Friday, July 13, 2012

The 14 of July, the Tour de France and Olympic Games history

Those who have been reading my blog for a while have already seen my post on the 14 of July, which is a National Holiday in France. In Anglophone countries it is called “Bastille Day” but I don’t remember hearing it called Le Jour de la Bastille in France, it is always “le Quatorze (14) Juillet.” You can see my earlier post below –

Recollection: 14th July Fete Nationale and interesting history - July 2009 here

Below is the traditional bouquet showing the French tricolor, blue red and white, painted by Vincent Van Gogh in 1887 (Dutch painter, 1853-1890.)

Vase avec bleuets et coquelicots, 1887, Van Gogh

Again this year, France will celebrate Bastille Day which, as I mentioned before, is the commemoration of the storming of the Bastille prison on 14 July 1789. This was more a symbolic gesture than the deliverance of the prisoners since there were only from 7 to 11 prisoners there at the time. It was a fight against oppression, the end of the monarchy and transfer of power to the people. The starving people of Paris revolted not only against the King, but also against the powerful and wealthy Church, the taxes levied by the Church and all the privileges the Church clergy had. They rebelled against high unemployment, taxes and inflation. French King, Louis XVI went about bankrupt helping the Americans rebels win their independence from England and had incurred massive debts. So, in a strange way the American Independence could have been instrumental in bringing about the French revolution.

The celebration starts the evening of July the 13th with parades, walking bands and balls in the streets. On the 14th there is usually a parade down the Champs-Elysées in Paris and great fireworks everywhere.

It is a happy time, just like the 4th of July in the US. French flags can be seen in the streets and on some houses, which is an unusual site. Flags are not as prominently shown in Europe as they are in the US. I am not sure why. It could be that people there think that too much national pride can result in the type of nationalism (believing other countries are inferior) which brought so many devastating and bloody wars to their countries for centuries. Too much flag-waving makes them a bit uneasy I believe.

Le 14 Juillet painting by Roland Dubuc, French 1924-1998

Last year when we were in Vienna, Austria, I had a hard time finding an Austrian flag – finally found one on top of the palace. It was the same in Malta – I don’t recall whether I ever found one. In Bordighera, Italy, I walked all over town and finally found one small Italian flag at the police station. But along the route of the Tour de France many flags can be seen – from a variety of countries. Below from top left is the flag of Belgium next to the flag of the USA, then the French flag next to the flag from Luxembourg (almost the same as the French.)

The 99th Tour de France started this year on Saturday 30th June in Liège, Belgium and will end in Paris, on the Champs-Elysées on Sunday, July 22th. It will have covered a distance of 3,497 kms or 2,172.94 miles. I have written several posts on the Tour de France and its history, such as -

What is the Tour de France, July 2009 here
At the bottom of my post on Song of France and Ohio State University, July 2010 here
Tour de France in Alps - Galibier, July 2011 here

bike 102 (Courtesy Bicycle Clipart)

The route of the Tour changes every year. For 19 years now it has started in another country like Belgium, England, Italy, etc. Every other year it switches from a clockwise to counter-clockwise direction around France. It winds across flatland to high mountain tops in the Pyrénées and the Alps. Below is the route for this year.

The race is watched by millions of international fans on the roads and on TV. It really is an international event. Where can you find live sports that include members of many nations in the same teams and, in addition, a sport that can be seen every year free of charge, day after day, for three weeks? For example Sylvain Chavanel of France is in the same team as Levi Leipheimer of the USA, and Ryder Hesjedal of Canada is in the same team as Tyler Farrar of the USA, Robbie Hunter of South Africa and Johan Vansummeren of Belgium. So this is why there are so many fans waving a variety of flags. Below on the left is Yukiya Arashiro of Japan, then top right is Cadel Evans from Australia (who won the Tour in 2011) followed by Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man, England, a sprinter who so far has won 21Tour de France stages and Peter Sagan of Slovakia who, as I am writing, has already won three stages on the tour this year.

