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Drive Guide: looking back… and looking forward!

Some of this year's highlights…
As many of us put away our cars for the winter, now is a good time to look back at the past year in France. Despite the terrible tragedies in Paris in January and November, it’s been a great year for car enthusiasts visiting France, and a great first year for Drive Guide! This blog is a chance to look again at some of this year’s highlights, but also look forward to some of the major events in 2016, and news of some important developments from Drive Guide.

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Launching the guide at Rétromobile, with Philippe Aubry of the MG Club de France.

Merci

If you have already bought a copy of the guide, thank you! I have enjoyed meeting many of you at events in France this year, from Montlhéry to Nogaro: thanks for your kind comments and all your feedback on the guide. If you know of friends who are thinking of visiting France next year, why not buy them a copy as a Christmas present? You can take advantage of our special offer on the guide until 31 December: go to http://goo.gl/ySm6WC and use the promotional code FTEG35 to receive a special 35% discount.

Drive Guide isn’t just about the printed book or app though. We’ve had a busy year sharing news and plenty of great tips on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook

Why not make our page on Facebook your ‘one-stop shop’ for information (much of it in English) on car-themed events throughout France? This year, we have shared over 600 posts and 500 photos, with nearly 20 photo albums from some of the biggest and best events across the country. Like our page at https://www.facebook.com/DriveGuideGuru to keep in touch in 2016!

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One of Drive Guide’s most popular Facebook posts this year covered Aston Martin’s return to the Hôtel de France during Le Mans week. (Courtesy Drew Gibson/Aston Martin)

Twitter

Drive Guide is just as active on Twitter, with more than 600 tweets since we went live in January, all sharing the latest news with you. Thanks to our friends like @DriveEurope, you’ll find regular updates on travel conditions when visiting France, as well as the events themselves. Follow us at https://twitter.com/DriveGuideGuru to be sure you don’t miss out next year!

And, last but not least, thanks to all the reviewers who gave such an enthusiastic reception to the guide, in magazines and online, in the UK, USA, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. You can see some of their reviews at www.driveguide.guru/press/.

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Thanks to Petrolicious for a great review! Click the image to read more.


2015: looking back on a great year

With so many tremendous events to choose from in France – from historic motorsport to classy concours d’élégance – it’s hard to know what to choose. So here – in date order – are just eight of the events I most enjoyed this year:

Rétromobile (February): a record-breaking edition of France’s top classic car show in Paris, with Artcurial’s sale of the Baillon collection a second show in itself

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Make a date for Rétromobile in February.

Tour Auto Optic 2000 (April): joining the cars on the road south of Paris in glorious spring sunshine was a special treat

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Jochen Mass pressing on in his De Tomaso Pantera Gr.4.

Vintage Revival (May): held every two years at Montlhéry, this event brings together some of the most successful pre-war racing cars and cyclecars

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Bugatti prepares to overtake Riley on the famous banked track.

Grand Prix Historique, Bressuire (June): a wonderful, informal atmosphere for this revival event, and a special privilege for me to provide commentary for this year’s 10th anniversary

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Traditional Le Mans-style start at Bressuire.

Coupe Florio Saint-Brieuc (August): modelled on the programme of the Circuit des Remparts in Angoulême, this lively weekend in Brittany includes a night-time concours d’élégance, a road trip and a spirited hillclimb starting from the port

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Austin-Healey 100M leaves the start in Saint-Brieuc.

Chantilly Arts et Élégance (September): now in its second year, this sumptuous concours d’élégance was rightly chosen as Motoring Event of the Year in the 2015 International Historic Motoring Awards

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The château provides a wonderful backdrop to the concours d’élégance at Chantilly.

Les Grandes Heures Automobiles (September): back to Montlhéry for the first edition of this weekend for historic competition cars. A great start, and definitely an event to watch out for

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American-style grid girls in front of a (replica) Ford GT40 at Montlhéry.

Classic Festival (October): based on the well-established Classic Days at Magny-Cours, the second edition of this weekend event at the Nogaro circuit in south-west France was a huge success

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Amilcar enjoying time on track at Nogaro, during the Classic Festival.


New next year

2016 looks set to be another great year to visit France, with the Historic Grand Prix in Monaco and Le Mans Classic both back next season.

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Maserati and Jaguar heading uphill towards the Casino in Monaco in 2014.

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Le Mans Triumph Spitfire, re-built to works specification. (Courtesy Colin Murrell)

To ensure that you can continue to make the most of your guide in 2016, we have plenty of new content on the way…

A brand-new book from Veloce Publishing: The Essential Guide to Driving in Europe, due to be published in February 2016. The perfect complement to the guide to France, my new book will give you all the practical information you need to remain safe and legal wherever you are driving in Europe. Find out more by clicking on the cover!

- B 100dpi

The Drive Guide website at www.driveguide.guru will be refreshed and extended: watch out for more news in the New Year!

Event calendar: stay right up-to-date with the exact dates for the next edition of all the events in France which are described in the guide. We already have dates for more than 40 events in 2016/17 listed, with more being added all the time.

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All the event dates throughout next year.

Facebook and Twitter: watch out for new posts and tweets being added nearly every day

Classic & Sports Car magazine: if you enjoy reading about car-related places in France, watch out for more of my contributions in the ‘Classic shrines’ series in Classic & Sports Car magazine throughout 2016