Tour de France, French Banking and Vitamin C …

The Tour de France concluded its 97th race this week as it always does – along the Champs-Elysees in Paris. And like I always do, I covered the arrival and watched bikes fly past me at crazy speeds, doing their 8 loops along the cobblestone streets, passing next to the Arc de Triomphe. The last stage of the tour is for some reason largely ceremonial so everyone knew the winner, Spain’s Alberto Contador, before the final stage even started.

Spaniard Alberto Contador (yellow jersey) crosses the Tour de France finish line

Lance Armstrong participated in what he said would be his final Tour. He didn’t do too well individually but his team did win the overall team competition. Other than running into CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, it was a very low-key event this year. I’m not exactly sure why but everyone could feel that.

Riders along the Champs-Elysees

Had a two hour meeting with my French banker this week. It was highly educational as well as brain numbing. We spoke about what it takes to get a loan to buy property in France as well as the details of what they do and don’t allow people to do. There were a few amusing moments as I tried my best to understand him – both because of the technical nature of what he was talking about as well as the fact that he was speaking French (!). My favorite part of our discussion came when I tried to ask him how one could tap into their home equity. He didn’t understand what I meant so I tried describing the mechanics of how we do that in the US. After he finally got the concept, he basically laughed at the idea. There’s no doing that in France. The way you get your money out is to sell the property. He had a good laugh when I told him that we have credit cards in the US where you can basically pay for your dinner at a restaurant with the equity in your home. I have a lot to learn about the French system, but I can say that it’s significantly more conservative than ours. Maybe that’s why their banks aren’t in the shape ours are.

And finally, a non-French story that I enjoyed reading about. Nissan announced on Wednesday a number of new features that will be available in upcoming models of its vehicles, including air conditioners that emit vitamin C.
The company plans to introduce Sharp air purifiers and air conditioners that pump vitamin C to moisturize drivers’ skin during their ride.

Some photos of the week:

Spaniard Alberto Contador celebrates on the podium

King of the Mountain Frenchman Anthony Charteau

Lance Armstrong

Men - Place Saint Michel


Jerry Buss?

De Gaulle on the Hotel de Ville


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Flexie Silpa on September 2, 2010 at 12:49 am

    I know how much fun that must have been for you. Those sunsets were gorgeous and the photography equally beautiful. Looking forward to seeing more pictures onyour next trip.


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