2011 Hogarths on the move again - to places afar travel blog

Very 'Le Tour' countryside

Toby lining up for 'that shot'

The breakaway

The peloton wizzing by

The team vehicles

We set off to do a reconnaissance of Les Essarts, the village where stage two of the Le Tour will be held tomorrow. As we enter the village of Saint Hermine (we pronounce it Hermoine – as per Harry Potter – but we learn that the correct pronunciation is St Ermeen) we see people lining the street so we park and go investigate.

We have actually lucked upon Stage One of Le Tour. The village is quite tiny and the crowd relatively small so we have a great vantage point on a roundabout – we spread out so that we can each get different views for our cameras.

The long wait is broken by the arrival of the sponsors ‘caravan’ – freebies being thrown out – most landing over the heads of the crowd and into the hands of all the fathers lined up behind gathering goodies for their children.

lesson of the day is the gendarme are the equivalent of our federal police and the normal police are as our state force.

Finally a couple of motorbikes, the official cars and a breakaway of three riders make their way through the round about. Four minutes later we can see the peloton coming up the straight lined with poplar trees both sides and then a constant whiz as they make their way around the course and disappear into the distance.

As the crowd disperse we stop at a bar and have a drink – and talk to an English couple who now live nearby in France.

We continue our journey and have a look at Les Essarts – still not sure where we will go tomorrow – difficult to pick out where the route is.

On our return to Fontenay Le Comte we are joined for a late dinner by Kim’s friend Amy (who used to live in Montumana) and her husband David. They now reside in Scotland and have flown over to join us for a couple of nights.

The sun is beating down and we are using new Le Tour umbrellas to give us some relief. We are also in the hands of a very patient Gendarme – the

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