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A different start to last years trip- well, nearly


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Some of you may recall that the day before we headed off for a couple of weeks in France I went to fill the car up as the final bit of prep.  It wouldn’t start, nothing, dead.  It could have picked any day to do it, but the day before we left was chosen.  Why me!  Anyway, I checked to see if it would push start, it would, so we headed off.  The rest you can read about.

So this year there was bit of trepidation.  Sure enough, three days before leaving for France I got a puncture in a rear tyre.  It was surprisingly difficult to get PS4s in time, in fact impossible.  A very knowledgeable chap at ATS suggested that the Pilot Exaltos were N rated and probably good enough, importantly he could get them in time.  So off we went.

Sunday 21 June we headed off to the Tunnel and then, via Rouen, to La Chartre sur Le Loir and the Hotel de France.  British owned by a classic car nut and themed around historic racing teams that have stayed there over the year.  It’s worth a stay if you are heading down that way.  The car was fully loaded, two  people etc and ran well all day on the motorway.  We have had a toll tag for years which always unhindered passage through the toll gates, just slow down to 30kms, beep and you’re through.  Really worth it as before we had one I always managed to choose the shortest queue which then because the one with the problem child at the front!  We only had one night there and then headed further south to Verteillac using some great non-peage roads.  More later.

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After a couple of nights at the gite in Verteillac we headed south again for Rocamadour.  It is a Unesco World Heritage site and justifiably so.  Quite spectacular and well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.  Before we got there though we had a great cross-country journey via Perigeuex and Sarlat.  The roads followed river valleys of the Dordogne and Lot and were endless miles of sweeping bends and little traffic.  Lovely!

We haven’t seen to many classics so far, a few 2CVs/Quatrelles but in Rocamadour there was a pristine and beautiful DS21 Decapotable.  And I didn’t have my phone with me……

 

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Edited by Ian Comerford
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After two nights in Rocamadour and a good long walk, lunch, dinner etc we headed south again toward Montpellier on the Med coast.  The route was a mix of motorway and A/B roads, all good condition and ideal for these cars.  I love my car but am still in awe of its ability to just get on a do stuff.  
We skirted the Gorges du Tarn which we must explore next time and then headed to Millau for the obligatory bridge shot.  I recalled than someone on here wisely advised not crossing the bridge but going off the motorway, into the town and under the bridge.

After a few pics under the bridge we continued south across some amazing scenery.  We were on quite a high plateau for a while before descending toward Montpellier and the run down was really good.  The speed limit on the dual carriageway for the descent was quite low but there were no cameras, so…….  It was so good I felt like turning around and heading back up.  But she frowned.

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Edited by Ian Comerford
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51 minutes ago, mean in green said:

Driving over the Millau bridge is a bit of an underwhelming experience as the tall wind breaks either side of the carriageway deprive you of the view. A panorama for the blind.

 

Great quote and having been under it I would agree.

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And so to Montpellier. A bigger place than we have been used to but seems like a nice city with some great architecture and very multi-cultural.  We stayed at the Mas de Lafeuillade for one night https://www.mas-de-lafeuillade.com.  I’d recommend it if you are in the area.  It is in the city but sits in its own secure gated grounds.  The staff were young and friendly and the food just great.  Everyone dined outside that evening and the atmosphere was lovely.  Recommended. 
 

We met two interesting Australian couples who are touring in their MGB GTs and have done some epic tours; Abingdon to China and Ushuaia in Chile to Alaska for instance.  They were in Europe for MG's 100 year celebrations.  An interesting chat about their cars, the mods etc.  the dashboard on the LHD US market version was quite a contrast to the UK one, a bit of a mess.  Great to see people using their classics though.


 

 

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Edited by Ian Comerford
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Day 7 /Saturday sees us leave Montpellier and head off across the Camargue to Provence where we will stay for a week in the same hill top village as last year.  A lovely and relatively short drive and interesting scenery.  Lots of water, lagoons, quite a few white horses, marshes and we also saw fairly large scale rice production.  But now the car can have a rest for a few days.  I’ve been keeping an eye on fuel consumption just to compare with last year's run and it’s quite different.  The lowest consumption, full to emptyish has been 27 and the best 28.5 which for a fully loaded car feels pretty good.  The only change since last year's run is a refurbished fuel distributor.  Good job KMI.

