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Swimmers | Cylists | Toreador

Paris, France, Summer 2003

Walking through Paris in the rain is not as romantic as the movies make it out be. It is a very damp, chill experience. After wandering the city for four hours, Emily and I were soaked and cranky. We stopped at a Tabac for coffee. I asked the bartender about the caution tape around the sidewalk. He told us the Tour de France was passing by tomorrow morning at 8:00. What a great opportunity, Emily and I thought. We told the bartender we’d see him then, paid for our drinks, and left.

Photograph of the author and several cyclists, under the Eiffel Tower

At 8:00 the next morning the Tour was long gone. We had misunderstood the information. Cursing our elementary French skills, Emily and I headed towards the Eiffel Tower. We noticed groups of cyclists were still around—not Tour cyclists, but something else.

We stopped under the Tower, and were immediately approached by a diminutive man in a yellow cycling shirt, and several of his friends. They wanted to take pictures with “les petites americains.” After a round of greetings, kisses on the check, small talk, and careful examination of our cameras, we posed for picture after picture with the men. We exchanged addresses, and two moths later I got my copy of the photograph in the mail, with an invitation to come to dinner at Peirre Larousse’s house if I was ever in Burgundy. He says his wife makes an excellent coq a vin.

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