGV train station and find our train and platform – not as easy as it sounds.  The airport is larger than Miami by about three times. The signs are all in French, of course. I know a little French, and apparently it was just enough to get us almost lost and finally to the right platform after asking in broken French and English and begging an attendant on the platform to help us. He was carrying a walkie-talkie, so I was hoping if we were really running late that he would call the conductor and tell him not to leave just yet. We shoved our luggage on the train and stood upright to sigh in relief when the train doors closed behind us. Not a second to spare.

Trains

We reserved seats for the TGV online via RailEurope.com. The train was smooth and quiet. It was not crowded thankfully so there was room for our large bike cases. On the return trip to Paris on the TGV, an attendant at the Lyon station was hesitant about whether there would be room on the train for our cases, but I explained in half English/half French that we had taken the TGV from Paris and it was fine. We boarded successfully, but the train was more crowded and we had to wedge our cases where ever they would fit.

The local (regional) train was nice also, almost nicer in decor than the TGV. It had glass door between the cars that we etched with an abstract design. The fabrics were more colorful, and there was more space for luggage.  It took a picture of this funny little sign inside the train car that shows a sleeping cell phone (I think). You are not supposed to chat on your phone while in the car, but instead you are to go to the section between the glass doors to chat.

sign in the regional train in FranceThe bathroom was nice in this train; it had a faux granite counter top – most unexpected. The bathrooms on the train are similar to those on airplanes, but these were not as small.

We took the TGV to Chambery and then had to catch the regional train to Annecy. The train station was small. The train lets you out on the platform which is in the center of the tracks. You have to go down the stairs, or in our case down the elevator with our bike cases and luggage, then go under the tracks and up again to the station itself. The elevator was too small for both of us to go together, so we had to go one by one and wait. The door to the elevator was too narrow to bring my bike case in by rolling it, so I had to turn it on its side and heave it in. As I wrestled with this monstrosity, other passengers were hustling past, some even getting in the elevator and pressing the button to go and leave me there, half my luggaeg inside and half out. No one would wait while we hauled our luggage off the train either. We knew the cases were large and in the way, so we tried to get them out of the way, but no one will let you! Everybody was pushing and shoving to got off or on. We had to wait and finally get the cases off. One time a woman and her husband got separated by the crowd as he struggled to get the stroller off the train to the platform where  she had the child in her arms. Crazy! I never want to haul luggage or a bike case again in any train station ever.

Ham and Cheese!

While in the station waiting for the next train, I went to a food counter to find something to eat. We’d been traveling for almost a full day by this point and not had anything to eat in hours. I did not recognize much in the food case, but I knew the words jambon and fromage (ham and cheese). I don’t like ham and cheese sandwiches, but I was hungry so I bought it. I started to eat it, and said to my husband, This is good. Try it. Skeptically he took a bite and was amazed. It was the best sandwich I ever ate. During our trip, we probably ate 10 more of these in each town we visited. The French baguette was great. The ham is not like ham in the US, and the cheese was even better. There was some butter (President brand) on the bread, and that was good too! I know it sounds silly to go all the way to France and eat ham and cheese sandwiches, but they were great. This map shows the part of France we stayed in after all the travel:

Map of Stage 9 Tour de France 2010

La Clusaz

We arrived at our town in the Alps after getting lost in Annecy and the nearby town. We ended up in someplace called Pringy, and we had to ask for directions from people three times. I managed in my French to ask and to understand about half of what they said. Once we got on the road I was expecting to get on at first (D909), we took some pictures:

On the D909 between Anncey and La Clusaz

At this point on the D909 we were getting close to Saint Jean de Sixt, which has a roundabout that can take you one way to La Clusaz and another to the Col de la Colombiere:

Route D909 approaching Saint Jean de Sixt

The road is only two lanes. This section has a guard rail. Some mountain roads do not. Not many guard rails or walls on the Colombiere climb.  There is a precipitous drop down to the right, just beyond the guard rail. In two days, we would be riding our bikes on this very road. It seemed impossible when we first drove on it. We saw people on bikes coming and going, so I knew it was possible but perhaps a bit crazy. It’s the only road between these towns, so everyone is on it, including trucks. It was hairy at times to ride on, but cars waited. They seem to be used to cyclists on the road.