Watching the Tour de France is like taking a trip there as helicopters hovering over the cyclists also show views of the surrounding landscape and monuments. We saw the cathedral of Rouen as well as picturesque villages, streams and castles. My photos are not too clear as I snapped them from my TV.

I have listened to TV commentators talk about all the cyclists both on US and French television. French fans would obviously be happy if a French cyclist won a stage (day-long segment of the Tour) on the 14th of July since it is a holiday and they can go and watch it live or on the television, but foreign cyclists are cheered just the same along the route. I was happy when Lance Armstrong won the Tour and am pleased to see a young American or French win a yellow, white, green or polka dot jersey, but all the men on the Tour are great fearless athletes. Right now my favorites to be the 2012 Tour winner are Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, Brad Wiggins of the UK or Cadel Evans of Australia – the country has nothing to do with it – may the best man win. I was also very excited when a young cyclist, Chris Froome, born in Kenya and a UK citizen, unexpectedly won a stage. The young Fredrik Kessiakoff from Sweden is also showing much promise.

To see the Belgians cheering the German cyclists, the Swiss cheering the Swedish cyclist and the French cheering whoever rides by make me so happy. It is so unlike the Olympic Games we watch in the US. In 1996 the Summer Olympic Games were in Atlanta. My husband and I were fortunate to buy some tickets to watch the men cycling competition. I remember it well. It was a warm and sunny day. There were different types of cyclist competition - time trials, pursuit and race. Below is one of the postcards I purchased.

All the seats in the velodrome were taken – the place was packed. When the competition was about 1 hour from being finished many spectators left. I mean a lot of them. I was quite surprised and asked my husband if he knew what was happening. He replied that the last US cyclist has been eliminated so that spectators were not interested in watching the rest of the game without any American cyclist in it. I was totally dumbfounded.

We stayed to the end. By then you could almost count the spectators. I remember the gold winner was an Italian, the silver was a Canadian and the bronze was Stuart O’Grady of Australia but there were a handful applauding at the award ceremony. I felt ashamed really as these were guests here and we were not showing them much courtesy or respect. I thought then that it was because Atlanta was not a very cosmopolitan town; however I was saddened because there had been thousands of volunteers who had worked tirelessly for the games to ensure everyone’s pleasure.

These were the “Centennial” Olympic Games, the modern games that French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded in France and which first took place in Athens in 1896.

The history of the Olympic Games is a long one. The games started in Greece around 776 BC but then declined in importance and ended around 390 AD. The games were started again, in a fashion, between 1796 and 1798 in revolutionary France and called “L'Olympiade de la République.” Then other European countries held similar Olympic Games festivals. But in the 1890s, at a French Federation of Sports convention, French Baron Pierre de Coubertin suggested that a modern version of the Olympic Games should be established. He organized an Olympic Congress at the Sorbonne University in Paris in 1894 to re-establish the games. Over 2000 people came, including some from the USA, UK, Jamaica, Sweden and New Zealand. They voted to modernize the games and the first Olympic Games took place in Athens in 1896. Below are stamps in honor of Pierre de Coubertin.

The prototype for the Olympic flag was conceived by Pierre de Coubertin and made under his direction by the Paris department store “Le Bon Marché.” It was presented the first time on 17 June 1914 to the French President of France – Raymond Poincaré.

After founding the modernized Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin became the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC.) The “Comité International Olympique” (IOC) is based now in Lausanne, Switzerland. Pierre de Coubertin, president of this committee, moved it there before the First World War so it would be in a neutral territory. To this day Pierre de Coubertin’s ideological stamp is still bearing on the Olympic Games which is the reason why French is the official language of the games (without de Coubertin’s vision, hard work and dedication. the games may not have ever become popular again.) English is also spoken at the games. Below is a French book called “The Fabulous History of the Olympic Games” by Robert Parienté and Guy Lagorce.

Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937) was an educator, humanitarian and historian. (His grandfather had served under Napoléon Bonaparte.) Pierre dreamed of renewing the antique tradition of the games – “cette œuvre grandiose et bienfaisante : le rétablissement des Jeux Olympiques” (this majestic and beneficent masterpiece: the restoration of the Olympic Games) (de Coubertin.) He felt that “Olympism” was tightly joined to Culture. He also felt that it should be an ideal on fair play, gentlemanly amateurism and goodwill among all countries. Here he is below in a 1996 postcard.

But when I watched other Olympic Games on television I saw that the US cameras were most usually pointed toward the Americans to the exclusion of the others. Many American flags would be waved on the screen behind the athletes – and spectators in the US would shout “USA-USA.” I read that the Olympic authorities formally complained in the Salt Lake City games that the American televisions were too chauvinistic. They would not show a good competition if no American athlete was included, or at least, not for long. I read an article from Europe asking at the time if ABC or NBC (can’t remember which) realized that non-Americans were also competing at the Olympics and had also trained vigorously. The Olympic charter stipulates that the Olympic Games are about competition between athletes, not competitions between countries. Here is a map showing all the countries in the 2012 games. I know that American people are ultra sensitive about comments on their country and rarely say anything negative, but I am speaking honestly.

People here should be proud of their athletes – they win many medals that they deserve. But we also should be sensitive to other international athletes. National differences should be set aside during the games. Cheering is good but not the misguided über-nationalism and patriotic fervor that we have seen here during the last few games. It is disgraceful. The Independent newspaper in London said that there was "something sickening, even menacing," about the rhythmic chanting of "USA! USA!" at the games and the newspaper concluded "America is interested only in itself and cares only for itself." I was so happy to see thousands of people in Paris cheering Cadel Evans of Australia last year at the end of the Tour de France. I hope that the Olympic Games in London will show interest in all the athletes and that the American television channels will prove that in the US we can admire and cheer athletes from other countries, too.

Mohammad Ali holding the Olympic Torch at the Atlanta 1996 Centennial Games (author unknown)

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

- Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937) founder of the modern Olympic Games


Note: Blogger Break - Post pre-programmed –


DJan said...

I too am uneasy about the jingoistic fervor of Americans in so many ways. What has happened to this country I loved so much? It makes me ashamed.

I watch some segments of the Tour de France on TV, and I always appreciate all the incredible scenery we get to see. Your post is as always very informative and I enjoyed it very much, VB.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Congratulation on 14 of July, the National Holiday in France!

Love visiting your great blog. You always did posts so interesting and with many amazing informations. I learn and enjoy so much visiting you.

I hope you have a pleasant weekend.

Mary said...

Such an interesting post dear friend. I so appreciate all you share and the hours of work you put into these stories of your beloved France, her history - such as le Quatorze Juillet, and the awesome Tour de France.

The Tour goes near where my brother and his family live in the Languedoc near Carcassonne - they always make a point to see it pass by.

The Olympics will certainly change the face of London and the surrounding will be exciting, and I do hope the TV coverage here in the US will be more fair-minded this time. Coubertin's quote is so right - we should all remember it, often!

Happy weekend - Mary

Sheila said...

Great post. Best wishes for the 14th of July.
Canada is becoming more of a flag waving nation too, but with so many different nationalities here, I feel it is a uniting force and pride in their new country that prompts it.
I hope so anyway.
En joy your break..xx

French Girl in Seattle said...

