Recently I drove the very pleasant Alfa Giulietta with its truly formidable diesel engine in the streets of Paris, taking the "Périphérique" direction Rouen and leaving the circular road at the Porte Maillot to drive to the 7th "Arrondissement".
Parking the car for the weekend is truly easy and rather unadventurous, finding ample parking space in the streets and posh areas.
If you are not lucky, there is parking available in the numerous underground parkings, and we were able to park our stylish Alfa next to a Ferrari, which neatly tucked away under its car cover. Safely in excellent thoroughbred Italian company!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
But how is life for a car enthusiast in Paris?
Driving style of the numerous Parisian car owners is rather cautious, when one compares it to Brussels. Probably the fact that French drivers and Parisians can actually lose their driver's licence when they collect too many bad points has something to do with it.
One finds magnificent classics, like this Fiat Seicento, still soldiering on in the Paris streets...
The same cannot be said of almost just as numerous scooters and motorcycle drivers. One has to keep a very wary eye open for their acrobatic manoeuvres, and the high speed slaloms they perform through the dense traffic.
One often finds oneself parked next to a classic, like this beetle, in the company of a Mini Clubman, and the new Fiat Cinquecento...
In the more posh areas of Paris, the Smart fortwo reigns supreme, together with a rather vast number of A Class Mercedes, of all ages. One finds also the Mini quite often, and also the "original" mini is found still soldiering on. See the photo below...
The Citroën DS2 is also becoming gradually a familiar sight, with quite a few Renault Twingos also occupying the streets. One also sees in the nicer areas like 7th or 6th Arrondissement very often classic cars, also some brave and rather tattered but otherwise very original Fiat Cinquecento or Seicento's.
Of course our Paris apartment boasts quite a few automobilia. I have a nice model on the bookshelf of the Citroën DS Coach "Le Paris" by coachbuilder Henri Chapron in 1959.
Also a few books with miniature models of the famous "ponton" and "heckflossen" which were given by Mercedes at the presentation of the previous E Class.
A commemorative plaque of a Lancia Tour in Spain, from 10 to 18 June 1988 also adorns the bookshelf.
In the shops, one often sees also photographs of famous car enthusiasts with their cars. Steve McQueen was a favoured subject at an optician in the Rue du Bac, for example.
But that is not all. We recently paid a visit to DS World in Paris, and tell you more about it in a separate report...
Hans Knol ten Bensel