Circuit Historique de Laon: Thousands of classic car drivers travel to an historic French city – so we go along to check it out!
Located in the middle of Aisne in France, the fine medieval city of Laon lies about 140 kms from Paris, just north of Reims. The hilltop city contains many buildings, including the magnificent Cathedral Notre-Dame, dating mostly from the 12th and 13th centuries. But once each year, the whole city shows its passion for old cars in what some sources say is the biggest cavalcade of classic cars and sports cars in Europe!
And while around 1000 enthusiasts from around France, Belgium and the Netherlands descend upon Laon, they’re joined by an equal number of British – so we went along too!
There’s a typically French laid-back atmosphere to the whole event, and a wonderful variety of transport from an early 1900s steam car to the latest Aston Martin. Saturday is touring day, and on Sunday afternoon most of the cars attending are paraded on a 6km circuit taking in most of the city’s most historic sights, everyone driving sensibly and the only danger coming from getting ‘all waved out’ from reciprocating all the enthusiasm of the lovely people lining the streets, from little children to the very elderly – all clearly having a great time.
If you fancy it next year, it’s a gentle three hour drive from Calais, including stops. Be prepared for other motorists to blow you kisses if you’re talking a classic!
Instead of crossing ‘La Manche’ via the tunnel, for this trip we tried DFDS ferries and found them to be just perfect… fast, efficient and friendly, we arrived ‘ready to go’ after a pleasant rest that was a welcome contrast to 40 minutes trapped inside a vehicle carriage and needing to stop for a break on the other side!
Incidentally, we can recommend the modestly-priced upgrades to speedy boarding and first class lounge – a haven of tranquillity (and Prosecco!)