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Seven Up!

Seven great events to enjoy this autumn
As I write this introduction in August, Paris remains asleep, with most of the locals still enjoying the summer break. But tomorrow, the autoroutes will be crowded, as the holidaymakers make their way home, and soon ‘la rentrée’ will be under way. The organisers of motoring events will be busy too, with some of the year’s best shows and historic motorsport meetings coming up in September and October. I have chosen twelve of the best for you to enjoy, many of them not too far to drive from the Channel ports. The first seven are presented below; check back here in a month’s time to discover five more great events!

I’ll be attending many of these shows myself, so let me know (using the ‘Contact’ form on the website, here) if you’re planning to come: I’m always happy to meet fellow enthusiasts who have already bought the guide or want to find out more.

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British-registered MGA enjoys the September sunshine in the Charente.

August bank holiday weekend

Tempted by the idea of a short trip to France over the summer bank holiday? There are two great events with a sporting flavour, close to the western Channel ports.

Course de côte, Étretat
In Normandy, the local club hosts a hill climb close to the famous white cliffs of Étretat. The mile-long road up to the farm at Bénouville is closed to traffic, letting cars from the 1920s to the 1980s fly up the hill. Popular with British competitors, it attracts everything from Frazer-Nashes to Renault 8 Gordinis, the latter much loved by enthusiasts in France, but rarely seen in right-hand drive. And if you decide to stay over on Bank Holiday Monday, you can enjoy the lovely coastal towns nearby like Dieppe, Deauville or Honfleur. More details on page 92 in the guide, or at www.asacotedalbatre.com.

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Frazer-Nash heading up the hill towards Bénouville.

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RHD Renault 8 Gordini emerges between the bales.

Coupe Florio, Saint-Brieuc
Further west, and close to the coast in Brittany, the Coupe Saint Florio takes place in Saint-Brieuc. But surely, I can hear you say, the Coupe Florio was held in Italy! Well, it generally was, except in 1927, when the manufacturer Lucien Rosengart brought it to France. Which is more than a good enough excuse for the town to have revived the event. The weekend starts with a concours d’élégance on Friday night, followed by a road trip on Saturday and then – the highlight of the show – a series of runs around a tortuous 1.7-mile circuit through the town on Sunday. Read more on page 73 in the guide, or see www.lacoupeflorio.fr.

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Jaguar XK140 in the concours d’élégance. (Courtesy Anthony Ménard)

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Alfa Romeo Giulia stepping sideways. (Courtesy wild-club.com/GLD)

September

As if Beaulieu and Goodwood weren’t enough in the UK, some of France’s very best historic car events take place in September.

Chantilly Arts et Élégance
On the first weekend (5/6 September), Peter Auto will be hosting the second edition of its lavish concours, Chantilly Arts et Élégance. Set in the grounds of this beautiful château north of Paris, this is set to become one of the leading concours events in Europe. A top-flight concours d’état, fashion show, equestrian displays and classic boats are joined this year by a prestigious auction and a special display of ‘Famous Ladies’ Cars.’ Check page 212 in the guide or www.chantillyartsetelegance for further information.

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Maserati Boomerang and Tipo 124 studies by Giugiaro, on show in 2014.

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Peter Mullin’s prizewinning Figoni & Falaschi-bodied 135M Cabriolet from 1937.

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An outstanding display of special-bodied Citroën SMs last year.

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This 1927 Bugatti Type 35B was driven by the cabaret dancer, Hellé Nice. (Courtesy Peter Auto)

Les Anciennes en Vallée de l’Eure
Or, if you prefer something a little less grand, but with just as much passion, why not head north-west from Paris to Les Anciennes en Vallée de l’Eure? Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year in spacious new grounds, there will be lots of popular classics to enjoy, but also a special display of Shelby and Ford GT40 cars, all to the accompaniment of live music. For the full programme and details of the new venue (close to the A13 autoroute), see www.lva-auto.fr/minisite/volants-et-vallee/prochainement-avec-volants-vallee/les-anciennes-en-vallee-de-leure-5-6-septembre-2015/.

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Concours d’élégance, Le Touquet Paris-Plage Historique
The following weekend (12/13 September) sees another stylish touring rally and concours d’élégance, this time close to Calais in the fashionable resort of Le Touquet. Sunday is an especially good day out, with the concours d’élégance that afternoon in front of the Hotel Westminster. And you’ll be helping to raise money for research into leukaemia. See the events listing at http://gb.letouquet.com/ and page 214 in the printed guide, or why not try the digital app version of the guide, North-East France for Car Enthusiasts, with its bonus photos and videos?

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Vaillante Grand Défi in the colours of the Laurette Fugain charity. (Courtesy le Touquet-Paris-Plage)

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Mercedes 300SL Roadster appears before the judges.

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Delightful bonnet mascot on this pre-war Alvis.

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Proud family in front of their prize-winning Delahaye.

Circuit des Remparts, Angoulême
Le Mans, Monaco and Pau are joined on September 18-20 by the fourth great historic motorsport event in France, the Circuit des Remparts in Angoulême. Long a favourite with British fans, this really is one for every enthusiast’s bucket list! Friday’s night-time concours d’élégance and leisurely road trip the next day lead up to the races on Sunday, with Bugattis and many more chasing around the ramparts of the old city. See http://www.circuit-des-remparts.com/ and pages 86/87 in the printed guide, or – better still – enjoy the slideshow in the digital app version of the guide, Western France for Car Enthusiasts, available for Android, iOS (iPhone and iPad) or Windows Phone ... right here!


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Hold it there! Facel Vega at the concours d’élégance

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Rally participants stop for lunch at the Château de la Rochefoucauld.

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1907 Mors-Curtis leaves the paddock.

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One of the Bugattis heading up to the cathedral.

Salon Auto Moto Rétro, Rouen
Rounding off the month, on 26/27 September, the exhibition grounds in Rouen host the Salon Auto Moto Rétro (http://www.salonautomotoretro.com/), a well-established show popular with enthusiasts. This year’s central display will be devoted to Alfa Romeo, but the event usually has a good showing of Alpines (built in nearby Dieppe) and World War Two military vehicles. If those particularly interest you, why not go on to nearby Caen or the landing beaches in Normandy? Rouen has lots of traders selling parts too. You can read more about the show on page 81 in the guide.

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Facel Vega was the marque of honour in 2014.

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Local Alpine clubs always put on a good show in Rouen.