Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Finish Line

We take the train to Paris - we are in first class (this is B&R - what else could it be?) and Annick is laughing. “This is the first time I’ve ever travelled first class - and my seat is broken!”
We are served an amazing lunch. With gobs of foie gras. Gary says “Somebody should take a picture of this lunch and send it to Delta.” 
Delta Airlines, are you paying attention? If the TGV can do this so can you. Step it up!

We dump our bags at the Hotel Montalembert. They have five of us in the same room - we joke about this being a hot sheet hotel. They will sort thing out while we watch the final stage of the Tour. 
We Metro to The Claridge Hotel on the Champs-Elysees. B&R has booked a room with terraces overlooking the race from the sixth floor. The street is a zoo...
...but we have a birds-eye view from out terrace.
We drink champagne, eat Fanny’s delicious improv picnic. Room service was ordered and confirmed. Room service does not work today. We are also told room service is not available in this hotel. Go figure. Fanny improvises, it is fabulous.
Contador wins the Tour. Lance is far back and gracious as always.
We have a final dinner at 5 Mars. We are the only people in the restaurant, a good move. We have bonded - we are loud. There is chocolate mousse for dessert, we are asked if we want individual servings, or for the big bowls to be brought out and we can serve ourselves. We yell “Just flop that moose on the table and we’ll scrape the hair off of it.” We think we are hysterical. The guides think they are sooooooo lucky - and smart - that we’re the only ones in the restaurant. They're right.

We walk home in the dark, soaking up the sights and sounds of the Parisian night.
We say goodbye to our new friends after breakfast - is this trip really over? and head out for a second breakfast with Wally’s grandson and his parents. The grandson’s parents, not Wally’s.
We call him The Bug. He is all arms and legs and sharp angles - in motion he looks like a Picasso drawing. And he is always in motion.

The Bug and Wally go six rounds on French bumper cars, I go shopping. It’s a much rougher sport than in the US (both shopping and bumper cars, but I was referring to the bumper cars) and after many bruises Wally figures out the point is to avoid collisions. They come back exhausted but happy.
Dinner at Jules Verne, half way up the Eiffel Tower. Fabulous views...
the food is uneven. The bug is a delight. We talk while the grown-ups ignore us.
He asks why white wine and red wine come in different size glasses and we do some serious sniffing, then swirling and sniffing again. No drinking. Not my job to corrupt him - it is my job to answer all questions to the best of my ability. He is amazed at the difference between swirled and un-swirled wine. I teach him to blow into the glass to go back to the un-swirled smell. We have fun.

Tomorrow - off to the Ile de Re and the Hotel Toiras. Paradise at the mouth of the Loire.


  1. Hi Jill,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. What a trip!

  2. Hey Jill,

    First chance since the TDF to take the time to read your blog. I just loved it. I laughed so hard and it was great fun and entertaining to re-do the trip through your stories.

    Come to Morocco or the new Provence trip, they are great, you'll love them. I'm just back from Provence and heading out to Morocco.

    Hope all is well with you and Wally.
    The swiss mountain goat ;-)