France is the perfect place for a holiday, I been with there my family and I’ve toured on a motorcycle, the countryside is magnificent, the roads almost empty, it’s practically impossible to get a bad meal and there are Hotels everywhere, food and accommodation are substantially cheaper than the UK and, by comparison, our roads are dreadful, food is variable and our large, bland chain hotels have staff that rarely give comparable service.
Despite this, the ‘46-’55 Register of the RREC has a single weekend away each year in the UK and they’ve been extremely successful. The formula is simple; Pick a location out of a hat, provide a list of activities to occupy the day and all have dinner together afterwards, and I must say that I prefer this approach to having lots of outings organized for me and a strict timetable to adhere to, we are after all, on holiday.
Various people had suggested the Register go overseas but no one wanted to organize it so, after much deliberation, I decided to have a go. My first trip was not an official club event and it could have been a disaster; I’d chosen a cramped Hotel on a busy main road with a noisy nearby Cockerel that prevented sleep for those whose bedrooms faced it and just in case that wasn’t enough, it rained almost from the moment we arrived. Rather surprisingly our party of about 15 really enjoyed themselves, complained that we were going home to soon and insisted I do another. I did and last year was spent in the Loire Valley, you can still see reports of the two trips elsewhere on this website.
This year was our third visit to France and by far, our most successful, the thank you messages have been quite overwhelming and it has made me determined to do even better next year.
Just like a Register, the days are not organized although I (my wife and I) did provide information on the area to help people plan outings. We also had very interesting guests:
- Norman Geeson is probably the World’s foremost authority on the ‘46-’55 cars.
- My son Richard James having worked for Alpine Eagle for 7 years and now on his own, knows the pre-war models well (we didn’t have any) as well being a multi Concours winning trimmer.
- Renowned Australian Author and editor of their Club Magazine the Praeclarvm, David Neely.
Brian May, singer and Bristol dealer. He’s not the one from the Band Queen but he and his wife did sing to us on the last night at Manoir du Menec to uproarious applause.
It wasn’t a widget polishing holiday but there were plenty of interesting experts to talk to for those who felt the need.
Invitations were (as always) open to everyone with cars of a similar age and members of BDC, RREC, RROC AU, RROC USA and the Bristol Owners Club, We never turn anyone away if there is space and we’d like an Alvis next year if anyone is interested.
The real success this time was in the dinner parties, people could have gone out but none chose to. Each night the tables were set so the same people rarely sat together twice, the result is that we all get to know each other quickly and could arrange trips with different companions for each day out. Everyone got on famously and I do not doubt will remain friends for life. www.manoirdumenec is a wonderful hotel in a superb location run by Hilary and her husband who could not have done more to make us feel welcome. The food was superb as was the wine list and because everyone one of us wished it, we shall return next year without fail.
This was without doubt a tremendous holiday and none of us could have wished for better cars to do it in, ours are quiet and comfortable and the ride is smooth. They may be 50 or more years old but they still compare favorably with today’s models, whereas more exotic pre war models, especially tourers are harsher, noisier, have poor weather protection and engine heat can be problem. And how many can cruise comfortably all day a 70+ mph?
The accompanying pictures tell the rest of our story. If you’d like to join us next year please let me know as soon as you can as there is bound to be a waiting list. Dates will be the same; The first two weeks in June, I look forward to hearing from you.