Last Sunday we took the day off and went across to the Monervois to a small village called Homps, to watch the Tour de France. We went with our Belgian neighbours Greet and her 2 daughters Stena and Leena. The Tour de France is a big thing over here, the close off major roads and villages celebrate and through fetes. It is a lot of fun, and of course Chris is very keen having done the Etape last year.
So we packed a picnic and the 5 of us headed off for Homps around mid day. Once we had found a parking spot and walked for miles to get our pitch we waited with the masses for the caravans to arrive. The caravans are the sponsors, of which there are many, they come an hour before the cyclists and throw gifts into the crowds. Generally it is plastic tat, but everyone gets very excited and it is a complete bun fight! Greet had a little packet of saucisson snatched out of her hand by some guy, who wouldn’t relent even when she said ‘mais c’est pour mes filles’! Luckily Chris was good at catching as the poor little Belgian girls were too polite and shy to fight for their share of the booty, so Chris and i did the dirty work and we managed between us to get a bag full of stuff!
After the caravans there is an hour gap before the cyclists arrive, so we sat down and enjoyed a picnic. The atmosphere is good so it passed quickly. Then the first of the cyclists arrived, 5 guys that whizzed past at great speed. 3 minutes later the peleton arrived and sped past. It happened so fast none of us managed to see the yellow, green of spotty jersey!! Which was a shame as the green (sprinter) was worn by an Englishman and the king of the hills (spotty jersey) was a Belge, so we had something to shout for!
My recommendation is to see it when they are climbing a mountain, 2 years ago we were went to Tarascon in the Pyrenees and it was much better as they are slower so you actually get to see who is who!!