We rented a compact van from Avis (pronounced “Ah-veece” in France). It was an Opel Zafira. We had two bike cases, and they just fit. My bike case is 10 x 29 x 47 inches, and Jay’s is 13 x 34 x 50 inches. We had to fold the seats down and set the cases flat on the floor of the car, one one top of the other.  We also had two regular suitcases (one is a carry-on size), a bike bag, and a backpack and got it all in.

In town our hotel, the Carlina and Beaulieu, had great views:

View from our hotel in La Clusaz

Another view from our hotel, the Carlina and Beaulieu

Breakfast and dinner were included with our cycling package from the company, Discover France. They were good about answering all my questions before the trip. We selected the self-guided plan, not the VIP plan. We met with the guides, and then we were on our own. We did our own rides with two other people who selected the self-guided option, Craig and Troy. We had a lot of fun riding and hanging out with them.  Here are some photos of the hotel:

Carlina hotel in La Clusaz, France

We had dinner and breakfast at the hotel each day. The food was very good, and the staff was great. I would recommend this hotel.

The dinner table at the Carlina

This view is from town, looking toward the hotel. The hotel is the brown wooden building with the white writing on the top. It is just under the gondola to the left. There is a water slide behind the hotel. We did not know it was there!

View of La Clusaz

This church is in the town center:

Eglise St. Foy

We follow the Tour to Morzine!

We drove over the Colombiere and parked in Cluses (not recommended we learned later but did not have a problem), and then we rode our bikes through Taninges and Les Gets to Morzine to watch Stage 8 of the Tour de France!

The sign on the way to Morzine

We climbed 3,500 feet in 25 miles.

25 km to the summit of Morzine-Avoriaz

This is about 10 km from the top of the Morzine climb. Behind us was a group of Norwegians – very friendly and having a good time:

Here is a video of the racers coming past us:

Lance is in this group:

George Hincapie is in this group:

Every place we went there were cows. And cheese! In this short clip, I recorded the sound of the cow bells. It’s hard to see the cows, but they are up there. There are cows everywhere in the Aravis mountains. It would seem difficult for such a large, cumbersome animal to climb around on the slopes, but they are very strong. When we got up close to some cows, I realized how big and muscular they are. Each farmer distinguishes his cows from others by the sound of the bells:

We stopped at this roadside vendor for something quick to eat. They had long, bright red hot dogs on French bread. And they were good.

Here I am at the stand while Craig and Troy order their dogs. They were also in the Discover France self-guided cycling trip. Craig was from Australia and Troy was taking a short break from studying at the London School of Economics. Craig was hilarious and had us all laughing.

As it turned out the hot dog vendor had visited Australia and he had his photo album with him. They looked over the pictures and managed to communicate with very little language in common. Small world!

Hot Dog Stand in Les Gets, France

We rode through Les Gets (which I had no idea how to pronounce at the time) and to Morzine. The police were closing the road, but somehow our Australian friend talked them into letting us go ahead. So we rode to about 10 km from the summit of the Morzine climb on Stage 8. The police were closing the road for good this time because it was getting close to race time. We found a good spot on a switchback next to another vendor:

Our Hangout on the climb to Morizine, Stage 8 Tour de France 2010

Here are some photos of the caravan that comes by before the race; that’s Troy in the red and black jersey cheering the caravan:

Yellow Jersey Sponsor LCL Banque

Rubber Duck – Caravan Stage 8

– – – –

Weird Skoda mascot #1

Weird Skoda mascot #2

I can’t get these photos to layout the way I want them. So I’ll just keep adding more and see where they end up.

We saw the team buses drive up the mountain too. Here are some photos of them:

BMC, Cadel Evans’ team. We did not know he crashed earlier, but he would ride himself into Yellow on this stage:

BMC bus

Garmin-Transitions team bus. We saw a commercial on TV in France featuring Tyler Farrar (for the glasses that turn into sunglasses when you’re outside). He is the team sprinter, but we’ve never seen a commercial with him in the US:

Garmin bus

Other buses:

Thor’s team bus!

Cavendish’s team

More video of the race:

QuickStep bus on Morzine

Radio Shack, Lance’s team:

Team Radio Shack

Here come the first guys, climbing around that switchback:

Up to Morzine Stage 8. 2010

Fabian Cancellara – the machine!

Fabian Cancellara

Thor Hushovd in the Green jersey:

Thor in the Green Jersey

Up to the Col des Aravis!

