Le Mans 2005
The Tourists' Story
Another Le Mans Over - Back to Paris
So that was that - another 24 Hours was over and we left the circuit and got away from Le Mans pretty quickly, having parked the car so close to our exit point at Tertre Rouge. Having flown over to Paris in the first place we were returning there to stay in the same hotel as on Friday night. As always, having had no sleep at all since then, the journey away from the circuit was a complete mystery to me and I have no recollection of it at all. I just remember getting back to the room I was again sharing with Jeff, feeling incredibly tired and having no desire at all to go out and join the rest of the guys in the bar across the road. So I had a nice shower to make me feel a little more human again and a quick nap before heading out the join them for that beer.
Having had a refreshing drink or two, we decided to take the very short walk up the hill to Montmartre, to take in a few of those so typical picture postcard French sights. Well, we were in Paris, so you've got to, haven't you? As it happens, it was the first time I've been back to Paris for the best part of 30 years, so it was rather nice.
Jeff had arranged a table in advance for us for our evening meal. Sadly (and unusually) my memory fails me as to the name of the restaurant, although it was slightly unusual in having a fresh fish counter at the front, a bar in the middle which was apparently routinely frequented by transvestites and a rather nice restaurant at the back..... The langoustine were very good and the fish, expertly filleted at the table, was as good as any fish I've ever eaten in France. A good meal indeed and what turned out to be an excellent (if very hot) choice of restaurant by Jeff.
Strangely, the atmosphere seemed slightly subdued. I guess we were all still pretty tired. I certainly needed my bed, particularly after the long walk back up the hill to the hotel. While the others stopped for a final beer at the bar across the road, I gave up gracefully to the need for sleep and retired to my room. I don't know about anyone else but I certainly slept well that night!
In the morning it was a fairly straight-forward routine, up for breakfast and then to the car to drive into the centre of Paris for a tour on an open-topped bus! Well, as I've said before, if you're visiting one of the great capital cities, you just have to see the sights, don't you?
And so, with the Eiffel Tower receding in the background, the photographic record of the Tourists trip to Le Mans in 2005 comes to a close. After an excellent tour (during which we almost fried on top of that bus!), we drove back to the hotel and, with the earliest flight to catch, Jeff, Alan and I took a taxi back to the airport to catch our flight back to Bournemouth.
All in all, it was an unusual Le Mans trip, wholly different to the previous 19 and a little whistle-stop at times! The anxieties of Saturday lunchtime are hopefully not going to be repeated again (!) and, with luck and a fair wind, we'll be back to something closer to our normal routine in 2006. As always, I hope you've enjoyed reading the story and looking at the photographs, particularly as I've been able to upload so many more this year. Looking forward to seeing you at the great race some time.....