Dear Vagabonde-- Bonjour! This is a post I might have attempted writing had I had the energy to do the research, but after returning from our three-week trip home, I must confess I did not. So I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story; learned a few things as always (about the Olympic games and le Tour de France); and appreciated some of the comments you made about joingoism. I smiled when I read about the origins of the French Revolution (just wrote about the story of Paris' Bagatelle gardens you might find interesting.) It is a wonder French royals and noblemen were actually surprised when the Revolution happened! They had it coming, I think. I also totally agree with you about flag waving. It is one thing to display flags proudly; another entirely to waive flags constantly and chant the name of your country, especially during athletic events. Then again, sports fans (fanatics) are often annoying to me -- and in every country, including France. Things so often get out of hand, when really, everyone should just enjoy the show... As for le Tour de France-- your story brought back happy memories; my family, standing on the side of country roads,cheering on ALL the racers, even if they weren't French! Raymond Poulidor (remember "Poupou"?) was a national hero. He never won Le Tour once. Always second. Always unlucky. Still, what stamina, and courage he showed! I guessed that is why France loved him. He was also such a nice guy. A winning combination (one Lance Amstrong never had, even if he showed exceptional athletic prowess.) Sorry for the long reply. Your post deserved it. Well done. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

bayou said...

Hi Vagabone, ah - le tour. I have an ambivalent opinion when I hear about all these doping scandals and titles which may be taken back... I saw the beginning of it on 29th June when I went downtown Liège to Friday's brocante and was blocked due to 'Tour-isme'. Notre fête nationale est le 21 juillet mais à part de quelques drapeaux et d'un discours du roi, rien ne se passera. I loved, as always, your blog post with all its background information.

Gail Dixon said...

Fascinating history. Thanks for sharing. I fear America is due for a revolt with taxes and government getting out of hand. Shame.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Looks like 'le quatorze' will be a very rainy one. It is pouring down everywhere today [with the exception of the cote d'azur] and tomorrow will be little better. Our village always puts on a good show but think the fireworks will be a bit of a washout.
Don't like to USA flag waving fanatics either and like you find the US media attitude embarassing.
Nor did I like the UK press on reporting the Wimbledon final from the "Murray didn't win" prespective, rather than "Federer equalling Sampras' number of Wimbledon wins".

Down by the sea said...

Hi Vangebonde,
I always learn something new when I visit you,thank you for such interesting posts! I never realised that the Tour de France had a different route each year.
Your pictures of Olympic stamps reminded me of the stamps I collected as a child and I remembered they were quite a few showing the Olympics.
There are still many flags flying in England following the Jubliee and now with the Olympics coming, so maybe we are suddenly taking a more of a pride in our flag too.
Sarah x

Kay said...

Thank you for this very interesting post! My husband has always found the Tour de France riveting. I remember our neighbors in Illinois always celebrating Bastille Day with such joy.

Elaine said...

Interesting post! I know you are enjoying the tour and I look forward to seeing what projects you are knitting this year.

Pat said...

A birdie told me we(UK) stand a very good chance this year in the cycling event.
Cap d'Agde brings back happy memories of a holidy with my elder son when he was learning to drive and finally I learned never to look for a hotel bedroom on the quatorze.

Jeanie said...

Well, you know this post gets me right where I live! We glue ourselves to the telly during the Tour -- and on weekends when it might be on during the day and repeated at night, we do that, too. I'm a Wiggins fan this year, since Andy Schleck didn't start and Frank is so far out. But what you nailed here is I think the most important part -- there is nationalism in the sense that it's always fun when "your guy" wins a stage or the tour. But it is also internationalism (for lack of a better word!) with the teams made of men from many countries. I love that -- and the flags you pointed out! The best event of the summer!

Pondside said...

The Tour is a big thing here - we were so sad when our local cyclist, Ryder Hesjedal was injured in a pile-up, but we really cheer for all the cyclists.
Flag waving makes me uncomfortable - when it is aggressive it is less about national pride than a subtle form of bullying.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

GREAT Post! I know you will be watching the Tour De France non-stop---And I am looking forward to the London Olympics...I hope NBC is fair in it's coverage this time around---we'll see, won't we....!
I hope you are enjoying yourself---wherever you are, my dear!

Arti said...


