France Virtuelle June 2022: Adventure Awaits!
As the summer is now in full swing, I thought it might be fun to look at some current and historic adventures of all kinds. We have a sidecar tour of Versailles, a historic car race, a daring tightrope walk, and a rooftop walk on Notre Dame!
Adventure Now & Then
Breaking lose and doing something a little dangerous, a little exciting, and possibly a lot of fun is nothing new. And everyone’s tolerance for adventure is different, from being Indiana Jones to ordering something new at your favorite restaurant. But watching other people do everything from a riding in a motorcycle sidecar ride to tightrope walking over a French city will hopefully give you a little frisson of that thrill! Even if you are watching from the comfort of your own home. 😀
Long-time and intrepid vlogger Jay Swanson, along with some friends and his adorable pooch Cooper, took a sidecar tour of Versailles earlier this year. Starting from Paris, they drive down to the town of Versailles, and then explore the palace grounds, enjoy a picnic, and generally have a good time. Would my cat be game for the ride? I’m guessing no…
Looking for your own sidecar experience? Txango Tours is the company featured in the video (follow Jay’s links if you would like to give him credit!). The Paris tours are, reasonably, more affordable than the Versailles excursions.
Another motorcycle sidecar option is Retro Tour. They go beyond the Paris region, including Normandy, the Loire Valley, and more.
A few years ago, Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga, professional tightrope walker, was filmed doing a walk over the French city of Lens (near Lille). She doesn’t just walk the rope, she does amazing tricks along the way.
Check out her skills!
Want to check out more Tatiana-Mosio? Here she is tightrope walking on Montmartre!
Do Not Attempt
Requisite Disclaimer: Please do not break the law by trespassing on public or private property. Let the pros do that (and face the consequences!).
French professional free-runner (parkourist?) Simon Nogueira spent some time at the top of Notre Dame, about six months pre-fire. While not for those with vertigo or a fear of heights, it’s an incredible view of the now lost roof. And exactly how quickly the Paris Police will handle trespassers on a national landmark!
I just recently discovered Simon when he was featured on France Culture’s (Radio France) YouTube channel. France surely must have one of the most complicated relationships with its artists and creators in Western Europe. Relationship Status: Très Compliqué.
For our final adventure, we’re going back to 1908. The Age of the Automobile was upon us. And newspapers in New York and Paris hatched up an idea: they would sponsor a car race between New York City and Paris. Obviously they couldn’t go east, so the six contestants went west! Across the United States, up and over the Bering Strait (boats were involved), through Russia (never a good idea), and on to Paris.
Who won? Let’s find out!
How do you feel about the technicalities that separated the winner from the losers? I have mixed emotions, since the credits and debits were relatively fair and earned. But I would prefer something more straightforward. What do you think?
Curious about the race? Thanks to the awesome internet, we have a Google map of the route taken.
And there is a book! Race of the Century: The Heroic True Story of the 1908 New York to Paris Auto Race by Julie M. Fenster. It follows the race from start to finish, including lots of period details. I would say strap in before reading, but I don’t think they had seatbelts yet! Note: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from a qualifying purchase of this book.
A Moment of Reflection
After all that adventure, we need a respite. Enjoy a beautiful moment and hopefully the bad pun with this image from the Orsay’s Instagram:
And one inside the Pantheon, on Le Centre des monuments nationaux IG:
Which adventure did you like best? Are you interested in a sidecar ride? A long distance car/boat/bike race? Walking the tightrope? Risking l’emprisonnement for the thrill of an illicit rooftop? Let us know below!
Personally? I’ll take the sidecar, sans my cat. For everyone’s safety. 😼
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