Coachlines - February 2024

28.02.24 Liveryman Martin Derrick

Coachmakers visit to Retromobile in Paris

Les Deux Magots on the Left Bank

Twenty Coachmakers and partners headed to Paris in early February to visit Retromobile – probably Europe’s most important classic car event – and enjoy the best of the French capital city’s culture, writes Liveryman Martin Derrick.

Piggy macaroons with coffee

Our base was the fine five-star Hotel Bel Ami in the upmarket St Germain des Prés district. From there, a short walk took us to Les Deux Magots, opened over 150 years ago, and the favourite hangout of famous artists and writers such as André Gide, Albert Camus, Oscar Wilde, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Ernest Hemingway. There we enjoyed Champagne and canapés before taking a short Metro ride for dinner at Au Pied de Cochon, yet another Parisien cultural and culinary marvel. A fine meal ended with coffee and the restaurant’s signature porcine petit fours.

MG Land Speed Record car headed the MG Centenary display

And so to Retromobile, covering three halls of the exhibition centre at the Porte de Versailles. It included two special displays, one of Paris-Dakkar vehicles and another organised by the British Motor Museum covering the centenary of MG. But the real stars of the show were some of the world’s most beautiful classics, too many to list. For any automotive lover, the annual Retromobile is an essential bucket-list show.

It’s not just cars

Our farewell dinner was held at the Michelin-starred Benoit restaurant, another Paris old-timer, having opened in 1912, where we dined in great style in a private upstairs room. Past Master Julian Leach welcomed Coachmakers and their guests and thanked on their behalf, Liverymen Nick Lyford and Simon Gurney who organised the trip magnificently. Happily, the duo are already planning next year’s Coachmakers overseas extravaganza. Watch this space.

The team enjoying dinner at Benoit

A lasting souvenir of a fantastic trip