Classic Europe – September 3rd to September 9th
Each year we run a European tour in which participants drive their own vehicles. The tour is non competitive and open to any vehicle, classic or modern. Previous tours have included visits to Croatia, Romania, Portugal, Italy, Scotland and Ireland.
This year the trip visits France. Beginning near the city of Blois we head south and east to eventually finish in the city of Lyon. Along the way we will visit places of interest including the Chateau of Chambord, the light show at Futuroscope, Le Puy-en-Velay, Oradour-Sur-Glane, & the Millau Viaduct. We will also take part in several activities including kayaking down the Gorge du Tarn and cycling railway bikes along a disused railway. For a full itinerary see below. For a map of the route click here.
The first few days of the tour look like this –
Day 1 | Thursday 3rd September
We begin our tour with a welcome dinner in our hotel near the city of Blois. Blois is an attractive city and one could easily arrive a day early and spend a day visiting the attractive chateau and enjoying lunch on the banks of the Loire. Also, only ten miles away is the beautiful chateau of Cheverny which we are not planning to visit as part of our tour. If you did decide to spend a day in Blois and come a day early (on the 2nd Sept) I suggest you book yourself into a hotel in Blois as our start hotel is in the middle of nowhere several miles from town. Blois is about 5 hours from Calais or 3.5 hours from Le Havre.
Day 2 | Friday 4th September
Our day starts with a visit to the Chateau de Chambord which is probably the most recognised chateau in the world. Built in the early 1500s as a hunting lodge it is really quite magnificent despite the fact it was never completed. Staying nearby will enable us to be there when the doors open meaning we can avoid the crowds. The visit is self guided so you can spend as long as you wish. Leaving Chambord we head south to the museum of Mécanique Aviation Traction better known as Matra. The company is probably most well known by those of a certain age for the Matra Bagheera which was a three seater sports car built in collaboration with Simca in the late seventies. Among other items in their varied history, they designed and built the Renault Espace, made surface to air missiles and were involved in Formula one from 1967 to 1982, first as a constructor and latterly as an engine supplier. The museum is not large but worth a visit. Mid to late afternoon we will reach Poitiers where we have evening tickets to the science park of Futuroscope. The tickets include dinner which is followed by an open air laser and light show which takes place on the surface of a lake. We visited here five years ago on a previous Classic Europe and everyone enjoyed the experience.
Day 3 | Saturday 5th September
We will have a leisurely start from Poitiers as we head south east towards Clermont Ferrand. On the way we are calling in to Oradour Sur Glane. If you have never heard of Oradour it is a small French village. On the 10th June 1944 German soldiers rounded up all the male inhabitants in three barns and all the women and children in the church. A command was issued and simultaneously all were shot with machine guns or killed with grenades. The Germans then burned the village to the ground. Today what’s left of the village is preserved as a memorial. Leaving Oradour we continue towards Clermont Ferrand, home to the famous French company of Michelin. The Michelin museum in town charts the history of tyres and also contains a large section on the Michelin Man. Did you know he used to smoke a cigar? Our hotel for the night is in the town centre. You will be free this evening to have dinner at one of the many local restaurants.
For full details please visit the Europe page here.