Desolation Row

Desolation Row

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lowdrag

Original Poster:

10,904 posts

173 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Bob Dylan is playing softly in the car, and if you know the song you'll appreciate what it feels like here. This morning, I thought I'd do a tour of the circuit, as far as that is possible, and started at the Stella bar as it is commonly known, at Tertre Rouge. This what I found:-



Apparently it has changed hands and is being rebuilt by the new owner. Locked tight, as are all bars it seems that have a view of the circuit. I thought I might be able to scramble up the bank and take a photo or two. Not a chance. Tight security.

On under Tertre Rouge, and I thought I'd see if there was any way of getting to see the circuit near Parking Vert. Crowd barriers block the way. On down to Houx and Houx Annexe. This was as close as I could get to the Annexe:-



And driving further down a view of Houx:-



Desolation Row is right. Quiet as the grave. So on I go, not a car on the road except me, and I arrive at the Technoparc to meet this chilling sign:-




On my way past Beauséjour, under the Porsche Curves, and right up to the circuit main entrance. This is Camping Bleu opposite Maison Blanche.:-



Depressed, and fearing the worst as I arrive at Janine's bar Aux Portes du Circuit, the clouds disappeared, for there was Janine cleaning the terrace, and a big welcome. But I was the only one there, and we had a long chat over a coffee. She had bought 10 croissants and had only sold two in the three hours she had been open:-



It seems that the virus has delayed her retirement and she will be there to greet us until the end of July next year, so Le Mans and the Classic included. I tried to get a photo or two everywhere, from Arnage to Family Village but impossible with all the security. So we'll finish with the happy photo; Janine, smiling as always, and looking forward, God willing, to seeing you all next year.


RDMcG

15,907 posts

167 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Very evocative post. What a shame for all of those who depend on the event. Roll on 2021. Can’t wait for this dreadful year to end.

Pupp

10,327 posts

232 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Thanks for taking the time to take and post those images; very sad to see the Stella bar at TR all set up; some great memories of time spent in there over the years. Hope the new owner doesn't alter it too much...

Tyre Smoke

15,839 posts

221 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
TR bar looked like that at the start of the week. Except it was open at the front with all of about four people there.

Had a very quiet week here, except for a very convivial afternoon on Thursday just SE of Mulsanne. hehe

chrisring

151 posts

105 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Lowdrag.
Many thanks for keeping us up to date.
But great News that Jeannine is Ok and will be there next year


jeff666

1,858 posts

151 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
RDMcG said:
Very evocative post. What a shame for all of those who depend on the event. Roll on 2021. Can’t wait for this dreadful year to end.
This ^^^^

chrisring

151 posts

105 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
some of our chaps stayed in the 'flat' under the Stella Bar on year!
As you can imagine they did not get much sleep!!

LM240

3,396 posts

178 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
It must be so strange being there for the 24hrs and place is so desolate.

Been to Bugatti for track day and it was odd seeing the place empty, but whilst the 24hrs is actually on must be surreal.

I hope 2021 we can be back. Must be so hard for the businesses taking such a hit.

giveitfish

3,449 posts

174 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Thanks for posting this lowdrag, your posts from Le Mans are a vital way of keeping the connection alive when we’re all stuck at home frown

wsn03

1,532 posts

61 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Very much appreciated lowdrag, thank you

slartibartfast

3,857 posts

161 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Thanks Lowdrag.

my best memory of tetrouge was 2011 when I cycled the circuit on mad Friday and went there for a pint of Stella.
Ordered my beer and asked if I could use the toilet (in my best French which is utter garbage) and it went something like this:-

Me: Bonjour, oo ehh le toilet siv oo play

Barman: Do you want a piss or a st? because the toilet is broken

Me: just a piss

Barman: ahh good (pointing me to the toilet)

biggrin

Pupp

10,327 posts

232 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
slartibartfast said:
Thanks Lowdrag.

my best memory of tetrouge was 2011 when I cycled the circuit on mad Friday and went there for a pint of Stella.
Ordered my beer and asked if I could use the toilet (in my best French which is utter garbage) and it went something like this:-

