Journal: Gentlemen Drivers in Paris Rally around the Film "Rendezvous"

Gentlemen Drivers in Paris Rally around the Film “Rendezvous”

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
December 3, 2013

Photography by David Marvier for Petrolicious

The Matching Numbers group, a Gentlemen Drivers network in Paris, recently planned and participated in a rally inspired by the film C’était un Rendez-vous (1976), directed by Claude Lelouch. The film shows an eight-minute drive through Paris beginning early in the morning. Engine revving, gear changing, and tire squealing can be heard, but the car itself is never seen, because the camera is attached below the front bumber. The car stops in front of a curb in Montmartre, in front of the famous Sacré Cœur, where the driver exits the car to embrace and kiss a young woman with the city and the basilica’s bells in the background.

The recap below is provided by Bertrand, who was able to use his newly acquired Proteus C-Type Jaguar for its very first event.

It’s 5:00 AM on Sunday morning, and we are scheduled to meet at 6:45 at Place Victor Hugo in downtown Paris for a rally that will take us through the streets where Claude Lelouch filmed for his movie. (It is said that Lelouch got arrested for crossing Paris in eight minutes.)

At this dark time of the morning, the city belongs to us. Place Victor Hugo is already looking very different than normal—it’s jammed with Testarossas, AC Cobras 289s, a Pantera GTS, some 356s, a Mini Cooper S, Ultima GTRs, 997s, 190 SLs, Alfa Bertone, 550 Maranellos, and more.

The briefing is clear; this edition of C’était un Rendez-vous’ will be fun above all else. At the same time, speed limits to be respected and we will keep the noise level as low as we can. To secure these guidelines, we will have to follow a one-hour-thirty-minute schizophrenic road book made of quizzes, classic pictograms, blank maps, and German arrows (used by the German army during WWII to go from one point to another without signage). With these limits, there’s no way to go fast and furious, but we are excited.

At 7:00 AM, the first cars take off every 30 seconds. After 650 meters, we take a left and go around the Place Dauphine. After 400 meters more, we’re on Avenue Foch, on the exact path Lelouch took to start his movie! We’d better pay attention to the road book as we enter the narrow streets around Place Vendome. Now we’re off of Lelouch; that would have been too easy. As a small amount of light seeps into the sky, we stop for an incredible coffee and croissants at the McGregor flagstore on Avenue de Capucine, which opened early just for us.

Our cars are back on the street at 30second intervals. We pass Trinité, Pigale, and are now climbing Montmartre. The deep, deep blue sky turns red with the rising of the sun. Collectively we forget our road books for a moment—all cars have stopped to enjoy the most beautiful view of Paris. Lionnel and Anna take their 550 Maranello in front of the Sacré Cœur, facing Paris, and kiss in front of their car just like Lelouch did 37 years ago. (Magic!)

Now it’s time to head back. We drive through and along Place de la Concorde, Boulevard Saint Germain, and Les 2 Magots. Let’s pay attention to the traffic light sequence which is suddenly not chronological. (What a joke.) Cars are all around the square trying to find their way. At #2 Rue de l’Amiral de Coligny begins the ‘German Arrow’ section of our road book. It is a nightmare. I had thought I got things straight, but I absolutely did not. It’s already 9:15 am, and after restarting the “German Arrows” three times, I decide to quit and go directly to our final destination: Restaurant de l’Opera.

All the cars park in front of this magnificent building built in 1861 by Charles Garnier for Napoleon III for a well deserved brunch!

C’était un rendez-vous…

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Sifu AlexMatching NumbersAnne Kromhoutronaldo eduardoBiTurbo228 Recent comment authors
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Sifu Alex
Sifu Alex

I just watched the original film “C’était un rendez vous” and insane! He’s going about 150 kph and runs at least 18 red lights. I can understand why he was arrested after making this film. It is however brilliant!

Matching Numbers
Matching Numbers

Thank you Petrolicious for such a great opportunity to share our ‘philosophy’ with your readers! Matching Numbers is an international network for GT cars’ owners and beyond our passion, we try to reach out to new people, cultures and just… live & have fun! That’s why we organised that rally. There are more to come. So feel free to join us (! 🙂

Anne Kromhout
Anne Kromhout

These photo’s are stunning… but I’d like to see them uploaded in a higher resolution.

Most of these photo articles have wallpaper worthy material. So if possible, pretty please, upload them in a higher quality? We’re a bit past the sub HD era.

ronaldo eduardo
ronaldo eduardo


Really one of the best ideas for taking a ride with classic cars.
The multiple noises(even keeping it low as possible) and the scenario…. can only wonder about.

I agree with Christopher Hoffer, the club must be very welcoming and fun, given its variety.

Great post petrolicious.


Fantastic cars, and a fantastic setting, but making as little noise as possible seems like a bit of a kick in the crotch.

Following the speed limits and rules of the road is a no-brainer, but the best bit about Rendezvous is the noise, and it’s one of the best things about each of the cars participating as well.

Scott Francis McGrath
Scott Francis McGrath

How long does it take to run LeLouch’s route at that hour of the morning when abiding by traffic laws and common sense?

Christopher Hoffer
Christopher Hoffer

Terriffic stuff, both the event and photographs. I enjoy the variety of autos participating. I suspect the variety is a reflection of a welcoming and fun club.


Nice photos!
When i saw the Lelouch video i was 12 years old or something like that. I never forget that video.
Now I am 37 years old and I am restoring a car with my brothers.
In 2010 an found the video on youtube and also an interesting interview to Lelouch with the true history of the film.
I never suspected which car was behind the camera.

Here the videos:

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Great pics from David as always. I have to say Paris is one place I wouldn’t fancy taking my old car, but I guess early on a Sunday morning would be the time to do it if I did.
Shame neither of the cars in C’etait un Rendez-vous were there. The camera car was a Mercedes 300SEL 6.3 but the sound of a Ferrari 275GTB (which appears in the movie artwork) was dubbed over.