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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Florida A&M University Marching 100 Play Under The Eiffel Tower

The Florida A&M Rattlers Rocked Paris

Just 2 weeks ago the cosmetic company - Louis Vuitton - invited the famed Rattler Marching Band to come to Paris to promote the company. The cosmetic firm paid the cost to bring 35 musicians to Paris to play. They also got special Louis Vuitton uniforms for the events. 

It must have been har picking 35 out of 200. 

The members had to work to get passports quickly. They also had to practice for the unscheduled trip. 

The band was great and the locals loved them. We happened to be staying in Paris at the time with family and were very excited with the band representing Tallahassee in Europe. 

They will hurry home to Tallahassee tomorrow - and beat us home - as we fly on Saturday. Florida A&M campus is less than a mile from our home. We can often here them practice. 


Our 24 Hours in LeMans

This grotto pool was in our hotel basement

LeMans is 125 west of Paris

The Dunlop footbridge at the 24 Hour LeMans Race

For the last 2 weeks - we have been living at our family's home in downtown Paris. Lulu and I decided to take a trip to the city of LeMans - world famous for the 24 hour sports car race. Lulu booked a very nice little hotel for 1 night - the main criteria is that it had to have a pool. She settled on the Hotel Particulier with a grotto pool in the basement. From Paris to Lemans is 125 miles - and a high speed TGV train can get you there in an hour. 

Tuesday early we woke up in Paris - and took a bus to the train station. At about 9 AM - we were zooming along at 150 mph west to LeMans. We had our train car to ourselves. We packed lightly with just 1 backpack - just a change of clothes and a few items - like bathing suits. We walked a mile to our hotel.

The hotel was strange. We completely circled the block - looking for a front door. There was none - you could only enter through a locked gate - you had to be buzzed in. When the gate opened - the front door was wide open. The host met us and showed us to our room. The elevator took us to the third floor - what they call the second floor over here. Ground floor is zero. Basement is -1. 

Our room was very nice. It essentially had 4 rooms. first the main bedroom - then 3 anti-rooms went off in 3 directions. 1 room had a toilet and sink - another was a standard bathroom - then there was a dressing room. Each had a window facing in a different direction. There was a granite fireplace. 

One thing I do not like about Europe - they have these heavy duvets. No top sheet. I carry my own tan top sheet for that reason. I like to sleep with a sheet and no blankets - so sue me. 

Lulu had to hurry to the pool. She put on her white robe and off she went to -1. The pool was in the stone basement. Of course she raved about it and insisted I attend. It must have cost hundreds of thousands of euros. It had to be hand dug - there was no way in thru the old stone walls. 

It was time for lunch and to head out of town to the race track. Since 1923 - they have had a 24 hours race here - it is more famous than the town. We took a trolley about 4 miles - then we had to walk the last mile. A really nice museum is right next to the track. We toured the museum - then we walked along the track. They were having a motorcycle race there - but we still had pretty much freedom. It is really a very nice country setting. They have the race in early June. We missed it by a week. 

After our exploring - it was time to go back to town. There were no Uber cars. A cab could not get there for 40 minutes. I even stuck my thumb out and tried hitch hiking. We stopped in a pub and each had a pint of beer. Feeling our oats - barley - we decided to walk back in the afternoon sun. It was only 1 mile to the trolley. 

I must compliment their trolley system. It is relatively new and all electric. The tracks are surrounded by brick and tile. They are spotless the whole route. In some places there is grass between the rails beautifully cut. It is 1.50 for a ride - 4.00 for a day ticket. It goes all over town. 

In the evening at the town square they were setting up for a rock concert. We saw it was free - but we were too tried after our walks - and beers - so we went back for another swim in the grotto. We opened the windows and listened to the concert from a block away. 

Wednesday - we went to the Museum of LeMans - a free well done history museum. LeMans was an important city during Roman times - before Christ. It was a walled city at the confluence of two rivers that flow toward the French west coast. It is also the center of the LeMans Diocese. It has a cathedral that rivals Notre Dame of Paris. We toured the cathedral and enjoyed a market at the foot of the cathedral steps. A musical troupe from a coming show was playing there and acting up on bikes. 

