Citroen 2CV Paris: Classic Cars for a Classy City
Nothing says cool like a classic car. Cruising in a top-down convertible makes any city seem more beautiful, but doing it in Paris? Who could so no to that?!
Perhaps this is something of a nod to the fact that between my father and my uncle there have been sweet antique cars in my life since I was born, but when I found out I had an opportunity to ride around Paris for four or five hours in a classic Citroen 2CV convertible there was really only one possible reaction: SIGN ME UP!
While I certainly expected to enjoy the experience, I was a bit surprised by just how much widely we ranged and how much we learned about the city. We made it to all the obvious spots, of course, like past the Eiffel Tower and in front of Notre Dame and along the Champs Elysees. Better than that, we drove out to lesser known bobo neighborhoods like Menil-montant or Bellevue and out to the residential high-rises of the 13th. Having spent so many days in the city center within sighing distance of the Eiffel Tower, the change of pace was very welcome! Oh, and the other best part?
Jealous stares, of course! It seems I’m not the only person in Paris fond of the Citroen 2CV. Paris and France generally seem to have a thing with this old timer. Imagine that sweet feeling of nostalgia you get when you see an early 70s Trans Am on the road, and then multiply that by the 2.2 million residents of Paris. The 2CV went into production in 1948 and didn’t finally stop until 1990, but their heyday was the 70s and 80s before their construction was outsourced to Portugal. These things, to the French mind, represent some combination of a first car and your best friend’s ride in high school and the visual appeal of an earlier era all rolled into one. Tourist may look at them and think “Tres cool!” but the longing loving look in the Frenchman’s eye is the true testament to the Citroen 2CV’s enduring popularity.
Even if you drove around the blocks a few times near your hotel, the chance to ride in one of these cars is one you should take if you get the opportunity. Running the backstreets of Paris with the top open and the windows down, though? An awesome and memorable experience. Martin, our driver for most of the time we were in a 2CV, mentioned that during the winters they also pack people in the backseat underneath a pile of blankets and go on a drive frigid but no doubt romantic. Whether through the grand boulevards or medieval backstreets, its sure to leave an impression.
I was in Paris primarily to work with GetYourGuide as a photographer. These shots came variously from several Citroen 2CV Paris tours: 2CV Classics, 2CV Paris by Night, and 2CV Champs Elysees. Martin, the driver for ‘Authentic Paris‘ (the company that runs the first two) was awesome to ride around with and incredibly knowledgeable about the streets of Paris – between the two this is the experience I would recommend. The 2R4P tour runs a bit cheaper though, if price is your main selling point. Whichever of the two you go with, tell ’em we said hi!