Swarming Paris At Dawn In Countless Classics Is Our Idea Of Heaven
Photography by Mathieu Bonnevie
Mathieu Bonnevie is one of the more talented young photographers we have the pleasure of working with here at Petrolicious, so the other day when he asked me if I might be interested in a gallery of images of dozens of classics bombing through the glistening city streets of Paris at dawn, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.
Mathieu sent over a little snippet about the background of the event:
“This is a bi-annual event organized by Vincennes en Anciennes, an association based in the Paris suburbs, in Vincennes. They are very into classic cars. Each month , members of the association meet with their cars in front of Vincennes’ castle.
The Traversée de Paris is their biggest event. During their monthly meetings, people only stay in front of the castle, to chat, to have lunch together, and so on. Like a traditional “cars and coffee”. But with La Traversée de Paris, people leave the castle of Vincennes for a a big road-trip through Paris. We go through the main streets, in front of the main monuments: Place de la Concorde, the Invalides, Montmartre, the Sacré Coeur, the Moulin Rouge, amongst others.
In 4 hours classic cars literally invade Paris. We really see them EVERYWHERE! They stop from time to time to wait for their friends or to appreciate the view or the monuments, they barely follow the road book so they are all over the place, swarming about. It really is quite a show. At the Sacré Coeur or the Place de la Concorde, most of the participants stop, creating the most beautiful traffic jams .
Like I said, this is a bi-annual event. One during Winter, in January, and one during Summer, in July. The winter one usually is the first event of the year. We mostly have popular french cars (Citroën 2 CV, 4 CV, DS, Renault 8, Dauphine, Peugeot 304, 403, Simca, etc.) but they are really cool to watch! We also have some jewels (they are not a lot to come in winter because of bad weather) so this is a great mix of classic cars and this is absolutely great to watch! Some people also cross Paris with their classic bikes, or motorbikes, or motorcycles, and even with old Parisian buses!
Starting at around 7 AM in the cold and darkness, some participants come back to the castle of Vincennes once the drive is over, at around 1 PM to have a lunch together.
Paris is in a strange environment regarding classic cars as its mayor really is against them and does his best to prohibit them inside Paris. So to see them driving all around Paris, and to see the association fighting against the administration to maintain our beloved cars into the capital is so special for the preservation of our hobby!