Retromobile kicks 2012 off in style….
With a civilised mid-morning rendezvous at Europe’s longest bar ‘the Champagne bar’ at St Pancras International, it was coffees all round rather than Champagne to start a somewhat chilly Wednesday! A short stroll downstairs, minimal fuss to get through security and we were boarded our Eurostar and shown to our premier class seats. “If I didn’t run a driving tour company I would travel everywhere via Eurostar!” With breakfast served at our tables whilst the group got to know one another we were arriving at Paris Gare du Nord before we knew it!
Having exited the platform we were greeted by our driver, the group boarded our luxury taxi for scenic, cross Paris transfer to the Bonhams auction being held at Les Halles. This was well worth a visit, the auction was held in a disused railway station. We were greeted by one of the top lots the Aston Martin DB4 GT which eventually sold for just over €1 million.
Many other interesting cars were in the sale from the impressive Peterson Bentley specials to the interesting 1966 Jaguar ‘FT’ Coupé one of 2 produced, selling for €89,700.
From the sale room we made our way to our delightful hotel situated in the Montparnasse area for time to unpack and warm up before it was time for aperatifs. This evening some chose to dine locally whilst others took advantage of 10pm closing time of the Retromobile show just to get the lie of the land and benefit from the French hospitality as a lot of cork popping seemed to be happening at this time!
The following morning things remained very civilised as the show did not open until 10am so a leisurely breakfast was taken before heading to the Paris Expo. The show was made up of two large halls so you could spend a full day visiting all the stands you wanted and feel you had seen every aspect of the show. Some of the cars were simply exceptional. Most of the top car dealers were there including Fiskins, Hall & Hall, Lukas Huni plus many more, all of whom excelled with the array of cars they were exhibiting.
The lovely aspect of Retromobile is the social side, the exhibitors are very welcoming and hospitable and one always seems to run into at least one other person you know! You come away from the exhibition centre with a satisfied feeling that you have seen some wonderful cars, art and automobilia as well as having seen and spoken to some interesting and knowledgeable characters.
Having taken the Metro back to the hotel there was once again time to warm up (wind chill factor in Paris was something else) before it was aperatif time once again. This evening we had arranged dinner at the excellent La Coupole restaurant just around the corner from the hotel. This Art Deco style brasserie has a lot of theatre about it and the bustling waiters bring out some wonderful French food from their kitchens. A pleasant evening rounded off with a digestif from the hotels honesty bar and one was ready for bed.
The final morning allowed for a relaxed breakfast and a chance to pick up any souvenirs, delicacies or wine before a fantastic lunch at the Brasserie Terminus Nord. Some fine ‘Fruits de Mer’ washed down with a nice Muscadet saw us right before boarding our train home.
The only drama of the weekend was when one client realised they had left a bag at security! This realisation came as we were sat in our seats on the train with 5 minutes before departure. A mad dash by the tour leader back to security, a security check on the bag found to ensure it was said clients property, an argument with check in staff who by that time had closed the doors to the platform as train was about to depart and the train was re-boarded with moments to spare!
All part of the service when travelling with Classic Grand Touring!
“Thanks for a great trip which we did enjoy and particular thanks for the handbag rescue…impressive running! You may quote us !”