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Che bella macchina!

Don’t worry, you don’t need to re-tune…
… this is still Drive Guide, your guide to everything to see and do in France for car enthusiasts!

But car-lovers everywhere enjoy Italian sports cars, and that’s certainly the case in France. This summer, there are some special treats for fans of Ferrari and other Italian marques around the country. In this blog, I have selected five places for you to enjoy, from four different regions. If you appreciate French or British makes just as much, keep following Drive Guide on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DriveGuideGuru for more treats coming soon!

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Getting in the mood: close-up of a Ferrari 360CS.

Sport et Collection
For the first weekend in June each year, hundreds of Ferrari owners make a beeline for the Val de Vienne circuit, which has just celebrated its 25th anniversary. Not far from Poitiers, the circuit attracts as many as 500 Ferraris of all periods – from rare early cars of the 1950’s to the latest F12 or 458 models. Over three days – and one midnight session – their owners can give their cars free rein on this 3.7km (2.3 mile) long track. The paddock meanwhile is a sea of red … At least on one side, as Sport et Collection is also open to all makes of sports and GT cars, so you will see plenty of other Italian makes and British, French and German cars too. The event is open to the public, and all proceeds go to help cancer research at the university hospital in Poitiers.

You can find out more about this year’s event, which takes place from 4-7 June, in the guide and at www.sportetcollection.info.

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951 Ferrari 195S Coupé Ghia, on display at Sport et Collection in 2013.

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Ferrari single-seaters in the pits.

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Ferrari 206GT from the famous Mas du Clos collection, on track at the Val de Vienne circuit.

Grand Prix Historique de Bressuire
Less grand in scale, but a genuinely enjoyable event for all the family, the Grand Prix Historique de Bressuire re-enacts the original Grand Prix race which was held in this small town between Angers and Niort in the early 1950’s. This year, the revival event around the town’s tight streets celebrates its tenth anniversary, and its special guest will be Ferrari! The Ferrari Club de France will be sending along some of its historic cars for two demonstration grids during the weekend of 27/28 June. These will be just two of the 42 grids during the weekend, which will also feature a session on Saturday night, for the first time. For British spectators, there will be English-language commentary this year from … Drive Guide!

More information is available in the guide or at auto-retro-bressuirais.wifeo.com.

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Le Mans-style racing start in Bressuire.

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Ever-popular Renault 4CV passes under the marshal’s flag.

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Ferrari 458 Italia, pace car for the 2014 Grand Prix.


Espace automobiles Matra, Romorantin-Lanthenay
On your way to one of the two events just mentioned, why not stop at this museum, whose permanent collection is devoted to Matra? Every year, the museum hosts a major temporary show – last year it was Citroen’s turn, and before that Alpine – and for 2015 Ferrari takes the limelight. There’s a fine collection of nearly twenty cars from the 1960’s to the 21st century.

The exhibition runs until 15 November and there’s lot more information at www.museematra.com.

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Ferrari à l’affiche: this summer’s exhibition at Romorantin.

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Outside the Musée Matra, with Sonia Delaunay’s 530. (Courtesy Musée Matra)

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Matra sports prototypes are an important part of the museum’s permanent collection.


Circuit Historique de Laon
Ferrari may be the most famous of the Italian makes, but it’s certainly not the only one being celebrated in France this summer. On 30/31 May, the Circuit Historique in Laon will give pride of place to the Italian coachbuilder Zagato, whose often provocative designs have clothed sports cars from Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Aston Martin and many other manufacturers. An easy drive from Calais, the cathedral city of Laon is the setting for two days of activities, including a road trip in the nearby Picardy countryside and a concours d’élégance on Saturday evening. But the highlight is on Sunday, when 500 or more cars scramble up the hill to the ramparts of the old city. The event is very popular with British visitors, with 300 British entrants expected. Drive Guide will be there, and Classic Car Weekly is sending over a reporter.

You can read more in the guide, or see the English site online at www.circuit-historique-laon.com/en.

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British MGB GT makes its way through the old streets of Laon.

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Aston Martin DB4 GAT Zagato, seen here at Chantilly in September 2014.

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Fiat-Abarth 750 GT ‘Double bubble’ Zagato, sold by RM Auctions in Paris in February 2015.


MotorVillage, Paris
If your travels to France this summer bring you to Paris, you could do a lot worse than stop at MotorVillage on the Champs-Elysées. Home to the Fiat group, it puts on regular displays of cars from Fiat, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati. The current exhibition – which runs until the end of June – celebrates the beautiful design of Alfa Romeo’s cars over the years, with an early Giulietta Spider, a Montreal and recent 8C Competizione. Whilst you’re there, enjoy a coffee or lunch in its terrace café and restaurant.

Find out more in the guide or see www.motorvillage.fr for details of the exhibition, and enjoy a taster with the video below.