A glimpse from the Tour de France

I usually follow the Tour de France.  I did some biking when I was younger.

The Tour got off to a rocky start today, with some drama toward the end: massive pile-ups in the peloton, etc.

The TV coverage is fantastic, especially when you can record it and skip through the commercials.

There are cameras on motorbikes, in support cars, in helicopters.  You see a great deal of the scenery, which is fascinating and beautiful.  The aerial shots of the French towns show how so many of them were built around the Catholic Church.  The announcers talk about the more interesting buildings.  Not rarely they explain that something was rebuilt after having been burned during the French Revolution.

At the end of today’s race, there was an aerial shot of some fans touting their pride in the Vendée, which has a place in history that every Catholic should know about.

And I believe that is a papal stemma, the crossed-keys and tiara.


Appropriate for the Feast of the Immaculate Heart.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. The French also use a flag that superimposes the Sacred Heart of the Vendée upon the flag of the Republic: http://www.romeofthewest.com/2008/09/pope-benedicts-visit-to-paris.html

    I think that Americans can do the same thing: http://www.romeofthewest.com/2010/06/flag-day-and-proposal.html

  2. Velle Mere says:

    I am looking forward to stage 6, as they will be ending that day in Lisieux.

  3. ckdexterhaven says:

    It’s going to be hard to watch this year. Not exactly a fan of Contrador. I wish someone would write a piece like the Lifesite piece above: (asking the Bishops to speak to the faithful). I wish someone in some kind of authority would speak to athletes about doping.

  4. Kathryn says:

    This is great! I showed this to my husband, he is a HUGE Tour de France fan :)

  5. andrewnhan says:

    There’s something addicting about watching the coverage every year.

  6. pelerin says:

    Velle mere: I think Lourdes is on the route again this year too.

  7. Tom says:

    I too am “addicted” to watching this, particularly since HD has been available. Thanks, Fr. Z, for posting this. It was a beautiful thing to see near the end of today’s stage.

  8. Jan3sobieski says:

    I fear it’s not the crossed keys and tiara, but the mills that are on the “Mont des Alouettes”…
    On one of these mills, a sentence from Jean Yole, a vendean writer and politician :
    “The role of each generation is to collect all wise lessons and harmonious energies that the tradition holds, in order to seed future realities.
    Tradition is mother plant,
    Progress is graft”

    The vendean heart (double heart of Vendée : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Blason_d%C3%A9partement_fr_Vend%C3%A9e.svg), with its motto ‘Utrique fidelis’ (faithful to both) can have several meanings :
    -Faithful to God and the King (–> vendean war during French Revolution)
    -Faithful to Blessed Hearts of Jesus and Mary (–> Great influence of St Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort, born to heaven in the Vendée, and of the Congregation of the Blessed Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Sisters of Mormaison, http://www.soeurs-sacrescoeurs-mormaison.com/Default.asp – only in French)
    -Faithful to little and great fatherlands (Vendée and France)…

    @ Velle mere & pelerin :
    http://www.letour.fr/2011/TDF/LIVE/us/600/index.html : 6th stage from Dinan to Lisieux
    http://www.letour.fr/2011/TDF/LIVE/us/1300/index.html : 13th stage from Pau to Lourdes

    If you want some explanations about problems in Europe, maybe I can give some pieces of explanation… it would help me to improve my english !!!
    Greatings from Vendée & France

  9. irishgirl says:

    That picture is wonderful-the people of the Vendee are so Catholic!
    And how neat that two of the stages will go through Lisieux and Lourdes! I think when I was in Lisieux in 1991, I saw a sign in the Place St-Pierre (the main market square) that said something about the Tour de France passing through there. Same with Lourdes in 1993. And I know that the stages often go through places associated with St. Joan of Arc.
    When I had TV and watched the Tour, I was always excited when I saw statues of St. Joan of Arc along the way of coverage. Especially in Paris, when the cameras would pan along behind the famous statue of her by Fremiet in the Place des Pyramides, near the Louvre and the finish line on the Champs-Elysee. It’s almost as if she is urging the cyclists along! ; )
    Vive la Vendee, the ever-faithful! Greetings to you, Jan3sobieski

  10. Vincent says:

    The people of the Vendée WERE so Catholic…
    Before the 60s, there were some problems : in the main part of the Vendée, everybody was catholic. But it was a weak faith, just to be & believe like everybody… And in the 70s, as the strong stream of secularisation arrived in the Vendée, lots of priests leaved the priesthood, lots of people stopped going to the holy mass every sunday…
    Today lots of people say they are catholic without going to the holy mass. It’s a great challenge here, to help people to become actually catholic again, and to help priests and people to obey the bishop and the Pope.
    Please excuse me, here it’s 0.54 am and my english’s becoming awful…
    Greetings !

  11. Vincent says:

    The 7th stage also went through Pellevoisin (near Châteauroux), which is a pilgrimage place too (Pellevoisin on WikipediaMap of the 7th stage)
    About the Tour de France coming in Lourdes next Friday (only in French… sorry) :
    On the website of Lourdes and here
    Sorry, I can’t find any web page in english about it. There will be some cyclists before the traditionnal evening procession. I hope some cyclists of the Tour will dare and be able to participate, but I fear they won’t…
    Greetings !

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