25 April 2024

Eclectic France

Observations on the sites, sounds and events around France


Classic Cars In Paris – And Beyond

More than 700 classic cars and other vehicles take part in the annual Traversee de Paris each Summer. When we visited the 2019 event at the rendevous in the park of the Paris Observatory we saw hundreds of vehicles dating from the earliest days of motoring through to the 1990s. The 2020 event takes place on 26 July and it will be well worth a look if you in the area.

Classic cars at the Traverse de Paris 2019.
Classic cars at the Traverse de Paris 2019

The Traversee has been running for some years. During the day the classic cars taking part drive through Paris to the meeting point. On their way they pass by many of the city’s most famous landmarks. It’s neither a race nor a procession so the vehicles can pass by at any time. However, most arrive at the Observatory by lunchtime. That means the best time to see the vehicles on their way is in the morning. I’d assume a good spot to see them would be on one of the bridges over the Seine because you’ll get a fairly clear view as they pass by and might even get a closer look if they stop at any traffic lights on either bank.

At the Observatory the cars park up around the grounds and you’ll have a much closer view of them and be able to speak to the drivers. Everyone we spoke to was friendly and more than willing to tell us about their vehicle. It’s all very informal – like similar events we have been to – and there’s no entry fee for spectators.

Classic buses at the Traverse de Paris 2019.
Classic buses at the Traverse de Paris 2019

During our visit there were plenty of unusual French models and British classic-era sports cars from the 1950s and 60s. If you have even a passing interest in cars, there’ll probably be something for you. In addition to the cars and bikes there was a small but interesting selection of commercial vehicles and buses. Some of these were exhibited by one of the region’s transport museums. It was possible to climb aboard some of the buses and get a feel for how it must have been like to travel in Paris in the 1950s and 60s.

Check out the organiser’s website in the run-up to the event to find out more the timetable and route.