25 April 2024

Eclectic France

Observations on the sites, sounds and events around France

EventsLoire

Chinon Classic

The Chinon Classic – commemorating the historic Grand Prix de Tours – is held in the French town each June. It’s one of the biggest events of its kind in France, apparently. We didn’t count how many classic cars were in Chinon over the weekend but it must have been two or three hundred at least.

The French have a particularly good way of doing this sort of event. Unlike in the UK, where you’d probably need to trudge off to some local field, showground or race track to see this many cars in one place, they just take over the middle of the town for the weekend. That makes it a fantastic setting and you can get really close to the cars and their owners. Chinon is a great place to see classic cars.

Classic cars in Chinon at the Chinon Classic 2019
Classic cars in Chinon at the Chinon Classic 2019

Another feature of events like this is France is that they corden off a few streets in the town. This creates a temporary circuit for owners to drive round and show off their vehicles. It’s definitely not racing but almost everyone takes part at some point over the weekend. Most do a few laps at a time – which is enough – and they theme or group the cars as well. This means, for example, that a group of American cars will go round, then some 2CVs, followed by classic British 1950s/60s sports cars and so on. It creates a really great atmosphere. Some of the drivers – particularly those with 1970s American cars – liked to do “donuts” at the end of their run and we even saw an old tractor doing something similar.

Unusual early motor cycle at Chinon Classic 2019
Unusual early motor cycle at Chinon Classic 2019

Many of the vehicles at the event – but not all – take part in a historic run on the Saturday. This tour effectively makes a complete circuit around Tours, starting and finishing at Chinon. This part of the weekend is intended to recreate the Grand Prix of Tours that the even commemorates. Enthusiasts should be able to find a good spot locally to see the cars go past against the backdrop of the Indre, Vienne or Loire rivers.

Stationary engine at the Chinon Classic 2019
Stationary engine at the Chinon Classic 2019

Alongside the vehicle displays there is a static exhibition. This includes stands from historic dealers, restoration companies, vintage farm machinery, local food producers, and local organisations. There’s plenty to see, eat and drink.