French Frolic 2015

8th-9th May, 2015

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What a wonderful two day adventure we have just had in the 2cvs! We started in Alton in Hampshire and ended up in Versailles, on the outskirts of Paris. The night before we left, we had a great team dinner and stayed at a local hotel, before 24 of us set off in twelve identical red and white 2cv’s at 05.30 in the morning, clutching a bacon buttie provided by the organisers, heading for Eurotunnel!

A large number of the team had never driven a 2cv before, so they were a little slower than the rest of us, but they soon got the hang of the unfamiliar gear stick and driving technique and were powering ahead with the rest of us! We all arrived in good time for the train and all twelve of us drove onto the train much to the amazement and amusement of the Eurotunnel staff.

Once in France we opened up our road books and off we set, following a picturesque route to Agincourt. We hadn’t meant to travel in convoy but soon all twelve 2cv’s were driving along together, causing quite a stir in the little villages! So many people waved and smiled as we passed. We stopped for coffee in Hucqueliers where they were celebrating VE Day. The local band marched into the square to stand by the memorial and were joined by two fire engine teams and their fire engines which provided a little competition for our support vehicle, Ferdie, which is an English fire engine packed full of spare 2cv spare parts, with the spare 2cv on top.

We then set off again along the back roads of France with our red roof peeled back to let the sunshine in. At Agincourt after an interesting tour of the museum we descended on the nearby café, where all the tables outside were gathered together and we all sat down for a superb lunch in the hot sunshine! We then jumped in our little cars again for a few more hours speeding through the beautiful countryside.

Contact was maintained between all the cars by walkie talkies so there was much hilarity when a lead car would take a wrong turn and end up at the rear! All the cars have different names beginning with D – I was in Doris who bowled along the lanes heading for the next pit stop! We spent the first night at the Dolce Hotel in Chantilly. After settling in, we all met on the terrace for drinks before having a delicious supper in the restaurant, all swopping driving stories from earlier in the day. Some of us moved to the bar afterwards before drifting off to bed. We appeared at breakfast in dribs and drabs, a few with sore heads, but nothing a few coffees couldn’t cure! After checking out, we descended on the car park for some serious windscreen cleaning all eagerly looking forward to the day ahead! Off we set and stopped off to see the Chateau at Chantilly where we lined up our cars in front of the Chateau for a quick photo opportunity before an excited arm-waving official moved us all on!

We piled into the cars again and processed regally away past the old stables through the charming streets of Chantilly. Out in the open countryside again we followed a lovely scenic route before negotiating the roads into Versailles where we stayed at the sumptuous 5 star Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Le Trianon, which was in the grounds of Versailles. We had a truly gastronomic dinner at the La Boeuf a la Mode Restaurant a few streets away, followed by a visit to the bar back at the hotel till the small hours! I was so sad to say ‘Au Revoir’ to my lovely Doris, but she had been such a comfortable ride, incredibly reliable and great fun to drive. Toby, Finella and the back up team were brilliant and very well organised and everyone enjoyed the trip enormously – we can’t wait for the next 2cv adventure!

Helen Lawson, Northampton