Thanks for another informative and timely post. You're really amazing, is there a topic you can't write about? I know it's Bastille Day today, and that makes me think of the upcoming new movie version of Les Miserables, which I highly anticipated. The trailer is mesmerizing enough for me. Have you seen it? Will you be going to the Olympic Games in London? I look forward to your writing about it. You know, our city Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988. I had the chance to attend as a spectator both the opening and the closer ceremonies. But that was such a small scale compared to the Summer Olympics. I'm excited about London hosting, esp. after seeing the Queen's Concert, I trust they can put on a spectacular show.

Fennie said...

Bonne Fete, Vagabonde, malgré que je suis un peu en retard sur le jour prévu. No matter it is the thought (like your comments on the applauding of all) that counts. Incidentally, Samuel Becket refers to 'Fete de la Liberté, which he translates as 'Festival of Freedom.' I have never heard it described as that in France but then my knowledge is not extensive. We are having a terribly tacky time with the Olympics here: we have sponsorship overkill and most people are bored with the whole thing before it starts.

Mandy Southgate said...

What a lovely post! It is strange, I learned about the storming of the Bastille and the French Revolution in French and history but it took visiting France to finally make it stick in my mind! Maybe next Bastille Day I can spend in France.

I used to love watching the Tour de France on TV but never knew it changed route every year!

Don't you just hate bad loser sports spectators??

Ginnie said...

We've had the Dutch TV channel on every day thus far of the Tour du France, Vagabonde, and soon it will continue with the London Olympics.

I hear what you're saying, of course. But almost always we hear more about the Dutch athletes than anyone else...because that's who the Dutch broadcasters are zooming in on. I wonder what it will be like at the Olympics? The good news is that we have BBC channels here, too.

Have you seen the movie The Triplets of Belleville? I suddenly want to see it again! :)

Sally Wessely said...

Thank you for another informative and interesting blog post. i enjoyed your take on the flags in Europe.

Also, I appreciate what you had to say about the extreme nationalism shown by those from the USA at the Olympic games. I think you are correct in your assessment. I think this type of demonstration goes beyond nation pride at times and becomes an expression that goes against the spirit of the games.

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, in her comment DJan used the word "jingoistic" to describe the US mentality with regard to almost everything. We tend as a culture to think of ourselves as the best. There's no idea of the Oneness of All Creation that unites us.

This romance with competition is ruining us. Or so I believe. Thank you for sharing your observations, which truly reflect my own.


Margaret said...

This was fascinating and I appreciate your honest words. Never thought of flag waving in the light you mentioned, but I can perhaps see your point considering Europes past. And the Olympic coverage I agree! It would be wonderful to experience more in depth coverage of the athletes from other countries!

Al said...

I bet the Tour de France would be awesome to see in person. And I love your pictures and explanation of le Quatorze Juillet, it brings back memories of all the French I studied in school decades ago.

schmidleysscribblins, said...

Interesting post. As a recent History MA (May 2012) I must warn you the jury is still out on the French Revolution, which accomplised nothing except carnage. Not at all like our US Revolution which accomplished very much indeed.

Love the Van Gogh. One of my favorites. Dianne

PS July 14 is a US holiday ...Flag Day.

CrazyCris said...

Great post Vagabonde! Reminds me why I like visiting you so much (even though I've been unable to tour the blogospher recently)! :o)

I completely forgot it was the "Quatorze" the other day! I've only been in France on that day twice, but once was in Paris for the Bicentennaire! Cool! And for some reason in Liège they put on a big party for the Quatorze... ironically much bigger than anything they did in town for the Belgian national holiday a week later on the 21st! :p

I actually got to see the Tour de France start in Liège last time it happened! Which I can't exactly remember right now when it was... either 6 or 7 years ago. The first day's "contre-la-montre" rolled right under my window!!! At the beginning it was very exciting, but after a while it became boring! 3h of cyclists going under my window, one every minute or so... pffft! But I was excited at the end to be able to see Jan Ulrich and Lance Armstrong! (the final two to start)

As for the US-chauvinism when it comes to sports, I too find it very annoying and kind of scary! I think it shows a lack of respect for the hardwork of others . :s

Vagabonde said...

