One consequence of the, quite frankly, stunning weather we have been having lately is a complete lack of motivation on my part to do any work. The knowledge that I have a Roadster just sat somewhere idle feels wrong. So after an abysmally lacklustre and unproductive day on Monday and after discussions with a colleague who felt the same way a plan was hatched. Friday would be a day of venting such frustrations. Tuesday to Thursday therefore we would actually have to get some work done in order to make this feasible. We both had plans for the weekend so a challenge was set. To get from London to Paris in time for lunch, spend an hour or two on a whistlestop tour and make it back in one day. This had the added bonus of me being able to drive on the continent which (ashamedly) I had not yet done. So lunch reservations were made and the Eurotunnel times checked. Rather than bore everyone to death with the whole story, here are my observations from yesterday...:
1. London is still a b***h to get out of even at 6:30am. This was never intended to be a top gear challenge. But it very quickly turned into one with distances having to be covered in almost unfeasibly short times...
2. We were not the only ones. The Eurotunnel check-in was like a small villa de este. There was a gorgeous Riviera Blue 993RS and a convoy of a black 308, a V12V and an R8.
3. Eurotunnel was much nicer than I anticipated, very quick and very efficient.
4. The coastal D940 from Calais to Bologne de sur is a lovely lovely stretch of road....
5. The French love Aston Martins. Fact. There was an inordinate amount of (positive) attention on French motorways. There were also very very few service stations and it seemed my fuel provision was getting optimistic...
6. The Arc du Triomphe was predictability manic and somewhat hair-raising but palatable. The general standard of parisian driving was shocking. It was like driving in Vietnam. Limited marked lanes. Traffic lights in odd hard to see places. The sheer number of scooters/bikes with constant lane changes and weaving. The amount of 'lane creation' with people just squeezing through improbable gaps. The beeping. The cars cutting perpendicular into oncoming traffic to make u-turns or side street entrances. Mindblowing.
7. The front of the George V hotel is probably the best parking spot in Paris. Even if you are 20 minutes late for lunch and arrive as they are closing the kitchen, if you explain politely you have driven from London to be there, they will do their best to accommodate you.
8. Le Cinq is as good as people say.
9. The little old Vantage was very well received in Paris. Cries of "c'est magnifique", everyone stopping to read the bonnet badge. I was very surprised to see it getting far more attention outside the hotel than the black LP640 SV it was parked in front of.
10. I have never seen the single dashed line on the fuel indicator before. And after conducting some research, the concierge at the hotel was able to point me to a underground fuel station just off the arc du triomphe. So for those that need a lifeline, there is a place to refuel at the top of Avenue Foche.
11. Unlike London, it was possible to drive within 10 feet of iconic places such as the Eiffel tower.
12. Getting out of Paris at 6pm is a b***h. Again. Having to cover a substantive distance in short order really does focus the mind..
13. After a trip like that, the front of the car looks as though it has committed multiple atrocities against the insect population.
So a very fun day. Possible, yes. But in all honesty probably a lot nicer if you stay for at least one night.
Still. Very nice to be able to know that if you want to, the carriage from Gaydon will whisk you down to Paris for the day without skipping a beat.
P.S does anyone know how long it takes to receive any correspondence regarding those annoying flashing little boxes on the side of the motorways...