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Famous Five!

Five more great events to round out the season
In my last blog I called out seven of the best events to enjoy in France during September. But the run of outdoor rallies and sporting events keeps going into October, so if you’re planning an end-of-season trip over the Channel, there’s still plenty to enjoy. Here are five of my top tips for the month ahead, all of them described in more detail in the guide.

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Enjoying the last of the sun at the Dix Mille Tours. (Courtesy Peter Auto/Patrick Payany)


Rallye Paris-Deauville

The Club de l’Auto is one of the best-established multi-marque car clubs in France and organises a series of touring rallies throughout the year. The rallies follow a well-tried formula, with many participants coming back every year, often with different cars. After a grand send-off – in this case from the Place Vendôme in Paris – they follow a leisurely touring route, to finish by the sea for a gala dinner and a concours d’élégance. The rally to Deauville is now in its 49th year, and although it’s now too late to register, you can enjoy the event – completely for free – as a spectator. Why not make a weekend of it in Normandy, and stay in Deauville or nearby Trouville or Honfleur? Come along to the racecourse in Deauville to inspect the cars on Sunday morning (4 October), then enjoy the concours d’élégance in the afternoon? The cars date from 1900-1970 and are expertly presented by Patrick Rollet, President of the FIVA. This year’s marque of honour will be one of the oldest French manufacturers, Panhard & Levassor. See page 77 in the guide to find out more.

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1934 ‘Derby’ Bentley with coachwork by Kellner at the racetrack in Deauville.

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In 2014 Saulius Karosas brought this beautiful Erdmann & Rossi-bodied Mercedes 380K Special Roadster to the concours.

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One of Panhard & Levassor’s most remarkable cars, a 1939 X81 Dynamic Parisienne, seen here in Troyes.


Autobrocante de Lohéac

The same weekend as the concours d’élégance in Deauville – October 3/4 – will see up to 20,000 visitors converge on the tiny village of Lohéac for its annual ‘Autobrocante’ or autojumble. The nearest France has to Beaulieu’s Autojumble, it’s a great opportunity to track down hard-to-find parts, especially for French cars. This year there’s a special focus on Renault and a tribute to one of France’s best-loved rally drivers, Jean Ragnotti, as well as a gathering of Renault 4s. The activities spread across the site of Lohéac’s famous museum, the Manoir de l’Automobile, and the track next door. You’ll find more details on page 85 in the guide, or (in French only) at www.groupe-hommell.com/2015/08/16/autobrocante-loheac-2015/. If you haven’t been there before, the museum alone is a ‘must see’, and Lohéac is only 70 miles’ drive from the port at St Malo.

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This year’s Autobrocante will be the 23rd. (Courtesy the organisers)

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Early Renault 4, seen here at the historic velodrome in Roubaix.

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Alpine A110 berlinette, driven by Jean Ragnotti in the Tour Auto.

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Impressive array of Le Mans racers inside the Manoir de l’Automobile.


Les Dix Mille Tours, Le Castellet

Or why not head a bit further south, to the famous Circuit Paul Ricard, about an hour’s drive from Marseille and its nearby airport? Peter Auto, the organisation behind Le Mans Classic, runs this exceptional race weekend on October 3/4. Whether you prefer Group C prototypes, Ferrari 250s or Sixties saloons, you’ll see some of Europe’s finest historic racing cars in action. But owners of any kind of classic car can take to the track each day or simply park their cars in the paddock alongside fellow enthusiasts. The circuit at Le Castellet has great viewing facilities, and this year entrance to the general enclosure is free! Read more on pages 136 and 147 in the guide.

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Ford Lotus Cortina cocks a wheel at Le Castellet. (Courtesy Peter Auto/Patrick Payany)

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More track action from last year at Le Castellet. (Courtesy Peter Auto/Patrick Payany)

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Getting up close to this beautiful Maserati in the paddock.


Classic Festival, Nogaro

The following weekend – October 10/11 – gives enthusiasts the chance to discover, or re-discover, another of France’s most famous motorsport venues, the Circuit Paul Armagnac at Nogaro. Set in the rural heartland of south-west France, this is a much more informal weekend than the Dix Mille Tours. Last year’s event was the first at Nogaro, but the organisers have had plenty of practice running the highly successful Classic Days at Magny-Cours in May. As well as action around the track – from cars to historic planes – there’s plenty of good food and some last-minute surprises in store. Some of Drive Guide’s readers are already registered; why not come along too? See www.classicfestival.fr for the final details of this year’s event, and page 146 in the guide to read more about the track.

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Cars, planes and a guest appearance by Henri Pescarolo this year.

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Citroën MEP racers line up beside the pits at last year’s event.

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Well-travelled Traction Avant parading through the centre of Nogaro.


Automédon, Le Bourget

Last but not least, this is a traditional classic car show, held at the exhibition grounds of Le Bourget, close to Paris and the Charles de Gaulle airport. This year – on October 10/11 – there will be special displays devoted to Simca and to the Ford Thunderbird; classic American cars are always a strength of this show. 300 traders have booked space, so it’s a good place to look for books or parts. Automédon is a popular end-of-season event for owners of classic cars in the Ile-de-France region, who fill the huge outside car park: allow plenty of time to walk around, and enjoy two shows for the price of one!

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1939 Mercedes W154 ‘Silver Arrow’ racer on show at Le Bourget last year.

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Simca Chambord saloon on the FFVE stand at an earlier edition of Automédon.

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Does this need a caption?!