Fresh on the heels of the GP launch at the London Motor Show, MINI is launching the R56 mini at the Paris Motor Show.
Why not join us to see the new mini at its Paris launch?
We are making a weekend of it, sailing from Portsmouth to Le Havre on the 11.00 Friday night crossing on the 6th October. After arriving in Le Havre at 7.30 am we will whizz along the motorway to spend all day Saturday at the show, before checking into a hotel in Versailles around tea time. Saturday night is a short train ride into Paris to see Paris by night, while Sunday is free to explore either Paris or Versailles before heading back to catch the 5pm ferry, which gets back to Portsmouth at 9.30 pm on Sunday evening.
The return ferry crossing is from as little as £55.00 return rising to £134.00 with an overnight cabin (don't book cabin for return trip and only book 1 cabin) and the hotel is approximately £50.00 a room.
If you want to join us book the ferry here: LD Lines
Book the hotel here Le Cheval Rouge by e-mailing them requesting the type of room you want. We have chosen this hotel in Versailles to avoid the nightmare of Paris driving and because it has secure overnight parking, it is two minutes from the palace of Versailles and the train station to Paris!
and purchase your Motor Show tickets here: Motor Show Tickets or you can pay 12 euros on the gate.
Looking forward to see a mini convoy marching on Paris to witness the birth of the new baby!
Peanut and Beastmaster
1. Peanut and Beastmaster
2. Minisoopercooper (Paul)
3. HyperCooper and Andy
5. Matrog and Becca3003
Friday 6th October.
The trip was to begin with
us all meeting at Portsmouth Docks to catch the LD Lines overnight ferry to
Saturday 6th October.
A fast getaway from
The next challenge was
motorway tolls and this time Minisoopercooper
proved to be the villain. If memory serves correctly we did 3 toll
booths on the trip to
What with fuel stops and
toll delays this was not going to be a quick dash to the Motor Show and a spot
of breakfast was called for enroute,
to let everyone catch their breath. Croissants, baguettes, jam and hot
chocolate was the order of the day for most of us, in a place at one of the
motorway service stops that actually catered for le petite dejeuner really rather well.
Breakfast proved to be a damned fine idea, as before long we were battling with Parisian drivers in very heavy traffic as we neared the Motor Show venue and at least we were fighting on full stomachs! What happened next was in truth, as a result of good fortune, but the official version is… “As a result of superb forward planning we rerouted to avoid an unbelievable jam on a section of the peripherique and found ourselves at the car park we were heading for about a half mile walk from the motor show”!
The Motor Show
Once inside everybody headed
for the MINI stand to see the new R56 MINI in the metal. In short the general
consensus was positive as we all seemed to like the car a lot. Minor gripes could
be found and perversely, I quite enjoyed being picky at the expense of the new
car… the rear guttering below the spoiler seems to be just glued on with sticky
tape and was falling off, the front headlights are crosseyed and do not look as
good with gaps between them and the metal bonnet, the rear quarter panel is an
extra piece of plastic which in the flesh is a different colour black to the
windows. The gap between the two looks like it will attract dust and get full
of car wax and so on and so on. But then I decided to get a life and look
again… The new aero kit is fabulous, the interiors are great, the character is
still there, the colours are fine. Yes, the car is a winner and I’m sure that
when the day to change comes we will be getting one!
Myself and Peanut though had
a second reason to go to the show. Our Peugeot 206cc is 5 years old and a new
convertible beckons. The Opel GT has caught our eye and we love the pictures
and videos of it on the internet and so we had come to see the car in the flesh,
so to speak. On sight it is indeed every bit as beautiful as it is in the
pictures. The car looks good from every angle and our dream of having one of
these cars was reinforced by seeing it first hand. Unfortunately though, we
wanted to sit in it and see if it is comfortable and what the drivers view is
like but we couldn’t do that as the one at the show was on a revolving stand
and cordoned off. So for now watch this
I think for all of us,
another memory of the show will be the sheer numbers of people there. I’m sure
the London Show was not as packed as this. There were people everywhere. Heck,
I was scared of breathing in, in case there was no room for me to breathe out
again! God the place was heaving and nowhere more so than the MINI stand. The
cars must be well built though, as those seats had more bums in and out of them
and the doors opened and closed more times, than the average car would have in
a 100 year life span!
Tired and leg weary, we all
headed for our regroup point just before the exit to the show, most of us worn
out and weary long before 4.30! We waited and waited for Elliott and Andy and
at 4.35 gave up and exited the show where we immediately found them waiting for
us! Peanut assures me that I don’t look too silly with all the knuckles on my
left hand chewed off! Anyway we walked through the Parisian sunshine back to
our cars to head for
As we walked over we passed
an Internet café and dashed in to play The
Newminiseverns Daily Quiz. There were no questions on Coronation Street this time, so 10 out of 10 in forty seconds
ensured us of victory – and better still Paul, armed with his laptop and wifi
access in his hotel forgot to play! We
all gathered in the lobby and waited while Elliott decided that now was a good
time to talk to Orange Customer Services about why his mobile would not work
abroad. Hungry tummies rumbled but not so loud that Elliott could hear – our
tummies were far too polite for that!
Before this though I got a
few recommendations from the rather attractive French mademoiselle at our hotel reception, who was also able to suggest
where we should eat! A good night in a reasonably priced pizzeria, three doors
down from our hotel, ensued. We all went to bed pretty tired that night but
full of dreams of MINIS and nights in
We were all ready and revving at 9.05 on Sunday morning – well except for Elliott who wasn’t taking his car into Paris, as they were staying a few extra days so was hitching a lift with us but realised his wallet was in his car and he needed it. Was I sensing a pattern here? I don’t know but I sensed a Meldrewian moment coming on as we all hung around waiting for him but heck he is such a lovely fellow, that I just smiled stoically when he turned up and kept my lecture entitled The Return of National Service for another day. Could the Beastmaster be chilling out? Nah Heaven forbid!
So anyway at 9.30 (typed
with heavy presses of the keys) we all drove off to The Eiffel Tower. We really
did rather well with this and drove straight there with unbelievable ease and
managed to park in a street about 800 yards from the tower and in full glorious
view of it. We got a good picture of the minis from the top of the tower too! I
had been up the tower a few times before but never by the stairs! I have to
say, I’m glad we did it that way though as it felt more real somehow.
For some though it was their
first time! Matrog fell by the way side at the first stage and would go no
further. Fortunately for him, he had been telling me at the last MiniAddiction
pub meet about his genuine dislike of heights, so I was actually able to be
quite understanding about this and never gave him a hard time. Still renamed
him “The Nearly Man” though! Minisoopercooper however, had not discussed a fear
of heights with me at any time in the recent past, so we dragged him to the top
kicking and screaming and showed no mercy along the way, as we discussed in
lurid detail how people could jump off if they wanted to! Credit to the man he
made it to the top and that is why he is Leader of The Newminiseverns!
It was a gorgeous sunny day
– just right for
Finally, it was time to head
for home so we said our goodbyes to the young Byron in our midst - Elliott - and
his pal Andy and headed off for
The weekend was fun, the new MINI was exciting to see and the gang on the trip were as great a bunch of people as I could ever hope to have putting up with me! On the ferry back I was browsing through some French tour guides - Le Weekender Francais 2007 is being planned as I write!
Beastmaster October 2006