TDR has landed in Paris! MG and I arrived yesterday for Paris-Brest-Paris 2011 with a group from Washington, D.C., and met many more friends old and new at the Charles de Gaulle airport for the bus transfer to our hotels in the St. Quentin-en-Yvelines suburb.
We enjoyed the long bus ride this year because the driver took us right through downtown Paris. That’s right, around the Arc d’Triumph, down the Champs Elysees, past the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks of the City of Light.
(MG has also posted her observations at Chasing Mailboxes. They are more coherent than mine. It’s been a long two days!)
We got to our hotel, the quiet L’Auberge du Manet about two miles from the Campanile hotel, a.k.a. the Randonneuring Center of the Universe (at least for the next 10 days)! A welcome nap ensued.
The bikes arrived by truck later in the afternoon and there was a flurry of wrenches, sweat and oaths uttered by randonneurs at the area hotels. We got down to it on our tandem after an early dinner and managed to put all the jigsaw puzzle pieces together in time for a mini-night ride for a second dinner.
Today, Wednesday, we hit the roads south of SQY to Rambouillet. The Rambouillet Forest was as verdant as ever. After lunch in Rambouillet we wandered into the Chateau de Rambouillet, a former royal palace now used as the summer home by the French president. The weather was divine and the roads were clear of heavy traffic. The 45 mile round-trip was a welcome outing after the long flight and long day yesterday trying to get over the jet lag.
This evening we had a lovely dinner with our friends Barb and Ron Anderson of New Jersey. We picked up Leroy Varga and a couple of New York riders along the way and enjoyed that wonderful camaraderie so emblematic of PBP. Afterwards we sauntered by the Campanile and traded notes with the Seattle and San Francisco riders.
Tomorrow we ride again to Rambouillet and on to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, weather permitting. We have a good size group who are interested and it should make a good last ride before we take the weekend to rest our legs.