|Sunset on the Champs|
|La Crêpe Française|
Once settled in, which is usually pretty late on Saturday night, we head out for a celebratory crêpe. We eat a lot of crêpes while in Paris. Besides riding his bike and watching the Tour, eating crêpes is Liam's favorite thing to do in Paris. The crêpe is a great way of replacing lost calories from our time riding in the Alps and Pyrenees. In fact, we eat alot over that weekend in July - Lebanese, French, Vietnamese... Paris is an exceptional city in which to have a big appetite, and it brings out the foodie in Liam which, for a time, I didn't think was possible. Most of the time with Liam it is, "put some ketchup on it and it is good to go!" You can take the American kid out of the States, but you can't take the States totally out of the kid. That is starting to change, however, especially when we are in Paris.
|Tour Eiffel - Always a cool part of our ride!|
Sunday morning always starts out with our bike ride through the streets of the French capital. The ride has expanded over the years as we have become more and more comfortable with the city. The ride is a celebratory loop of great monuments and buildings ending at the Arc de Triumphe on the Champs d'Elysees. First we hit the Pantheon where people of great importance to France come to rest. We ride down the Boulevard Saint Michel (just because I like to say the name as we are heading down the street). We pass Notre Dame cathedral. I like to glance up at the freaky gargoyles sculptures which guard the towers of the ancient building, and give a reverent nod to Charlemagne mounted in eternal glory on his imperial stead. Then we head down the river cycling past the Louvre through Napoleon's cobbled courtyard. It is amazing that even early on a Sunday morning there is a line of tourists stretching out around I.M Pei's Pyramid to get into see the great works of art within the old palace walls. Then it is down along the banks of the Seine. On Sunday, the road down next to the river is closed off to vehicles giving cyclists and runners free reign. We pass under the arches of many of the timeless bridges that span the waterway connecting the Right and Left Banks. The river divides the left from right - the yin from the yang of the city, but somehow its dividing presence makes the city complete -- whole. We cycle around and under the Eiffel Tower craning our necks to look up and take in its enormity and scope. It's cool! Then it is a sprint down the Champs de Mars, out through Rue Cler and the market streets of the 7th Arrondissement, a pass by Rodin's sculpture gardens, and a respectful salute as we pass by Invalides - the resting place of the Emperor from Corsica. As we head back across to the Right Bank the grand boulevards get - well - more grand. We pass Tuileries immediately followed by the Egyptian Obelisk standing in the middle of the Place de la Concorde. I always marvel at the ancient hieroglyphics carved in this 23 meter high stone. Although I can't read hieroglyphics, I know that this monument stood with another at the entrance of the Luxor Temple in ancient Thebes, and that the writing praises the glory of King Ramses II. (I often wonder about the possibility of Egypt wanting this little piece of history back.) Once through the Place de la Concorde, we hit the French Presidential Palace, and then make our way up the Champs d'Elysees, passing the world famous shops, hitting Louis Vuitton at the corner of George V. Finally, we reach our finish line. It stands at the end of the Champs in the middle of one of the largest roundabouts in the world, it is appropriately a symbol of glory and accomplishment - the Arc de Triumphe.
|Egypt - think they want the other one back?|
|Paris - Don't think they will part with it.|
|Front row seat to the action|
|Our finish line - Arc de Triumphe|
Life Strong, Train Safe, and Live Well!!!
Bill and Liam signing out.