DJan, Sonia a.mascaro, Mary, Sheila, Bayou, Gail Dixon, Antoinette, Down by the Sea, Kay, Elaine, Pat, Jeanie, Pondside, Lady of the Hills, Fennie, Emm, Retired English Teacher, Dee, Margaret, Al, Crazy Cris – Thank you for taking the time to read my post and commenting. I really enjoy reading all your comments and I think it adds a lot to my posts. Because of traveling I have not been reading blogs for more than 10 days so I am way behind again. I’ll try to go to each of your blog in the coming days before I write another post. I’ll try to answer any question here or on your blog, or both. Thanks again for your continued support of my blog.

Vagabonde said...

French Girl in Seattle – Thanks for your great comment. It is true, Polydor was certainly “poupoulaire” ! I remember when I was growing up, before we had a TV, we always listened to the Tour on the radio. The names I knew then must have been before your time, like Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet and Jacques Anquetil. I never saw the Tour live – you were lucky to watch it by the side of the road. Merci encore.

Arti – No, I am not going to the Olympic Games but I’ll watch them on TV. I did not know a movie was going to be made from Les Miserables, but I’ll look for the trailer. It must have been fun watching the ceremonies at the winter games in Calgary.

Vagabonde said...

Ginnie - Yes I saw Les Triplettes de Belleville. I also have the video and the music CD. I really liked it – it was fun to watch. We don’t get the BBC channels here, but maybe I can watch some sport events on the Web.

Schmidleys scribblins – Thanks for the comment. I do not know who is on the jury of the History MA as you mentioned where they said that the French Revolution accomplished only carnage. I have not studied it since school but I remember that we learned that it accomplished many social changes. It made everyone in France speak French instead of dialects, stopped inheritances going to the eldest son only, started the metric system, and mostly took the power of the church and nobility and the land they owned. Of course, it was a revolution unfortunately, and there was much spilling of blood.

Dianne said...

Happy belated July 14th ;)

I love all the photos and paintings and info
next best thing to being there

ruma said...

Hello, Vagabonde.

  Your work is embraced in your gentleness.
  And sweet message charms my heart.

  The prayer for all peace.

Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma❃ said...

Hi there,
Thank you for leaving your comment on my blog. I was happy about that.
I am following you.. love to see you my side too.

We are avid cycle watchers here in Portugal.. I try to watch the tour de France.. Its exciting.
I read your story on the Bastille.. great to revive our memories again.. thank you..
best wishes for a good week.

Sandi said...

Hello! This was a most informative and well written post on so many levels. Having recently visited France for the first time, I had much more interest than I might have previously, especially regarding the tour de France. We watched coverage nightly while relaxing in our hotel after strenuous sight seeing during the day!

I find myself ashamed of Americans often, as they are so self centered. What you observed in Atlanta is so common. It doesn't matter what public event I am at, sporting, theatre, whatever ~ there are always people who stand and exit prior to the end, usually in a made rush to be first out of the parking lot. I detest that!
I am so thrilled that you left a comment on my blog, as that drew me to yours! Thank you.

I was saddened to learn the reason your planned visit to Chester was derailed in 2001. I hope you have the opportunity to go again.

chlost said...

I am a little late in visiting for this, but it is a great post. Your comments are exactly right about the nationalism that seems to pervade all international competitions in which the US is involved. The nationalism has become eerily similar to what is described in the pre-war Germany days. The politicians and media seem to be stirring this up for their own benefit, and the world is forced to watch. I apologize to the rest of the world on behalf of this country for its bad behaviors. I am looking forward, as always to your next post.

Rosemary said...