The next stage of the 2010 Tour de France we saw was Stage 9. The racers went over the Col de la Colombiere first, and then came through our town of La Clusaz and climbed up the Col des Aravis. The stage ended with the climb up the Madelaine. We saw the Aravis section and climbed it from La Clusaz.

Stage 9 Le Tour de France 2010 Profile

We rode 6 miles to the summit of the Aravis, climbing 1,511 feet. The climb was between 5 and 8%. It took the pros about 22 minutes, but it took me twice as long! But I made it:

Col des Aravis altitude sign

Each day, the newspaper lists time estimates of when the peloton will pass through each town along the route that day. The timing was pretty accurate. Of course, they know how to do this. The Tour has been going on for over 100 years.

The Col des Aravis was a category 2 climb. I was wishing I had a triple for my gears:

Col des Aravis

Constant climb, climb, climb.

me_climbing_aravis

Here we are at the summit:

Summit banner Aravis

We came up this road from our town of La Clusaz. This is the same route that the race took:

In this short video clip I am crossing the line for the Cat. 2 climb of Aravis:

This clip shows Jay crossing the line:

We took a short video of the peloton approaching. It’s hard to keep the camera straight when you’re excited about watching the race!

We watched the race at the 1 km from the Aravis summit.

Aravis_1km_Jay

The 1 km sign was a good place to hang out. Lots of nice people, families and kids, riders who climbed up like us, and a great view of the switchbacks below to see the racers making their way up.

Aravis_1km

The caravan! Here come the cars and all kinds of odd and funny vehicles. This is LCL Banque, the yellow jersey sponsor:

caravan1

Here are some photos of the racers coming by. The breakaway climbing up:

Aravis breakaway group

Then the peloton made its way up the switchbacks:

The peloton approaching the summit of Aravis

Some of the Garmin team:

Garmin guys climbing Aravis

Here is Cavendish (HTC Colombia team, number 111) working his way up the last km of this climb:

Aravis_peloton2

At the top of the climb is a little chapel, the Saint Anne:

Saint_Anne_chapel

I rested my Pinarello on the fence, went inside, dropped a coin in the box, lit a candle and said a prayer for us and all the cyclists riding.

We had some tea, coffee and ham and cheese on baguette (of course):

A morning cup of coffee with great French ham & cheese sandwiches!

This cafe had a menu designed for the event – very cool!:

Aravis_menu

The view at the top of Aravis, the summit line all dressed up and ready for the racers and the rest  of us, the mountains in the back, wisps of clouds – amazing views from every angle:

summit_aravis

That day was great.

On the Tour’s rest day, we rode to Lake Annecy from La Clusaz and back.

Lake Annecy

We took the D909, the only road from La Clusaz to Annecy that did not involve climbing an HC or Cat 1 mountain like the Crois Fer (because my legs were still tired from climbing the day before). We did 57 miles round trip that day and climbed a total of 3,424 feet. And it was hot – in the upper 90’s (F). We took a few photos along the way, like this one of the Chateau du Menthon:

Chateau_Menthon

The lake is an amazing light blue color:

Lake_Annecy1There is a bike path all the way around the lake that is 40 km. Along the way are parks, beaches, and places to rent boats and bikes, places to picnic and swim. We stopped at this spot to photograph these great tress. There was a long row of these huge trees. I don’t know the type or name for them, but look at the bark (I found out later they’re called plane trees and are in the Sycamore family) :

Annecy_trees

I wish this was a clearer photo to show the intricate colors in patchwork on the trunks of these trees. I imagine the path to heaven is lined with these beautiful trees.

The year before, the Tour de France had a time trial at Annecy. Again, it was thrilling to be on the same roads as the pros. We could still see some names painted on the street outside town. The road from La Clusaz was all downhill. I knew that meant a long, slow uphill climb back at the end of the day. It was hot, up in the 90 degree range, and I was not feeling like a pro then!

We stopped at this beautiful park to take a photo of a fountain and a monument:

By_Lake_Annecy

Riding back to the hotel was slow and hot. We stopped for water at a gas station. If you ride in the summer here, make sure you hydrate a lot. We missed a turn and ended up climbing up a short, brutal little climb that many cyclists were on. Some were walking, pushing their bikes up. My legs were burning!

We saw fireworks on the eve of Bastille Day in town, but the holiday itself was pretty quiet. I guess many tourists left the town after the Tour went through. We went out for a short bike ride, but our legs were so tired that we only did a few miles around town and headed back.

