Citroen 2CV Paris: Classic Cars for a Classy City

Citroen 2CV on Paris's Pont Alexander III
Posted by on May 5, 2014

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?!

citroen 2cv at eiffel tower

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!

citroen 2cv on bir hakin bridge paris

ooooooh, champs elysees

citroen 2cv on ile de la cite

 

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?

2cv near notre dame

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.

citroen 2cv on paris pont alexander III

citroen 2CV license plate

Citroen 2CV Paris

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.

backstreets ofparis

eiffel tower at night

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I was in Paris primarily to  work with GetYourGuide as a photographer. These shots came variously from several Citroen 2CV Paris tours: 2CV Classics2CV 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!

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6 Responses to Citroen 2CV Paris: Classic Cars for a Classy City

  1. Escape Hunter

    Cute legendary French cars 🙂
    I remember them from Louis de Funes films. I haven’t been to France, but have seen plenty of these in Spain and Morocco!

    • Stephen

      Apparently they outsourced production to Portugal sometime in the 80s, so I’d imagine that corner of Europe probably has its fair share of them too. As small and underpowered as these things were, they were still tons of fun to ride around in!

  2. Escape Hunter

    Yes, they were made in many countries, including Spain, Chile, Argentina…
    They’re already iconic to Mediterranean Europe.

    Here’s one that I grabbed in Valencia, Spain – last year:
    http://www.escapehunter.com/escapes/spain/vehicle-spotting-010413.php

  3. Nico

    Great article mate. I have been on one of these 2cv tours in Paris and it was one of the best city tour experience I have ever had.

    • Stephen

      Cheers Nico, glad you enjoyed it. Riding around in these things remains one of my fondest memories from Paris, and is definitely something I encourage people to check out while they’re in the city.

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