Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Day at the Paris Car Showrooms

April 2, 2010 was a wet dismal day but it didn't dampen our spirits

We were in Paris and on the Avenue des Champs Elysees, the scene once a year of the finish to the Tour de France at the end of July.
To me as a cyclist it is quite amazing to see the roughness of the cobbled street surface and the incline leading up to the Arc de Triumph. Watching on television, you don't get the whole impact of what these cyclists endure after around 3000 kms of cycling around France.

It wasn't the only reason to walk the length of the Champs - the main showrooms of the great French automobile marques are there. Citroen, Peugeot and Renault. Being both Citroen and Peugeot owners, we (read as I) took a bee-line to these showrooms.

A bike, a road sign - It tells it all, PARIS.
Leaning on the lamp post - it reminds me of a 60's song. Who sang it?
My arty farty foto in black and white
A close up of the sculptures on the Arc
It was wet and windy but it didn't dampen our spirits.
The first showroom was Peugeot which had had a great range of current vehicles, past historic cars and even a display of their earlier bicycles and a concept bicycle and car. We've owned three Peugeot and have a soft spot for them - Sue loves her 307 that she owns now (our second). Our earlier 505 GTI was magnificent.
The company began business in 1810 producing coffee mills and then bicycles.
Peugeot introduced their bicycle range to Australia during the 70s after their successes in the Tour de France. I believe they did the same in the USA and so Peugeot bicycles became a household name for a decade before becoming lost in time.
We even have a Peugeot pepper grinder in our kitchen.

Peugeot won the Indianapolis in this racing car in the early 1900s
Peugeot's mascot - the lion is soooo cute, isn't it? 
Bikes and cars from the early Peugeot days in their showroom.
And cars of the future
Plus bikes of the future
Time for lunch and how appropriate on my birthday trip to France.
Louis Renault
Did you know that Renault started production in 1899 - one of my first cars was a Renault Dauphine and then the versatile  R16.

I left my favorite to last - Citroen is my automotive passion, I've owned one before I had a licence to drive. The Light 15. big 6, the DS and the Xantia have sat in the driveway at various times. Andre Citroen was an innovative marketer from the beginning and it was to prove his downfall. Paris commemorate his legacy with a parkland in his name.

The man, Citroen was a master of marketing - the company started in 1919 and became the most innovated car manufacturer of all time. The first to mass produce a monocoque steel body, that is no separate chassis took Citroen to being the fourth largest automotive manufacturer in the world. Andre studied the production processes of Henry Ford to achieve these targets.
The company was also the first to produce the monocoque body with a front drive engine, radial tyres and all of this sent Andre into bankruptcy before Michelin saved the company financially.
Poor old Andre never lived to see the success of his brainchild, the Traction Avant become successful over the next twenty plus years.

Looking out of the Citroen Showroom windows, it was still raining around peak  hour traffic time and the rain wasn't helping things. All we needed to do was hop back on the Metro to our apartment to another wonderful home cooked meal by Sue.
The following day we took a walk across the Seine to the 5th and 6th Arrondissements but you will need to tune in next Wednesday for that.


  1. Leaning on the lamp post was sung by a few people, but I suspect you are thinking of George Formby.

    Wow, some of those cars look fantastic. How on earth did you manage to find a restaurant named after you, well done. Like the picture of Louis Renault and that future bike, well if only I had the money :-) Keep well both of you Diane

    1. Thank Diane - now that you mention it, it was Formby but my mind was thinking Herman and the Hermits in the 60s.
      The restaurant found us actually....
      I've read biographies on both Louis and Andre - men from different sides of the street in personality.

  2. G'day, I have just returned from Paris (three days ago)and even though I have been there before, the cobblestone streets still amaze me. It was though, my first good look close up of the Arc de Triumph. It truly is magnificent, isn't it? Had been on the Champs Elysees last time, but that was in summer and the day we chose to walk it was a stinking hot one, so gave the Arc a miss. This time however, it was freezing cold at -2, but was determined to have a good look. A beautiful city, no doubt about it. Hope to go back again one day. Take care. Liz...

    1. -2.............Brrrrrrrrrrrr.
      Nice to hear from you Liz - visit again.


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