Normandy

My parents' holiday in Normandy in 1972. Not entirely sure where each of these is from. The covered market is from a film labelled "Chartres", but a quick bit of googling suggests it could be Lyons-la-Forêt. I think that the bearded monk is standing on the steps of Chartres cathedral. The ruins are probably Jumieges Abbey. And finally one of the Hovercraft coming into Calais....
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Honeymoon

Marriage put an end to the petrolhead holidays in France, but in June 1963, the parents went to France on their honeymoon, ambling around the Alps and the Loire. When the French say "chausee deformee", they really mean it! La Grave. The parents stayed here for a few days, SWMBO and myself went a couple of times in the early 2000s, and in 2008, the whole family went back (see previous posting). Looking at this photo now, we reckon that the low building is the restaurant for La Meijette, the hotel we stayed at in 2008. It looks like my parents stayed back up the road, possibly in the Hotel des Alpes. This is down in the valley, by the Romanche river. I've been down to the same spot myself, and that water is bloody cold! While my parents were in La Grave, the Alpine Rally "just happened" to pass through town. Hmmm, coincidence or planned? We shall never know. And from the Loire, Azay-le-Rideau. ...
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And we’re back…

What do you mean I last posted in March? It wasn't that long ago, surely? Oops... Now, where were we? Ah yes, 1961, and it's Le Mans time again - for the third and final time, my father and his friend Bill went to Le Mans for the 24 hour race. This, believe it or not, is the start of the race. The drivers have just run over from the bank in the foreground and are just getting into the cars. And yes, the spectators really are that close. The two cars are Aston Martins DB4 GT Zagatos. #4 is Roy Salvadori & Tony Maggs' car, while #5 is Jim Clark and Ron Flockhart. This is taken from directly above the pits - the Ferrari garage in this case. This is #10, a Ferrari 250, with Phil Hill getting in. Night view from above the pits, with Bill watching. The Salvadori/Maggs Aston Martin, in the process of retiring, 19 hours into the race. There is...
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Le Mans 1960, part 2

This little selection is from behind the scenes at Le Mans One of the bars at night People sleeping in the stand La Calandre, the small hotel/restaurant where my father stayed. I can't find any reference to it still being open, but there is a Rue de la Calandre in Le Mans, so I suppose that's where the hotel was. And the staff at La Calandre, saying goodbye...
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Le Mans 1959

As promised, here are the pictures from Le Mans in 1959. Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (Phil Hill's car), photographed at "Pesage", which I think is scrutineering. A whole load of Ferraris (250's and a Dino), also at Scrutineering An Aston Martin DBR1 - the car that came second (just behind an identical car) The start - I still can't believe how close everyone is to the track, and not a safety fence in sight! Stirling Moss retiring from the race in the evening - another Aston Martin DBR1 ...
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France / Belgium, 1959

In June 1959, my dad and his friend Bill Greenstreet went to the Continent for a holiday - not a common thing to do in those days. No nipping over on the cross-channel ferry for them. Instead they used the wonderfully named "Air Bridge" - a Bristol freighter which flew them to France. That's Bill's car being loaded. A typical French road, lined with plane trees - near Nogent-Sur-Seine if you're really interested. The Basilica in Lisieux This is Le Mans cathedral, and that should tell you a lot about why they really went to France. The first box of 50 black and white films can probably be summarised as "student days", while the second box (the one I'm on now) can probably be summed up as "petrolhead" - it looks like about half of the films are dedicated to motorsport meetings all over the place - Silverstone, Brands Hatch and most significantly of all, Le Mans. But, we'll come to that soon... After...
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Col d’Izoard, 1953

In 1953, my dad went cycling in the Alps with a friend (I don't know his name unfortunately). It seems that they read an article about a tour over some of the Cols that the Tour de France used, and they decided to do it - without really knowing that much about what they were letting themselves in for. Information about the Tour was pretty scarce in those days, although he did have some wonderful French Tour magazines from the 50s.They got the train down to Grenoble, then cycled over the Lautaret, down to Briancon, over the Izoard, then the Col du Vars and the Col de la Cayolle - one Col per day - and then about a 50 mile coast down to Nice.They obviously passed very close to the bottom of Alpe d'Huez as they went through Bourg d'Oisons, but didn't really know that it existed or what a famous climb it would become. The Tour went up...
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