Traversée de Paris : the bi-annual moving car show

It’s 6 o’clock in the morning, the grass of the garden is covered by frost. It’s the beginning of another Sunday on the road. But this time, we will not deal with landscapes wideness or countryside wildness. Our destination : the french capital, in order to participate to the 20th Traversée de Paris.

The goal of the journey : passing by the most famous places and turning around iconic monuments. In short : re-discovering the city of light, but from a different point of view. Did I heard lazy man Sunday activities ? Yes and no. Because, a lazy man would not have taken an Austin Tourer 20HP from 1925.

I thought a convertible (let’s talk about a Tourer for the purists), would allow us to better appreciate Paris’ architecture. For weather reasons, we finally drove with the hood on. Don’t believe “friends” who will comment this article, saying that it was because I forgot the right spanner to put the top off… (Hum).

Vintage cars are back in town!

The event occurs the first week-end of January, and generally the last of July. I personally try to participate to each winter journey. I always propose to my girlfriend, who appreciates the fact it is located next door. She’s true, it is sometimes exhausting to do miles and miles in order to join a track. This is also a good opportunity to give rendez-vous to petrolhead friends, as most of them are in the streets with their bolides.

traversée de paris - austin tourer 20HP de 1925

As usual, the meeting was organized at 7:00 AM on the parking of Vincennes royal castle, just 2 or 3 kilometers outside the ring. As usual, I arrived a bit late. But this time, I had a good reason. In fact, as explained in a precedent article about the Austin Tourer 20HP. It is all of a ritual to start a prewar, and it is difficult to save time on the motorway, as the top speed is naturally limited.

Once arrived in this ephemeral paddock, I am not really surprised to learn the Austin is not the oldest participant. We are welcomed by a man doing circles with his Grand Bi, a bicycle from the end of the 19th century. A Rochet Schneider 1919 and a 1923 Ford T are also part of the game, as well as other prewars, especially french ones, but also classic Bentleys.

A massive classic vehicles celebration in the streets of Paris

8:00, time to take the route of Paris. This year, the goal is to go across the 20 districts, in no more than 35 kilometres. The course appears to be fantastic, passing by two of my favorite monuments: The Opera Garnier, and the Panthéon.

With the years, the journey gathers more and more people. According the organizers, 824 vehicles where presents. According the author of this article… more than 1000. This is the only demonstration where there are more participants present than registered. The reason why? Some non-engaged drivers join the procession to say Hello.

I am always amazed by some stunning commercial vehicles. One of those use to serve in the next door farm, in my family town, it is now funny to see it on the Concorde place.

The Traversée de Paris is a fantastic fair, where all sorts of cars are allowed, provided being more than 30 years-old. I am sorry, I tend to be car-orientated. But of course, there is a huge number of bikers. The meeting is also open to classic bicycles. Few tractors take part to the fiesta. Over the year, they took the habit to stop around the Arc of Triumph. Seeing them is always kind of exotic.

The family of motorized vehicles is completed by a public transportation service. It means that if you don’t own a classic car, you can still participate, taking a classic bus ticket. What else ? You wanted to see a boat ? There was one ! At least an amphibious tank.

Traversée de paris - place de la concorde - voiture amphibie

A moving classic show!

Fed up with gleaming classic car shows where you cannot even afford one wheel of the cheapest car exhibited? You’ve to come to the Traversée de Paris, for at least two reasons :

First of all, between a proper exhibition and a Roadtrip, the Traversée de Paris is one of the best opportunity for the classic car scene to meet townsfolk. Drivers are always really please to share their passion with laymen. I.e., those would not undertake to visit a Retromobile, London Classic Car Show,or equivalent. That’s what we call Lobbying.

Moreover, compared to certain demonstrations, the Traversée de Paris offers a diversity that you cannot find elsewhere. People participating are like you and me, all sharing the same passion, no matter the value of their drive.

As a consequence, there is a car for every taste ! I personally appreciate this event for this heterogenous gathering, allowing me to discover things that I would not look at in other circumstances. It offers magical scenes, mixing popular vehicles with their luxurious contemporaries.

Wanna participate but don’t want to wait until next January ? We have good news for you : there is also one in July. Register here with Vincennes en Anciennes! 


Traversée de Paris 2020, when classic cars are back in town!

    1. Except the London-Brighton which starts… in London, it’s completely true that we miss such events in other cities.

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