The Tour in Tours

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I am not sure what the most interesting part of the Tour de France was: the people or the sprinters.

I have never really followed the Tour de France because it never comes to Nantes, where I used to spend most of my summer holidays as a kid. My interest in bicycling is fairly limited and like most French, I see the Tour de France as a summer non-event—it is always here, in the background, but I rarely pay attention to it unless there is a newsworthy event.

But Feng suggested we travel to Tours to catch it and I didn’t mind. I like being a tourist in France, I get to see another side of the country I would typically ignore (or mock) as a local.

Once we arrived close to the finish line, we spotted different kinds of people. Real Tour fans with their flags (lots of British, a few Spanish, a few Australians) and sometime L’Equipe (the sports newspaper) under their arm; tourists like us who probably happened to be around Tours and figured it was a fun way to spend the day; local families who tried their best to catch the freebies distributed by the caravan (Free cookies! Free flag! Free t-shirt!). French advertising is all about food and less about services: insurance companies, for instance kanetix Ltd, are more popular with foreign teams.

The actual finish line was too crowded for us so we walked to a spot marking the last kilometre, and waited there. “Get your camera ready,” Feng advised. “It’s going to be over in a matter of seconds!”

He was right. By the time I clicked on the shutter, the sprinters had sprinted by. Good thing I had the right settings on! I had never realized how fast they were biking watching it on TV.

The crowd did all the right things: it cheered, applauded, screamed and yelled the name of possibly famous sprinters—I wouldn’t know who is who but I am sure some people did.

So, is the Tour de France a worthy event? Well, it was surprisingly fun. The crowd was pretty nice (this is not football, no hooligans here!) and fairly well-behaved. I hate the fact that the Tour is heavily sponsored (everything is branded, from the finish line to the bicycle tires, from the snacks to the water distributed) but it is a tradition in France and I actually admire anyone who can bike that fast and for that long.

You can see the complete set of pictures of France here.

The Tour in Tours

The Tour in Tours

L'Equipe Reader

L’Equipe Reader

Waiting for the Bus

Waiting for the Bus

The Tour

The Tour

Waiting and Cheering

Waiting and Cheering

Family Portrait

Family Portrait

Waiting

Waiting

Ice Cream Fans

Ice Cream Fans

Watching the Tour

Watching the Tour

Feeding the Crowd

Feeding the Crowd

Waiting

Waiting

Mark Cheering

Mark Cheering

Waiting

Waiting

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

The Race

After the Race

After the Race

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

7 Comments

  1. Ah, I like the fact that there are no hooligans, as those are always annoying to deal with. Somehow, football and alcohol don’t mix; I guess the fact that cycling is less of a team sport helps it a lot.

  2. I got to see it once in France and once around Switzerland. I loved the crowds and excitement! Lovely pics and yes it happens so fast. I’d love to use my current camera. Get fast shots.. I love the new fan gear too! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Travel Thursdays Blog Carnival – 2nd Edition | Vagabondette

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