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Thanks for sharing this with us, looks like an awesome trip, and the great photos bring it all to life, will try this route out one day.

I too love France; the family name Collard has French ancestry 😊, 3 trips so far this year, with a few more to come, Classic Le Mans being the  next.

I’ve done the usual South of France trip but in the Boxster as the Missus isn’t keen on the IB for long distances.

Late Morning start in London with a stopover in Orleans, then Millau bridge to the walled town of Martinques (worth a visit).  The usual stops along the Rivera, then back up to Grasse. Follow Route Napoléon to Dijon, then home.

On a side note I wonder what owning a MG would be like?

 

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1 hour ago, Beaky said:

On a side note I wonder what owning a MG would be like?

Pretty good from what I have seen. I helped a friend buy one last year.  Not expensive and after rebuilding front and rear suspension, brakes and steering using inexpensive and readily available parts it runs and drives beautifully.  I would recommend one after this experience. 

Edited by Ian Comerford
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Looks like your having a great trip Ian,  very jealous,  haven't been on any french trips for a few years now.

Glad the cars running well. 

I was think back to my last trip to Classic Lemans,  car ran fantastically and I did about 1100 miles with no issues,  I parked it in the garage and didn't touch it for a couple of weeks,  when I next went to start it,  nothing,  ref/speed sensor had gone. 

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Sadly won’t be making LM this year, too late looking for tickets due to the demand.  I also think that if I tried it the long haired bank manager would have a frown longer than I have seen for a while.  I am going to C&M Sunday morning to watch the race there though.  Not much of a consolation but better than nothing. 

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Have driven and stayed in the Dordogne/Rocamadour area too in the 911, great roads and scenery🙂

Re the MG guys, odd but I only saw 3 classic sports cars all week this week away and they were all 60’s British sports cars driven by Germans. Surprised me to see so few classics on the roads in such nice weather. Saw none in France 🤷‍♂️

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4 minutes ago, MarkJ said:

Have driven and stayed in the Dordogne/Rocamadour area too in the 911, great roads and scenery🙂

Re the MG guys, odd but I only saw 3 classic sports cars all week this week away and they were all 60’s British sports cars driven by Germans. Surprised me to see so few classics on the roads in such nice weather. Saw none in France 🤷‍♂️

We have seen a few, but not enough.  We were in Bonnieux yesterday as saw a group of French Morgan’s, an MGA and a 914-6 enjoying the roads and the odd 2CV again.

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Sadly it’s time to head home.  Not that I don’t like home, but it’s not Provence….  We had a nice last walk in the early morning sun down to the bakers for a baguette and a couple of pastries for later and then set off.  The street where we stay is quite tight so it’s nice having a narrow car as you will see, but one of the reasons we love the place is that it has parking which is unusual in old hill top villages.  Mostly motorway today and as per Mark’s comment earlier we only saw one classic, a white MGB.  Lots of thumbs up and smiles on the road and in service stations.  We went slightly off route to stay somewhere I saw recommended in The Times and having arrived it’s certainly beautiful, we look forward to a good dinner later (link below).  The car ran very well again today and it is a pleasure to use it for trips like this.

https://bnb.lafermedemarieeugenie.fr/contact/

 

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On 01/06/2023 at 08:11, Ian Comerford said:

Sadly won’t be making LM this year, too late looking for tickets due to the demand.  I also think that if I tried it the long haired bank manager would have a frown longer than I have seen for a while.  I am going to C&M Sunday morning to watch the race there though.  Not much of a consolation but better than nothing. 

Hi Ian, is that a ticketed event at C&M? Sounds good! 

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Well, that’s it, all back safely last night after three days travelling.  2,086 miles in just over two weeks and no problems at all apart from being made aware that the rear suspension squeak has diminished but is very much still there.  Fuel consumption varied between 27-28.5 which, given that we were fully loaded, was pretty good I think.  We saw a Tuthills convoy on Sunday near Epernay, not sure what event they might have been to?  The car now needs a good clean but has definitely earned it.  I will detail the best raids we used later this week.  

I’m already thinking about next year's trips which must include Provence, NC500 and possibly a French historic hillclimb in June.  

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