"Le Tour de France" Comes to an End

So, I saw Lance Armstrong the day before last in his very last Tour de France. He was on his bike about 5 feet from me. We saw him the day before he got to Paris in a little town called St. Etienne on the way to Avignon. It was pretty cool. You don’t realize how fast they are riding until you see it in real life.

Tomorrow is the last day of my own Tour de France. I fly out of Nice and into Dublin on Wednesday with a few days to pack before heading home to the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Here’s what’s been happening since I last posted. We spent Saturday driving from Paris to Avignon with the exception of our 4 hour stop in Saint Etienne to see Lance (he asked about everybody back home).

I was surprised to notice as we were driving that the mega amounts of graffiti very common to Paris also abound in the French countryside. It’s funny because Paris and the French countryside are soooo picturesque that the graffiti doesn’t show up in your first impression. I don’t understand why it is allowed to remain in a city and country that prides itself on being so beautiful. I think the French officials need to read Tipping Point and learn about the broken window theory which says that not taking care of a broken window (or graffiti in this case) sends a message that no one cares and then gangs and petty crimes tend to increase in the area and soon more severe crimes are being committed. That’s my two cent (no s on the €uro’s change).

So, when we finally got to the quaint little castle town of Avignon, we progressed very slowly because there were TONS of people all spilling out into the streets for some kind of annual, month long festival that the travel agent neglected to mention and our hotel was in the middle of it all. This was especially stressful for Carrie who had had to do all the driving because getting a rental car that was automatic from the rental company was “not possilbe.” (I don’t know how to drive a stick, not for my father’s lack of trying to teach me.)

Not only that but the car’s GPS (global positioning system) kept insisting that we needed to go straight but the gate in front of us insisted that this was “not possible.” So we made a turn hoping the GPS would recalculate an alternative route for us, be she would have non of that and told us to basically “make a legal U-Turn and start the whole hair-raising drive through the super skinny pedestrian packed streets over again.

Since GPS wouldn’t listen, I decided to have a talk with the gate keeper (there is no Dana, there is only Zool). We agreed that he should open the makeshift gate to make room for our car since our hotel was smack dab in the middle of all the mess.

I wish I had time to finish this story, we have only just begun. Check Carrie’s Musings because I bet she is telling you all about it as well.

Au revior!

P.S. There is at least on crousel in every French city; Paris has one per part of town. I wish now that I had been taking pictures of each one I saw so I could make a coffee table book The Carousel’s of France or something like that.

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