Parade of classic cars brings vintage glamour to Paris

The 19th edition of La Traversée de Paris combines automobiles and much-loved comic books

8 January 2019
By Claire McQue

Classic car collectors are buffing their running boards and polishing their headlights in preparation for the 19th winter edition of the Traversée de Paris. This Sunday, more than 700 vintage cars are due to parade through the streets of Paris as part of the bi-annual event. Organised by antique car association Vincennes en Anciennes (www.vincennesenanciennes.com), the parade will unveil a prestigious collection of vehicles spanning more than 30 years. As well as vintage cars, motorcycles, buses and even a few tractors will participate in the 30km loop around Paris.

The theme of the parade is 'France’s ninth art': the comic book.

La Traversée spokesperson, Anne Quémy said: “This year’s theme was chosen because comic books appeal to all generations. Grandparents can come with their grandchildren to watch the parade.”

“Vehicles play an important role in comics too as many comic book characters drive iconic vehicles. There are several places in Paris which are famous in the world of comics.”

Jacques Tardi’s 1970s comic series, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc Sec sees its eponymous heroine slinking through the streets of 1910 and then 1920s Paris. Of Léo Malet’s comic books, fifteen are set in the city’s various arrondissements where ace detective Nestor Burma does his sleuthing. Realist cartoonist Jean Graton depicts the life of Michel Vaillant, a racing car driver whose victories include Formula One and the Paris-Dakar rally.

Amongst the 700 strong crocodile of cars, look out for Tintin’s Citroën 2CV and Jeep, Ric Hochet’s bright yellow Porsche, the pillar-box red Ford Model T driven by Francis and Maurice Tillieux, and the creamy white Cadillac that Benoît Soka’s Inspector Canardo drives.

At 8h, engines will be gunned to life at the Esplanade Saint Louis, Château Vincennes, east of the city. The parade will take in some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, following a route that includes the Place de l’Alma and the Gare de Austerlitz, among others. Returning to the start point around midday, a selection of classic cars will then be on display until 15h that afternoon.

Whether you’re a classic car connoisseur, comic strip buff or general enthusiast, spectators can sign up to ride behind the parade in vintage buses or simply head to the Château to watch the action unfold. Spaces in the buses are limited and should be reserved in advance. During the parade, there will be a boat cruise along the Seine where guests can enjoy lunch with a view of the city.

Twice a year, La Traversée de Paris brings a retro touch to Paris with winter and summer parades. The summer edition will take place on 21 July, finishing with a picnic on the terrace of the Meudon Observatory.

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