Today, January 25, 2011, is a fitting day to finally wrap up my posts about our Paris on a Whim adventure, exactly six months since we witnessed the last day of the Tour de France.
It's been a perfect trip. We have had fun. I have created a work of love. And for the last day I have met my goal of having one day totally free from illustrating. There is nothing left to do, the project is complete. The body of art is splendid and perfect. I am extremely proud of it. Later back in the states I learn that I have entirely missed the mark of the author's vision, and at that point am more than willing to step away from the project, but the publisher wants me to stay the course, with a few changes, and so I do.
Today before heading over toward Champ Elysses to see what we can see of the race as mere spectators, Donny & I carefully roll the precious illustrations as one unit in protective paper. The copy sheets are very big and rolling is the only way to get them into my carry on which is where they will travel. No way will they leave our sight. It's a snug fit but works and after that the rest of the packing is easy. We do have a concern about weight, not wishing to pay for extra pounds and so I wolf the remainder of the rhubarb preserves I have longingly wished to bring home to savor on special occasions.
Crossing Pont Louis Philippe we see Paris Plages in full swing. So many activities. We do not wander down to the beach but stroll swiftly along Quai de l'hotel de Ville. At Pont des Arts we hang a right and then a left to cross by the Louve pyramid. We continue on into des Tulieries and at the end find the best place we can up top to see something. We are peeking through a steel fence right above the street that leads onto Place de la Concorde but for now there is nothing but spectators to see.
It is thankfully a nice day, not very hot. Eventually we spy support vehicles. They pass in a never ending line of vans and buses and cars and trucks. All very colorful and sporting bright logos. Then there is nothing. We wait and we wait. At last we hear a roar from the crowd down below. They can see the velos and riders coming. And in a blur the dozen or so leaders are past. A much larger pack of slower cyclists bring up the rear. Followed by support cars. Eight laps they give us and each is a fast blur. It seems to take about 3 minutes per lap but that's a guess.
We head back toward the Seine and meander along the river bank watching performance art, ducks swimming, a wedding, and just before home, we wander through Paris Plages. Back at the flat we pack a bit more and head for the Polidor on Rue Monsieur Le Prince, where Emily & Marty took me for my first meal in Paris. Donny has steak tartare. It is very pink and actually quite tasty.
We are done. We have explored, worked, and wined & dined our way through another delightful Paris excursion.