To Alp d’Huez

The next day, we checked out of the Carlina hotel and drove to Alp d’Huez. We took the D909 south out of town, up the Aravis and got on a major highway (an autoroute) that passed Albertville:

road_to_Albertville

We also passed through the outskirts of Grenoble. There was so much graffiti on the highway walls, it looked as if it were commissioned by the city. Maybe they do because when we were in Paris a few days later, we saw a store front that sold spray paint and advertised graffiti. I guess they figured they’d embrace it since it is rampant. You see it everywhere from the train windows when you are in a city.

We followed directions that I’d printed out from the Michelin site before we left the US. I recommend this highly. It told us everything about the route, when the toll plaza was coming up, and more. We tried a GPS unit, but I could not get it to switch from French to English, and all it told me was how to get to the Annecy airport no matter what I entered. When I returned it to Avis, they were nice enough to refund the cost.

Approaching Alp d’Huez is like a pilgrimage. The road is two lanes in a valley. Ahead lie mountains like the Galibier, both sides of you all you see is mountains. When you look up and think, “There should be sky there” but you see mountains, you know you are in a whole other realm.

Roadsign_AlpdHuez_Briancon

We arrives at a roundabout full of cyclists; it’s the connection that takes you to either Bourg d’Oisans or up Alp d’Huez. People park and ride (or park and suffer) up the famous road.  We stopped in a bike shop to ask about renting bikes with triples. They had plenty and rented for 35 Euros for the day. We decided to drive up to our hotel at the top of Alp d’Huez to see what the road was really like, unload our luggage and then see if we still wanted to get those bikes.

There’s this thing about Alp d’ Huez that I hadn’t considered until I go there: you have to climb it and you have to descend it. No matter where you start from, the top of the bottom, you will have to do both. I guess you could hire a taxi to take you one way or the other, depending on which misery you want to avoid the most.

alp_d_huez1

What scared me most was thinking about that descent. It’s 14 km of constant grasping the brakes, and my hands were still tired from two days of doing exactly that on the other climbs and descents. The switchbacks are tight, much smaller than the others we’d done, and there is only a very short little wall between you and God’s wide open space. If you take a corner too fast, which is highly possible, and don’t cut the turn right, it could be very bad. There are many riders and cars and trucks to contend with also. When we were in La Clusaz, a rider from another cycling tour group crashed on the descent of the Col de la Colombiere; his injuries were so serious, he had to be airlifted to a hospital. It gave one pause.

We checked into the Pic Blanc hotel:

Pic_Blanc_Hotel

And looked across the valley at the view:

Galibier2

I admit we decided not to ride the famous climb. It was a disappointment, but I was too afraid of crashing on the descent. I was uncertain about being able to climb all the way up too. This was serious business, not for the faint of heart and not done on a whim or as a joke. I would not put on pads and get out on a football field with NFL players and think “I can do this” any more than I would compare myself with a professional cyclist. I have a whole new perspective now and respect for the racers and the climbs they do day after day and the effort required. When I saw Cadel Evans after he finished that stage with a broken elbow and his face was white with pain and misery, I felt like he deserved a medal for slugging it out that day. He lost the yellow jersey and lots of time that day, but he survived and grueling round with the mountains.

Here is my husband bringing the spirit of Jimi Hendrix with him to Alp d’Huez with the Galibier in the background:

jay_alp_d_huez

Looking the other direction:

alp_d_huez2

We hiked around behind the hotel Pic Blanc and around town and found a pretty mountain stream, similar to others throughout the Alps:

me_stream_AlpdHuez

It’s hard to describe how beautiful the Alps are. It’s picture perfect. Completely.

Paris

We arrived in Paris after another series of train rides, but we got a bit smarter this time. One of us stayed on the platform with the luggage this time and the other ran to check the schedule downstairs. Fortunately the connecting train was departing from the same platform, so we stayed where we were since we only had about a 45-minute wait. This was in the Lyon train station, another large metropolis in its own right. It was hot waiting outside, but we survived. The TGV arrived, and we struggled to load our bags. It was much busier this time, but we managed. We arrived in Paris at the CDG airport – TGV terminal and looked for the shuttle bus to the Marriott at Roissy, which is near the airport. The bus was at a different area of the terminal, so we set off once again and finally found the right place.

The “Black Bus” took us and about four thousand other people to their hotels and ours. The Marriott was very nice and full of English speaking people, mostly Americans. It was the first time I did not have to use my French. For dinner we made the mistake of eating at a terrible (and fake) English pub for dinner at a nearby hotel.