We had a lovely late lunch on the town square. They were disassembling the stage from the night before.  Good thing we packed light - we had to carry that 1 bag everywhere. 

At around 4 PM - we took the trolley to the station. We had a snack while we waited for our train. Suddenly it came up on the departure sign - our train was delayed an hour. It started to get dark - then rain and thunder - wind and cold. When the train came - an hour late - we got on - only to find our reserved seats occupied. Every seat was taken - and people were in the aisles. The train company just decided to cancel our train and squeeze us in this one. As we pulled out - it was like musical chairs and the music had stopped. Everyone grabbed what was left. I was on the carpeted floor. I told Lulu to go downstairs and try her luck alone. She talked a guy into moving his brief case - etc. Luckily - we were on an express TGV - it was smooth and fast. 

By the time we got to Paris - it was bright sunny again. We got off the train - found bus 92 - and were back in our apartment fast

Since we only had one bag - I left my laptop in Paris for the trip. Lulu said - 24 Hours of LeMans will always be Harry with 24 Hours of No Computer. 

Our train was empty going to LeMans

The LeMans Train Station

A very nice museum greets you at the race track

Ferrari was king for years

In 1966 - Ford won 1st - 2nd - 3rd.
They won 4 years in a row

In the movie Ford versus Ferrari -
it featured Carroll Shelby - the car builder

A Citroen 2CV

Citroens were built in Paris at Andre Citroen Park

Carroll Shelby was a racer - 
but his fame was building race cars

Ken Miles was famous for racing Carroll
Shelby Cars. He died 2 months
after his famous LeMans race

Inside the Dunlop foot bridge at the track

We watched motorcycles race. Man are they dangerous.

Lulu's pool had a retractible cover - tile floor

From the elevator down to the pool

That gate was our Hotel Peculier

Pretty grass along the trolley way

This market was a Mercedes van with a
generator. It pulled and powered this 
40 foot fish market

The fish market still stunk

Lulu at the LeMans Cathedral food market

Giant Cathedral entrance

Christ high in the Cathedral


Lulu waits for the trolley. Note track is bricked.

LeMans was a walled city

Note this modern bathroom. 
Men and women separate
but you can see under mirror.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Day 31 of 40 - I Found A $7000 New Car in Downtown Paris

2022 Citroen Ami - an Electric 2 seater

Where did the time go? It is day 31 and we only have 9 days left. We will be spending that time at "our apartment" near the Eiffel Tower. Today is was 80 degrees and perfectly sunny weather. I lounged under a shade tree on the Champs du Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Back in the apartment - all 3 professionals were having zoom sessions - and I was shushed out of 3 rooms in period of 60 seconds. So I was sentenced to 2 hours of watching the tourists in the their fancy clothes - and girls wearing a little less.

There are 3 famous car dealers - Renault - Peugot - and Citroen. So right next to a McDonalds - about 1 mile away - I found La Maison Citroen. In the front window was an electric car that caught my attention - mainly because the price. The sign said 7000 euros. In American - you can barely get a new golf cart for $7000.


2022 Citroen Ami Electric Car for $7000 - brand new. It is 8 feet long - 5 feet wide - 5 feet wide. It has a range of 50 miles and charges in 3 hours on 220 volt. It goes 30 mph. The dealer told me that rich parents who don’t want their kids on scooters or bikes buy them. Kids 14 and older can drive them on the streets without a license. The body is ABS plastic - like a football helmet. Kids customize them with plastic wrap. It would qualify in America under the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle law. It is symmetrical - left and right - back and front. Some would call it a glorified golf cart. It has a front motor and front wheel drive. They started selling them in 2020. They have a full set of accessories - like racks - etc. The seats are quite comfortable. It has a 48 volt motor - 8 horsepower - 5.5 kWh lithium battery and weighs 1100 pounds. Maybe I can sneak one on the plane in my luggage.