Jaguar Journeys > Journées d’Automne 2015, Circuit Des Ecuyers, France
An autumn weekend bringing together a collection of outstanding historical classic cars. Teams (car, pilot & co-pilot = team) travel from England, Luxembourg, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium and France, to the annual Journées d’Automne which begins at the footsteps of the Champagne region in France.
A relatively discreet social sports gathering in it’s 10th+ year, welcomes around 80 pre and post-war cars to a track day at Circuit Des Ecuyers followed by a rally complete with road book for the Sunday tour. The weekend includes lunches on both days, the Saturday night dinner and party, all hosted in some of the most impressive historical buildings in the region (which differ yearly), access to the track on the Saturday, road book/tour and event organisation for the Sunday rally.
Partnerships with Veuve Clicquot and ProFirst ensure a suitably elegant weekend. The track sees a pop-up concept store featuring clothing by Cadot and Chapal, Cuisse de Grenouille, accessories by See Concept, , scented candles by Les thés de constance, and Atelier Auguste.
The Friday night is an informal gathering for those who can make it to the open-sided barn BBQ at Fère-en-Tardenois. Throughout the evening, teams from across the EU arrive with delicacies from their region to get the party started. An early start never prevents the BBQ from ending early…
Saturday morning began in heavy rain and fog. All the more challenging to complete the track laps, but for many it proved an opportunity to test their cars capabilities. Above a Jaguar C-Type & Jaguar D-Type and a Porsche 911RS73 – very rare and brought over by a UK team.
Also making an appearance was an Alfa Romeo SZ and TZ, a Ferrari Daytona from the UK, a Porsche RS, Jaguar Lightweight E Type, the famous Veuve Clicquot Bentley, an Alvis speed 20, Aston Martin Ulster, Bugatti’s, an Ase, Jaguar SS100 and a Talbot to name a handful.
My pilot, Monsieur Etienne Raynaud, AKA Mr Journées d’Automne
Above, a female pilot in her Bugatti Grand Prix 37
Image c/o Thrill of Speed
My first time driving a left hand drive, and my first time on the track driving a Mini 1275GT
Above & below 📷: Thrill of Speed
Chateau de Condé
A break from the track for lunch was arranged at Chateau Condé in Condé en Brie. The present owners, the Rochefort family are descendants of the Count Claret de Fleurieu, and the Captain of the private guard of the first Prince of Condé.
The Chateau is a family home that welcomes visitors to aiding the maintenance of the grand building and gardens. We enjoyed a much needed warming lunch, and of course the best French cheese before heading back to the track to better those track times.
The Veuve Clicquot Bentley
The Clicquot Airstream below offered a steady flow of coffees and sweet treats throughout the day. Of course the bubbles appeared as the track closed. Safety first!
Saturday night is one of the highlights of the weekend, dinner and a party until the small hours at this medieval castle arranged by ProFirst Paris. Cross the moat for access, and be careful on your way out!
Wake early on Sunday, and meet at the market square in Fére-en-Tardenois. Breakfast is hosted by the Mayor and locals gather to watch as 80 or so cars drive in and out of this sleepy town.
Road books are distributed and new rules this year ensure you must follow the route exactly to receive your tour stamps. No sat navs allowed! This year’s drive was to highlight Aisne, an area of the Champagne region. The route highlighted notable historical buildings including Abbey de Longpont, and a brief stop at a WW1 battle ground.
Freezing, as usual 📷: Thrill of Speed
The Road book, a convertible Jaguar XK120 and a very wet day.
After a long but beautiful morning drive we arrived at our last stop, Domaine de Barive for a late lunch before driving back to Paris.
Another adventure filled weekend. Here’s to the next one in 2016.
Images courtesy of Thrill of Speed, Circuit de Ecuyers & LWSY