Further Into the Wine Region! Avec une DS!

I left the tale with my friends and I staying in Reims.  Honestly?  There is not alot to report.  Out we went for a meal and a couple of glasses of wine.  After a couple of glasses along with a few more and a few more beers the night became quite a long one!  Somehow I do remember getting back to the hotel.  The next morning however would prove to be interesting.  While I was not too hungover for reasons unknown my friends were in a horrendous state!  All I shall say is that it is the good job that the DS has bench seats up front!

 

IMG_8220 2.JPG

It is fair to say that Reims took its toll

That said I could not think of a comfier way to relax during midday in Reims!  But there was no time for napping!  After grabbing a few snacks and drinks it was time to venture into the rest of Reims.  The first thing to mark off the list was a bit of cathedral spotting.  Sad I know but somebody has to do it.  It’s also a nice way to pass the time on by.  However, like all cathedrals it was decorated with scaffolding.  What on earth is it with the eternal scaffolding in place?  Sure, I know they are larger buildings but could there not be one day when they are free of the dreaded poles and clamps?

IMG_8223.JPG

A Cathedral!

That said, the reason we had come to Reims was not just because of a cathedral.  Oh no.  It was a place we picked as a break for the Citroen.  The old girl would now have a chance to put its legs up after its longest journey in 3 years.  While the car put its legs up we could check out the great Museé de Reims Automobile, a stone’s throw away from the city centre.  However, we would need a rest in the museum as well ; it was like a greenhouse inside there.  It did not however spoil us from looking at a few rare French fancies.

I for one never realised a sporty Citroen BX was made.  OK, we all know about the GTI, but what about this 4×4?  It’s certainly one way to add alot of appeal to an 80s Citroen!

Citroen French Wine Tour (8 of 34)With its quad lights, bonnet bulge and quad driving lights up front complimented by the CX Prestige wheels it is certainly one way to imagine what a BX would look like on steriods.  That said, there was enough French metal there for everyone.  A CX Prestige had us all going weak at the knees as did the much coveted Renault Alpine A110.  It was a truly great place to wonder about in.

 

Before we knew it 5pm had arrived, and we had to press on to our next destination, Villeferry.  This very quite town is situated just outside of Dijon and until driving into it I would not have given it a second look.

Citroen French Wine Tour (14 of 34)

But with such stunning scenery surrounding us in addition to the great roads leading up to it just had us lapping up the scenery with ease.  The Citroen itself also proved to be the perfect car for such a trip.

That however was not all.  We all enjoyed a superb dinner with what must be one of the best bits of scenery I have ever enjoyed while eating in addition to a truly superb steak.  It literally fell apart in your knife and fork.  The Pistonklause in Nurburg? Take note.

But even in a place as picturesque and remote as this there was still some old tin to admire.  I managed to stumble across what only looked like an old wrecker’s yard.  Where cars were laid to rest, maybe to provide spares for other cars or to be revived one day in the distant future.  That said, there was still some unfamiliar tin present there.

 

After a great night’s sleep we noticed that there was a distinct lack of vinyards about.  But with all of the scenery as well as passing the Source of the River Seine we were simply soaking up the scenery like a sponge.

Open Garage Sessions (50 of 106).jpg

 

But eventually we could come to what we came looking for.  Vinyards.  Yup, we were finally in Burgundy.

Open Garage Sessions (85 of 106).jpg

It’s time for Progress with the Wine Tour! Real Progress!

Before we knew it D-Day had arrived. After giving the car a wash the night prior to the big drive we had a couple of beers placing bets as to whether the car would even would make it to Dover before we retired to our beds. Just to prepare us for the trip we took plenty of LHM (about 5 litres worth!), some engine and gearbox oil, many many tools as well as ourselves and our baggage, obviously.

With an early start during the next morning we were surprised that it managed to make it to Watford Gap! With such a great outcome we decided to grab some breakfast. After all, we had pretty big sights in store for a car that had covered less than a 100 miles in 3 years! It’s about the small steps at times!

Citroen French Wine Tour (2 of 34).jpg

Just Ignore the Wings!  It’s all fine!

It’s fair to say that it at least looked the part!  OK, the wings looked a little off colour and showed every single ripple with the filler now gone.  I call it the Cellulite look.  But there was no time to hang around.  With a coffee drank and breakfast consumed it was time to crack on.

On the road the car seemed to be performing fine.  The engine pulled very well, the suspension as a passenger seemed very comfortable and even the Chinese voltage regulator in place of the original points based setup held a constant 14 Volts!  Maybe we were worrying too much!

Citroen French Wine Tour (1 of 34).jpg

This would be until we hit passport control at the Channel Tunnel.  The car died without any warning.  It’s fair to say it was not an ideal place to break down!  The car tried to cough back into life but eventually it was fine.  It was traced back to a faulty connection to the fuel pump relay!  The old girl was showing us some promise!  Without further ado there was nothing left to do short of boarding the train, as Ocean Colour Scene once said.  OK, it was something like that.

Citroen French Wine Tour (3 of 34).jpg

With the sun out, the temperature being firmly in the high 20s and low 30s there was nothing else left to do but to hit the road and settle down to a 120km/h cruise down to our first destination.  With the car looking like it would be fine it’s fair to say that we were all fairly content with the situation!

 

Citroen French Wine Tour (4 of 34).jpg

With that in mind we pushed on to our first destination with me taking the keys behind the wheel.  So, how was it?  The steering is certainly strange.  Maybe there is an issue with this car but the steering refused to self centre at all.  Do a tight right hander and the steering will stay there!  However, the car just glid down the autoroutes effortlessly at 120 and 130km/h without a problem.  The column gear change is a strange one to use but soon becomes OK to use after a bit of practice.  The body roll is comical but it’s forgiven with its frankly untouchable ride quality ; not much seems to ride like a Citroen DS!  It certainly felt like the right car for the trip!

But where would I stop the car?  That’s easy.  The one and only Reims!

Open Garage Sessions (2 of 106)

There may not be much left but there is something certainly quite special about this place!  The spirit of the place is still very much there.  May that be a local putting his foot down hard past the pit garages if it’s not a tourist.  There never appears to be a moment when there is no one about anyway!

While we were progressing nicely there were reminders still present that our car was an old girl and with the risk associated with it!  This gorgeous Maserati illustrated that point. Unfortunately his ride back home was on a low loader.

Open Garage Sessions (10 of 106).jpg

Open Garage Sessions (17 of 106)

With that in mind it was time to go to the hotel to retire and to give the car and us a rest.   It was now a test to see if we or the car would crack first.  After all, this was a wine tour.

Open Garage Sessions (20 of 106)