Thursday, June 20, 2013

Paris?

Top 14 Rugby Final 2013 Toulon Castres

On Saturday June 1st, The Husband, Mrs. London and I went to Paris to watch Mr. London and the Toulon rugby team battle Castres in the French rugby championship. Our train left Toulon at 11AM, and we returned on the 11:20AM train the next morning. This is the story of what happened in that 24 hours. 

Toulon TGV
{Toulon train station swarmed with fans traveling to Paris}
Do you want to know something nuts? In the three plus years that I've lived in France (three years, eight months, and six days to be exact, but whose counting) I had never taken the TGV. Never. Not once. I've dropped people off and picked them up at TGV stations, but never before had I boarded that high speed train and whisked off somewhere until that Saturday. To be honest, I was kind of excited.

RCT Rosé

Besides getting to see the French countryside fly by as you whiz past at 200mph, you get to be freer than you are on a plane, like free to have picnic. So of course we had to go shopping for picnic goodies. We came across this Toulon Rugby wine. Festive, isn't it? 


The journey took us just about four hours. Apparently it was slower than usual because they sent three train loads of Toulon fans up at roughly the same time. We were train number three and kept getting caught up in TGV traffic. But we had plenty to distract us, like a picnic, and gossip, and cute babies wearing miniature rugby jerseys. 


When we arrived in Paris, a bus was waiting to take us to the hotel. Checking in was pure madness. In some bizarre twist of lunacy, both rugby teams and their entourages were booked into the same hotel and the lobby was jammers. But it didn't matter anyway (except for the regular holiday goers that were there, I felt bad for them) because less than two hours after checking in, we were back on the bus and driving to Stade de France.

Top 14 Rugby Final Stade de France CRS 2013

The riot police were out in full force (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité). But I guess after that whole Paris Saint-Germain victory riot thing a few weeks back, they weren't taking any chances. They could have stayed home though, rugby fans aren't hooligans (P.S. that was me being b*tchy).

Top 14 Rugby Final 2013 Toulon Castres

The opening ceremony was a bit kooky. Men and women in togas walked out circling the field holding torches. It was cool, but a bit confusing. I guess they were going for like a gladiator vibe, and I get that, rugby is a pretty hardcore sport, but it's not 'win or get thrown into a pit of hungry lions' hardcore. Then a guy on a horse rode out with a falcon followed by other guys on horseback, each carrying a flag representing a team from the Top 14 (the French national rugby league). I captured the Clermont guy as he rode past, you know, because that one is my favorite. (SHHH!)

Top 14 Rugby Final 2013 Toulon Castres ASM Clermont

And after a guy in a chariot waving Toulon and Castres flags paraded around, these Las Vegas showgirls in orange feathers pranced about. I didn't know there were Las Vegas showgirls in ancient Rome. You learn something new everyday I guess.

After two hours of grueling play, Toulon lost 19-14. The Husband, Mrs. London and I headed out of the stands as soon as it was over to beat the foot traffic. And on the way, we walked past the rugby commentators setup to do the post game. Marc Lièvremont was there (I LOVE HIM). I blew him a kiss and he smiled at me. HE SMILED AT ME!!! The Husband asked if I wanted to go back and take a photo (you know, so it would last longer) but I said no, because I'm shy.

So yeah, after the whole Marc Lièvremont blowy-kissy-smile thing I really didn't care who won the match. And once we got to VIP Room for the after party, Mr. London didn't care either.


He's blurry because he was shaking his groove thing, just like these podium dancers (I know it's hard to make them out down there, but try please). There were two girls and a guy (think Miss Lawrence from Real Housewives of Atlanta). The Husband, Mrs. London, and I decided that we should move to Paris and take over that podium. We'd rock that podium. 


Somehow we were able to flag down a taxi at 4AM and get back to the hotel. Less than four hours later, we were up having breakfast. The bus back to the train station was leaving at 9:30. It was the most whirlwind trip to Paris ever. I saw the inside of a bus and a stadium, but not Paris and that just wouldn't do. So after breakfast, I ran out of the hotel searching for the one thing that I knew would prove to me that I actually was in Paris. And I found her... 


Bisou!

20 comments:

  1. Wow, that is a whirlwind trip! And that last pic is taken pretty darn close to where I live. ;)

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  2. Crazy fun.

    What a wonderful life you live.

    xo Jane

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  3. Oooh, riot police, I likey. Love that last photo. V jealous of you in Paris in summer. Sigh.

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  4. I've never been on a TGV either and I've lived here nine years. I too would be kind of excited if I ever get to ride on one!

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  5. See, pop star. Even Marc Lièvremont recognized you.

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  6. You crack me up! I love that last picture. I think you are going to be bored without rugby when the season is over...or is it a year around sport. Have a great day. I hope you get to enjoy a Fête de la Musique tomorrow.

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  7. You do seem to have a wonderful, fun life.

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  8. hahaha...i have to say i love what the police have to wear. They look like they stepped out of a video game. its kinda cute. ha.

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

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  9. Ancient Rome and Las Vegas? That is a nice combination!
    I have to say that I miss the trains here in America. I love trains! You can eat, you can read, you see nature and cities flying be, you have more space....It is great.

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  10. Well thank goodness you took pictures, went so fast you even might have missed it! Sounds like a bunch of fun though.

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  11. This rugby game entertainment sounds so bizarre and eclectic!! But yay for Paris!!

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  12. You shy? Right! Sounds like a great trip.

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  13. Sounds like a fun experience and they even had glamorous showgirls too. I always think those riot police look so scary - that's the idea I suppose! Love the last picture. I was in Paris too a couple of weekends ago.

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  14. You are so glamorous, and after 4 hours sleep, amazingly so.
    I do like the riot police's boots, they're quite gladiatorial too, almost as much as Vegas showgirls.

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  15. So I always called the Eiffel Tower "Gustav" but I guess she is La Tour which makes her a woman but she's still Gustav in my mind so maybe she's trans-something? or at least experimenting.

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  16. Can't believe it was your first TGV! It runs from Karlsruhe straight to PAris so I've done it a couple of times. But train picnics are pretty much my life and I adore them. I also really enjoyed this post overall, so much goodness. Sorry for the loss but what a fun 24 hrs!

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  17. WOW! What an experience! I can't believe you didn't go back to get a picture with your guy, though! Shy or not, if a guy smiles at you after you blow him a kiss that's like an invitation for a picture! ;o)

    I absolutely love express trains. I've only been on one and it was India, but I'm sure I'll get the chance while we're here sometime!

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  18. What a wonderful trip - showgirls, gladiators and the lady herself!

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  19. Amazing! Reading your blog again makes me miss France SO much!!! Fun fact?! I got to run part of my half marathon in the Stade de France stadium! Hope all is well!

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  20. I'm not sure who has the funkier gear, the old style gladiators, or the new ones :oD I do like a little TGV action though, and they keep sending me offers (alas, I do have to be in France to start with, and I fear my boss would notice I was missing...)

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