There’s no-one in my family who I would describe as being ‘sporty’. Dad will watch the rugby, my sister takes a lot of dance classes and I ride horses but no-one competes – at least not seriously – or is fanatical about any particular sport. Over the last few years, however, there is one sport that mum and I have enjoyed watching and that’s cycling road racing, in particular Le Tour de France.
I’m going to be honest, a lot of the attraction is when it goes wrong and there’s a massive pile-up at a traffic island or when someone takes a corner too fast. Or the rookie errors like at the start of this year’s tour when the Orica-GreenEDGE team’s bus got stuck under the finish line causing the first stage to have to finish early.
So this year we decided it would be fun to see the finish of the Tour and make a bit of a holiday out of it. We took the ferry overnight to La Havre and then visited Monet’s Garden in Giverny. We stayed a night in Versailles and visited the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Versailles was absolutely incredible – I’ve seen formal gardens and estates but the scale was astonishing.
Then onto Paris! We met up with friends in Paris who had come over for the weekend and spent Saturday in cafes in little squares and seeing some sights such as the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and going on a boat on the river.
Sunday was the day of the last stage of the Tour and we waited by a bridge for the cyclists to come. Ahead of the cyclists there are lots of floats of all the sponsors with music playing and strange things on the roof that was all very fun to watch.
The cyclists flew past in a blur and the noise was incredible. We then headed to the Champs Elysees where the race would finish. There were hundreds of people there and the race was being shown on screens as with the crowd being so deep it was near impossible to get to the roadside.
But the atmosphere was amazing and we were stood in a group of Brits so the banter was good.
And of course, Froome won, which made the whole thing even better. ;o)