The next day we took the Metro into Paris. The ride took about 40 minutes, and more people got on at every station. It was Saturday in Paris, and everyone was heading into the city to do things. Some guys in some kind of ornate robes got on and read the parimutuel page of the newspaper, selecting horses. A lady had her grocery bags. The train whizzed by one graffiti-stained station after another. Then a bizarre man entered the train car, dragging behind him cart with what turned out to be a radio. He stopped in the middle of the car, turned it on, and proceeded to sing and clap his hands. I thought maybe he was a little crazy. On our return trip on the Metro back to the hotel at the end of the day, another younger guy played the accordion in one car after another and asked for money. I guess they are street musicians, but they play and sing polka-like tunes on the trains. Sorry but, I couldn’t wait for them to be quiet and go away.

The trains were beat up and kid of dirty. Nothing romantic about them. The stations were equally unglamorous. Don’t be fooled into thinking everything about Paris is wonderful. It’s a city full of speeding cars, rushing people, noisy trucks, and pissing bums, just like any other city. Yes, there are magnificent historic buildings everywhere you turn. we went on to see the sights we had planned to see as we rose out of the underground Metro station.

We stopped in a McDonald’s because my husband wanted to see if the menu had the Royal with Cheese and to see if the food tasted different. We ate a breakfast muffin that was not as greasy as the ones in the US, but it was not fast either. Here is the menu. Look at the prices! The Euro was about $1.22 at the time:

McDonalds_Paris

I did not know that the street signs in Paris are actually plaques on the walls of the buildings. No one told me this. I was looking for street signs at the intersections on the traffic signals or lamp posts, but no – I finally discovered on plastered to a corner of a building.  I hate being lost. We found the Louvre, which is pretty large and hard to miss.

The Louvre

The building of the Louvre Museum is in itself amazing, outside and in.

Louvre_outside2

Another angle as we continued walking to find the entrance:

Louvre_outside3

The street had a bike path separated from the traffic – a good idea because cars do not slow down. I almost stepped too closed to one.

More amazing architecture (endless tomes have been written about it; these are just my simple notes and photos):

Louvre_statues

The famous entrance pyramid:

Louvre_entrance

Inside, I was marveling at the architecture at every turn. Even a staircase between sections is decorated. This ceiling is an example:

Louvre_ceiling3

We also went down to see The Keep, the original walls of the chateau that was on the site where the museum stands today. I do not have any photos of it, but it was amazing.

It was so busy. We got there about 10:30 am, and it was already busy. I can’t imagine it getting more full. It was also getting warm in some of the wings. I’m glad we went in the morning. This must be a typical July day for the staff at the museum:

Louvre2

Of course we saw the Mona Lisa. She is on the first floor in the Denon wing of Italian paintings:

Louvre_Mona_Lisa

Some of the religious art from the Denon wing:

painting1

I don’t know the name of these paintings or the painter. I will ask my brother who probably knows.

Jay was fascinated with the paintings of John the Baptist’s beheading:

painting4

A large mural that was in the same room as the Mona Lisa, across from her, so she has something to look at after the museum closes:

mural

Artifacts:

ancient_chair

An ancient chair.

How did the straw remain preserved?

There were many artifacts from ancient cultures. I wish I’d taken notes while walking around. I still have my map, creases and all. we walked through the Egyptian antiquities, some Greek and Roman antiquities (but part of that was closed), and we saw some Flemish paintings and others from Holland and the Netherlands such as Rembrandt. The eyes in his portraits glimmer, gleam and follow you.

This is a painter’s pallet. I’m not sure how old it is.  Painter’s tools in a museum full of paintings.

painters_pallet

There is far more inside the museum than I can document. We also ate in a cafe, visited one of the gift shops, and then we went outside to the Tuileries Gardens. That was much more enjoyable than I expected.

Louvre_outside

We walked through part of the gardens and stopped at a snack stand near the Ferris wheel. It was under a tent and very casual. We thought we had to order at the counter and then sit down, but a young man who worked there ushered us to a table and in his broken English told us to sit and that he would get us our order. He hustled and was very serious. We encountered this frequently. In Alp d’Huez at a sidewalk cafe, I tried to open a freezer case to get an ice cream bar when the woman at the counter closed it and said to sit and that she would get it for me. I was just trying to expedite matters by getting it and paying for it to save her the trouble, but no, that is not the way it is there often. This was her cafe and she will take care of you. I also heard a similar story about a neighbor who wanted to park his car in a garage in Italy, but the attendant insisted on parking the car himself despite the fact that an open space was available directly in front of him. So, I retreated from my social faux pas and sat down to avoid any further transgressions. I was impressed by how seriously they took their work as if it were a point of honor. I did not take this as rudeness on their part.