Me: Bonjour, oo ehh le toilet siv oo play

Barman: Do you want a piss or a st? because the toilet is broken

Me: just a piss

Barman: ahh good (pointing me to the toilet)

biggrin
And that be the toilet with the infamous neon spray painted stick people gender depictions that both signed the way behind one curtain to the same hole... legend yes

slartibartfast

3,857 posts

161 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Pupp said:
slartibartfast said:
Thanks Lowdrag.

my best memory of tetrouge was 2011 when I cycled the circuit on mad Friday and went there for a pint of Stella.
Ordered my beer and asked if I could use the toilet (in my best French which is utter garbage) and it went something like this:-

Me: Bonjour, oo ehh le toilet siv oo play

Barman: Do you want a piss or a st? because the toilet is broken

Me: just a piss

Barman: ahh good (pointing me to the toilet)

biggrin
And that be the toilet with the infamous neon spray painted stick people gender depictions that both signed the way behind one curtain to the same hole... legend yes
biggrin

majordad

3,310 posts

157 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
Thanks Lowdrag, and best wishes to all

ellroy

6,403 posts

185 months

Saturday 19th September
quotequote all
I want to know what was done with the Tetre Rouge towel from the bogs?

Was a Hazmat team deployed to remove it?

(Thanks Lowdrag, much appreciated.)

Genuine Barn Find

5,391 posts

175 months

Sunday 20th September
quotequote all
jeff666 said:
This ^^^^
i’ve enjoyed watching it at home (for sheer novelty value), but given where we are at with covid at the moment i genuinely do worry about whether 2021 will be ‘normal service résumed as well’ I sincerely hope not.....

lowdrag

Original Poster:

10,904 posts

173 months

Sunday 20th September
quotequote all
Good Morning Vietnam is on the TV and The Doors are playing "This is the End" on the hi-fi. For months now Le Mans has been hoping for some relief from the sheer misery and hardship that this vicious, invisible disease has brought upon us. From the beginning of the year our hopes have soared and plummeted on the roller coaster news we have had. Lockdown, the 24 Hour bike race pushed back, but ticket sales still ongoing, the Moto Grand Prix cancelled entirely, and for the hoteliers, the taxi drivers, the restaurants, the shops - the whole fabric that is Le Mans has suffered the 1,000 cuts one by one. Hopes rose with the announcement of the "villages" and a crowd of 30,000, but in our hearts we knew it probably wouldn't work, and so it was proved when the President called it off. "Huis Clos" is the expression in French; "Behind Closed Doors" in English. And with the four big events went getting on for 500,000 visitors.

The 24 Hours is the biggest thing we have here, but it is only part of the greater scheme. Track days, 24 Hour Cycle race, 24 Hour team marathon, Women against Cancer, the 24 Hour Truck racing - I could go on but it serves for nothing. In a normal year there is hardly a day that I don't hear the gentle hum from the circuit. It is part and parcel of the infrastructure and cadence of the town. As are film makers who frequently use the old town for historical dramas etc.

This has been the most hollow and saddest week of my 20 years of living here. Not because of my love of the race and racing, but for my friends who are struggling to survive financially and the emails I have had from friends who wanted oh-so-much to visit. Yes, I know it is hard in the UK and will be even more so when the furlough scheme ends and the P45's start dropping on the mat, but my friends here love you coming, love the British sense of fun and joie de vivre, and they miss that too. I'd like to thank you all for your kind comments, and wish you all well.

"May you live in happier times" is the french expression. It is all we can offer to anybody in these times. Until we meet again.


LawrieC

256 posts

64 months

Sunday 20th September
quotequote all
It really is sad. A hundred years of this event and tradition suddenly stops, except what's happening behind the barbed wire.

I was surprised with the picture of the "Stella Bar". I hadn't seen it for a long time, when it was cute little café that was transformed for the race.


It does seem to have gone downhill a lot, even before all this.

lowdrag

Original Poster:

10,904 posts

173 months

Sunday 20th September
quotequote all
Here's one I took in 1994. The rear of the building as most people knew it did not exist.


delta0

1,310 posts

66 months

Sunday 20th September
quotequote all
We’ll be there next year Lowdrag. I hope everything can hold on until then. Really missed being their this year. I have got so many people hooked on Le Mans and they messaged me saying how sad they were not to be there. The race was great but it will only exist if people can visit again.