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My name’s Phil Chidlow and I design road trips/events for my fellow Citroën enthusiasts/Francophiles at the Citroën Car Club (of which I’m also a Director).


I've been organising and creating the materials for these since 2009. At the end of May this year we returned from a trip to France that took us south through Chateaux country, the Auvergne, Ardéche, Haut-Provence, to the Med and back up, over the Alps and through Burgundy to Reims where we celebrated with a slap up dinner. There were 23 old Citroëns (plus a guest Peugeot 205) and 40 people taking part. It was the biggest and most successful yet. I am being asked to prepare other trips too.


There is always a genuine sense of something special with these trips; experiencing culture, terrain, food, attractions we don't get at home. It’s not all about the beloved cars (although it’s the glue that bonds us): memories of the whole experience remain treasured for years on.

My road trip events are most definitely not aimed at the Banger Rally market. Neither at the 5-star exclusive, high-end market either. It’s grounded; designed to be affordable, fun and realistic in its ambitions. A group of 15-25 teams works best.


I meticulously plan the routes to include interesting (and sometimes quite challenging) roads and highlights along the way. Overnight stopovers venues are recommended (people book their Hotels or decide to camp depending upon the various options I provide). There isn’t too much in the way of ‘over-organisation’ but because everyone’s uses the same map and route guide, we all tend to stay loosely together. Experience teaches us that long convoys of more than 5 cars are impossible to maintain over any distance, but clusters soon form. This creates a great sense of camaraderie and no one day is the same. Feedback is honestly great and the events have matured into something people really want to do.


Building upon this has become something I feel I need to share somehow: It seems a waste of all that planning not to.


I want to offer the opportunity to participate to other enthusiast groups, which will bring their own imprint and flavour of their favoured marque. Mixing together French car owners isn’t that common in the UK, but these cars are obviously linked by their heritage. Just because I happen to sit in the Citroën camp, does not mean I don’t admire Renault, Peugeot, Simca or Panhard (and I always fancied a Matra too!). Back in 2001 I nearly bought an R8 Gordini from a gentleman near Agen. How things might have been different if I’d taken te plunge then…


So what do I have planned?


The French Classic Open; June 16-25 2023


This wil be the inugural event where any French marque is welcome. Eligibility criteria have been relaxed to ease people into it.


WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

If you can drive, have a French Car and can actually get to the event (as opposed to just being curious - and living the other side of the World) you're just about there.


WHAT CAR?

If your French car is older than 10 years that's you/your team’s first hurdle crossed. However if it's younger than 20 years it needs to be a 'special interest’ (e.g  Laguna V6 Coupé, Wind….). This is at the (fairly laid-back) organiser's discretion. We do tend to attract cars with a more years than that under their belts though, so bear that in mind. After all we'd like our cars not to blend into the blandness of a French supermarket car park!



HOW TO REGISTER INTEREST

The first thing to do is get on the mailing list. Email your details (name & car to start with) and any particular questions to me at: frenchclassic@btinternet.com


If you’re on facebook join us at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/frenchclassic