After the gardens, we headed for the Place de la Concorde:

place_concorde

Every time we watch the Tour de France since this trip, we point at the TV as the racers zip down the streets past these very places where we walked, and we say, “We were there!” It was such a great trip.

Then we crossed the very busy street to get to the Champs Elysees:

Champs_Elysees

We wanted to see up close the cobblestones that the Tour would be racing on the following week. The Champs Elysees already had barricades up lining the sidewalks. I’m not sure if it’s always like this in the summer or if this was in preparation of the race coming to Paris the next weekend.

The last place we visited was the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery to see Jim Morrison’s grave. It’s another type of pilgrimage for lovers of rock n roll. We are fans of The Doors and wanted to see this famous monument. We were not the only ones. In fact, his tombstone was one of the busiest around. We did not walk through the whole cemetery because it’s really large.

Morrison1

We returned to our hotel afterwards, had a beer for Jim, toasted Lance’s last Tour, and cheered on Andy Schleck. The flight back was cramped and uncomfortable. My bike did not arrive at the Miami airport when we did, so the airline tracked it down and brought it to our house – at 4 am. At least it arrived, with only a few scratches (most annoying especially since I’d paid well to get it repainted a year before).

My 10-year old Pinarello, my husband’s new Kuota, our luggage (some of our and some borrowed from friends and family), and my husband and I had finally returned from a trip of a lifetime. I am grateful to have been able to go and to ride and do something I always wanted to do. I did not want to wait until “retirement” since you never know what tomorrow may bring. Live and ride while you can! I hope you enjoyed this blog. We enjoyed our trip and now enjoy sharing the experience.

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sol  |  July 25, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    The pictures are awesome! Sounds like you had an amazing time! Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Reply
  • 2. Kimberley  |  July 26, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Marie, loved your blog on France. Your trip sounds fantastic, dream come true! I skipped around a bit on your website, too. I didn’t know you were writing so much on it. Great idea. You’re a natural blogger.

    Reply
  • 3. palm coas vickers  |  August 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    yea etz;lers have you recoverd yet?have to take up motorcyclles next or maybe NASCAR

    Reply
  • 4. (Le Roi)  |  August 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Bonjour, blahblaewh. Thank you Jay, laughed my ass off.
    You’ve done well, glad it was great, despite the drag(ing of cases and luggage).

    Reply
  • 5. Mary  |  August 4, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Marie-

    LOVED the pics; thanks for sharing. I know Bob have loved to have gone with you on this trip.

    Reply
  • 6. Hertzl  |  August 8, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Nice. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. The jambon and fromage paragraph made me hungry, so in the absence of the alps, the French bakery on stifling road was the next best alternative. Now you probably are well trained to climb the Alp d’huez next year.
    Good luck!

    Reply
  • 7. Frank  |  August 9, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Great site and great pictures. It appears you both had the time of your life, I’m very happy for you.

    Reply
  • 8. Patrick  |  August 13, 2010 at 5:34 am

    You guys should get a trophy for carrying your bike cases on the trains. Love the details of your trip, it was like readiing a magazine artical. Maybe next year you could sit in the booth with Phil, Paul, Craig and Bobke (Bob Rohl) and commentate for Versus.

    Reply
  • 9. Andrea  |  August 16, 2010 at 12:35 am

    The trip of a lifetime!!! Thanks for sharing your journey!

    Reply
  • 10. Ariyan  |  August 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Marie,
    Thank you for allowing me to enjoy France and Tour de France. You have definitely mastered the art of expression. You are an excellent writer. I felt like I was on vacation with you. Maybe next time.

    Reply
  • 11. Israel  |  August 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Marie, These pictures bring back such memories and you to one day will have the same memories. Hope you and Jay continue to share such wonderful adventures in the near future.
    Health and happiness always.

    Reply
  • 12. Carl Zettelmeyer  |  August 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Terrific blog on a terrific trip, Marie. You should definitely submit to the travel mags. Betcha some editor would be happy to buy it.

    Reply

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