L'Etape de Tour


Today nine and a half thousand people passed through our village on the Etape de Tour, an everyman (and his bike)'s rehearsal for the real Tour de France which will pass by on Saturday.

I was on my way back from the pool, on my bike because our roads were all closed. The market had been shunted up to the route de Flassan and everything was deliciously clear.


I was in an expanded stretched-out breathed-into post Monday morning swim world when I noticed that everyone was cheering me. It was then that I heard the plastic bottles under tyre, saw the banana skins and realized they thought I had come all the way from Montelimar and was on my sprightly way up to the summit of the Mont Ventoux. The bike bullets whizzed past, many on mobile phones (Mom I made it as far as Bedoin! Is the beer cooling in Malaucène?). There was music. I bought salad from the veg gal with neither of our pairs of eyes leaving the route. Met a friend buying peaches who had dropped her party off at 5.30 that morning in Montelimar and was shopping for the party. I called Julian and we sat on a wall and drank a 'demi' in the shade of a plane tree. It was lively, convivial (note the 'Menu Vélo' for eight euros at Pizza Phil), loud in the soft kind of way it can be when there is no traffic.

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Then we went home to a chicken salad on the terrace of our quiet pile of stones called home and the bullets cycled up the mountain.



Yikes! Nine and half thousand?

We haven't even been back in the states for a week --- and I MISS France! Remembering the day the tour whizzed through our tiny village of Vias several years ago...

That sounds like fun, especially the cheering when they thought you had done the route!

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