When 750 Historic Vehicles Crossed Paris

Images: © VEA

It was freezing cold on Sunday morning at 7:30am on the 15th of January at the South Forecourt of the Château de Vincennes, yet there were enough charming old historic vehicles to warm the hearts of enthusiasts and onlookers. Enough though would be an understatement—there were as many as 750 historic vehicles gathered together, a dizzying record for this event, which is organised twice every year by Vincennes en Anciennes.

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A Matra Djet and Citroën Traction Avant all set to traverse Paris

The figures were something like this: 750 historic vehicles, 2,000 people in them, 70 volunteers on the ground, and the entire entourage covered 30 km to get to Montmartre, driving through the city of Paris.

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One of the 29 tractors that came in to Paris to participate in this colourful event

Of the line-up of vehicles, the turnout included 590 cars, 29 tractors, four buses, 107 motorcycles and two-wheelers, as well as 20 historic bicycles, to give it all a green element, and all for a good cause.

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Innumerable mopeds provided the right mix of the plebeian with the exotic, as they roll by in front of the P'tits Poulbots drummers

Between 8am and 10am the early risers were able to enjoy an exceptional show in Montmartre which was the end point of this drive. The vehicles went along rue Lamarck, rue Saint-Éleuthère, the Place du Tertre, the foot of the Sacré-Coeur and rue Saint Vincent.

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The English brigade with a Mini and Caterham at Place de la Concorde

The representatives of the Republic of Montmartre in full regalia were there, as well as the P’tits Poulbots who played the drums. The priest of Saint-Pierre church in Montmartre even blessed the cars. Behind this festive atmosphere, there was a charitable objective because one euro per registered vehicle was donated by Vincennes en Anciennes to aid the work of the P'tits Poulbots de la Butte.

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A bunch of the motards—as the diehard motorcyclists are referred to in France—at Montmartre

The cars then drove back down to the Place de la Concorde, which was the second major attraction with hundreds of vehicles and a very large audience able to see the cars go by, take photos and sometimes have a chat with the owners.

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Scooterists too were welcome, and here there are a pair of Vespa fans

The oldest car was a 1910 De Dion-Bouton from the pre-war years. There were also 10 cars from the 1940s, 70 from the 1950s, 177 from the 1960s and 314 Youngtimers.

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A Ford Model T at Montmartre

Citroën was the most represented marque (as many as 70 of them), followed by Renault (64) and Peugeot (50). There were also 35 Porsches, 28 Triumphs, 27 Fords and 24 MGs. Amongst the more unusual vehicles was an SM transformed into a car carrier, also called the ‘centipede’, which made a noteworthy appearance. An elegant 1953 Mercedes 300 Adenauer with its 115 horsepower was a reminder of the past.

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A delightful Amilcar with its passengers in appropriate fancy dress

There were some remarkable examples from 1938 amongst the motorcycles and sidecars: a BSA Empire Star and a Zündapp K 500 with a Bernadet sidecar. Among the most represented makes of motorcycles were BMW (with as many as 12), Honda (nine of them) and Yamaha (five), and among mopeds were Motobécane (21), Solex (18) and Peugeot (10), in addition to others.

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At Montmartre with a Mercedes 300 Adenauer in the background

Coming from far away, 29 tractors trooped along together bringing their bucolic touch to the Parisian scenery. The bicycles were also ridden together forming a nice peloton. Four buses transported some 60-odd people who had registered for the event. This astonishingly rich and varied show brought a lot of colour and atmosphere to the streets of Paris by combining emotion, nostalgia and rolling heritage.

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The French brigade at Concorde—a Peugeot and Citroen Ami

“Once again, we managed to link rolling heritage and architectural heritage. We have highlighted the specific folklore of the Republic of Montmartre and the good-natured atmosphere that reigns in the capital. We saw lots of smiles and thumbs-up as approval. Old vehicles have an undeniable power of attraction,” concluded Patrick Gomez, the Vice President of Vincennes en Anciennes.


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