Well, today was the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France. It had been on my Bucket List for some time (that list is not in any order), but I had always seemed to be away from Paris in the last weeks of July, so I was thrilled when my schedule had me wide open for attendance of this exciting event last year.

That day started out as a typical Parisian Sunday for me… a morning walk down near Bastille (where I encountered a Dutch cyclist who asked for directions to Place de la Concorde), reading, relaxing, and enjoying the sunshine. I thought myself a clever spectator by arriving around 40 minutes before the stage, but boy, was I wrong! When I came up from the métro – and not even the nearest one, since Charles de Gaulle Étoile was closed for safety reasons – I was shocked how many people were already ready and waiting. Oops. On top of the massive crowd that I hadn’t anticipated, it was so hot that the pavement was melting beneath our feet and sticking to our shoes. But few seemed to notice as we looked around for a sign that the riders were on their way up the Champs Elysées. The organizers had done quite a good job with setup, providing giant screens as well as speakers blasting the play-by-play of the commentators down at Place de la Concorde. On the screens, we could see what TV viewers could see – them starting at Versailles and making their way through the streets of Paris to rue de Rivoli, past Place de la Concorde, up the Champs Elysées, and around Place de l’Étoile only to do it all again. When they finally made it, it was just as thrilling as I had imagined it would be, and it was also incredibly fast (no kidding, right?)!

That’s all I will share for now. Look for Part II in the next couple of days.

The photos I’m posting today are from last year, as I’m away from Paris again this year and I never posted these in 2013. Last year’s winner was Chris Froome.