Dear Vagabonde - thanks for your lovely comments on my blog.
What an incredible post, so many thoughts, sport, national preponderances, and history.
We certainly seem to be flying the flag here in the UK this year, which is not a usual state of affairs. The Queen's Jubilee started the ball rolling, and they seem to have been left up because of the Olympics.
I have never really taken much interest in the Tour de France but I was alerted to the excitement building from the TV news last night. It appears that Bradley Wiggins is in pole position as he peddles into Paris today, so I shall be cheering him on - the first time a Britain has ever won - if he wins. I suppose you could say I shall be flying the flag!!!
I have joined your followers.

This is Belgium said...

Glad you make reference to our Belgium especially the day after the 21 Juillet and to see our flag.
The tour is always a huge event here even if Eddy Merckx is not riding anymore.
Never been to Olympics but will get to go this time to London !

Olga said...

I like the way you have combined different moments in one unit, and presented it in an original way in your post. I enjoyed it very much.

Diane said...

Great post and yes we are also sorry that the TDF is finished as we love watching the French countryside. Bradley rode a brilliant race and showed what a gentleman he is in many ways during the race. It was fantastic that he led Mark Cavendish out in the final sprint, I have never seen a yellow jersey so dedicated.
Now the Olympic games for them both, no time to rest! Sadly no views of France to go with it.
Bonne semaine. Diane

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Happy Bastille day to you. Your love for the Tour de France has made me be more aware of their races and I thank you.

I'm sadden to read about the US's lack of good sportsmanship. Where are our manners! Love the photo of Mohammad Ali holding the torch. I saw him once in his younger days when we lived in Houston enjoying a hamburger with his trainer at a luncheon counter in a department store. He seemed like a very nice person.

Enjoy your break and we'll look forward to your return.

Vicki Lane said...

Such an interesting post! I love the idea behind the Olympics even though I don't enjoy watching sports. (Except when my younger son was playing soccer.) And I am embarrassed by the flag-waving and the jingoistic attitude of far too many of my countrymen.

Lorraine S. said...

I was so disappointed I didn't know about your blog til today, 2 days after LeTour! You have a beautiful, intelligent blog and I missed it all this whole month. I'll try to play catch-up. Congrats to Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Tejay Vangarderen.

Putz said...

from a french want a be in ephraim utah<><><>ahhhhhhhh metz, etain<><><>i would just sit by my little mobelette motorbike and watch all the fal de ra ride by me><<><>maybe even take my clothes off and run with the flags as the race continues<><>the times i watched it in person i actually saw that happen<>your coverage is so detailed and extensive<><>it is nno wonder that you don't have 1000 posts like rhymes with bob brauge yet<><><>i stopped blogging at 500 and even though fun and even though i get in an occasionally blog{ read my two current SHORT wanderings blog on youse guys over there across the pond[ OH i remember now it is just your mom across the pond and you are here on the east side of the usa somewhere} on my july 2012 blog on barlow putz<><>,.you have been there before for a visit my dear<><>i just love you frenchies, and merci to you for your efforts><>i also love the green all over france on the tour

GaynorB said...

Great post, thank you.

I was certain that I'd already posted a comment but perhaps it is just age catching up on me!

Here we are already knowing the winner of the TdF is Bradley Wiggins and the OG due to be opened in a couple of days time.

I wonder what excitement there is in store? We'll soon find out ...

Reena said...

Great post. The countryside is so beautiful where they bike. We've driven in some of the areas they have been. Can't imagine biking those mountains though!

claude said...

Magnifique post, Vagabonde !Je suis pous intéressée par notre Fête Nationale et les Jeux Olympiques que par le Tour de France. Le Tour offre de magnifiques paysages de notre beau pays. Je me suis désintéressée du Tour après une histoire de dopage où un coureur français s'est assis sur une seringue sans le faire exprès.

Tinu and Jessica Thomas said...

Great post. Wonderful pics. I especially enjoyed the pics of your yummy birthday cake!

Hallo said...

Nice to see that the flag of Belgium there. We watched Tour The France every year live from the National TV since there are some Belgians that normally go to top 10.

Regards from Belgium


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