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Visiting Reims


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#1 swaction

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 00:51

Hi All - I'm planning a trip from Sydney to Paris for the Paris Brest Paris bike race in August and though it would be a good opportunity to visit the old track at Reims... Does anyone have experience visiting this track of late?

I've played the track on GPL and thought a little nostalgia could be on the cards since I'd be "in the area" so to speak =)

Any info would be great!

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#2 Barry Boor

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 06:00

This has been touched upon several times in other threads but in general terms, there is much to see at Reims.

Particularly in the pit area where the old boxes are still standing, and indeed are in the process of being painted up beautifully. You can get into the concrete grandstands and sit and let your mind wander back 40 years....

The Andre Lambert time-keeper's box still stands, too - or at least, it did this time last year when I was there.

Regarding the actual curcuit, the news is not so good. The first, fast corner now has a roundabout.... The run up to Muizon is now blocked off and the Thillois Straight is pretty unrecognisable due to road 'improvements'. Finally, there is also a roundabout at the Thillois hairpin.

BUT, well worth a visit for the pit area alone.

#3 Flynnie

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 06:45

I believe the run up to Muizon has now been dug up and reduced to farmland, and as said, all the fun bits are now roundabouts. The surviving part of the first incarnation of the circuit that ran into Gueux is still intact.

It's nice that the pits are being repainted, but I don't know why the French insist on bulldozing all their great old road circuits. Is there really that much of a problem with people getting into accidents on the old circuit? They bulldozed Rouen (even paving over the cobblestones at Nouveau Monde) and stick roundabouts all over Le Mans and Clermont Ferrand as well.

#4 Sharman

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 15:30

We haven't got any great old French circuits down here but the local authorities are having a great old time cutting down the plane trees, because the local youth leaves the disco pissed on Saturday nights and runs into them.

#5 Alan Cox

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 18:18

Personally, I disagree with most people in that I think it sad that the patina of the old buildings is lost now that they have been repainted. They were so evocative in their weather-worn state.

Have a look at an earlier thread..http://forums.atlasf...549#post2414549

#6 Hugewally

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 02:07

At least the old buildings are still standing.

I suppose one day they'll be gone too... :cry:

#7 Pils1989

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 03:22

I doubt it, JP Beltoise is strongly supporting its preservation in Paris from what I've heard and Alain Paqueraud, Head of the Circuit de Reims-Gueux preservation commity, is doing a good job I think. What I understood also is that Swaters is supporting it aswell.

#8 bradbury west

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 17:40

If you have time, go into the Charbonneux Museum in Reims, which has a fine collection of French cars, plus a range of other vehicles, trucks, promo vehicles and buses designed by the talented M Charbonneux.

There is also a brilliant collection of model cars, 1/18 sort of size and thereabouts, with a huge collection of model old Alfas.
Only a couple of Euros to get in and parking is good. Keep visiting or they will think no one is interested..................

Roger Lund.

#9 bradbury west

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 17:52

Originally posted by bradbury west
If you have time, go into the Charbonneux Museum in Reims, which has a fine collection of French cars, plus a range of other vehicles, trucks, promo vehicles and buses designed by the talented M Charbonneux.

There is also a brilliant collection of model cars, 1/18 sort of size and thereabouts, with a huge collection of model old Alfas.
Only a couple of Euros to get in and parking is good. Keep visiting or they will think no one is interested..................

Roger Lund.




Mea Culpa.

I realise now that I spelled the name of the owner and designer incorrectly. The owner/designer is Monsieur Herve Charbonneaux (sorry cannot do the accent) and not as I wrote it. Still well worth visiting IMHO

RL

#10 Tim Murray

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 05:08

It appears that inconsiderate behaviour by some previous visitors has led to the authorities banning people from stopping to look around the old circuit unless they’ve made appropriate advance arrangements with the relevant organisation:

https://www.hagerty....v7vU26HBNSTx0l8

#11 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 07:31

I believe the run up to Muizon has now been dug up and reduced to farmland, and as said, all the fun bits are now roundabouts. The surviving part of the first incarnation of the circuit that ran into Gueux is still intact.

It's nice that the pits are being repainted, but I don't know why the French insist on bulldozing all their great old road circuits. Is there really that much of a problem with people getting into accidents on the old circuit? They bulldozed Rouen (even paving over the cobblestones at Nouveau Monde) and stick roundabouts all over Le Mans and Clermont Ferrand as well.

IF they are public roads they have to keep up with modern standards.And traffic loads.

I have seen the pit area recently on TV and it seems a local group is doing the work. So glad to see that saved.



#12 Glengavel

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 08:24

Interesting to read the earlier posts complaining that the repainted signage takes away from the atmosphere. Comparing the earliest (2008) and most recent (2020) Google Streetview indicates that the signs and paintwork have weathered quite noticeably.

 

Wish I'd squeezed in a visit when we were in Reims a few years ago, but we were pressed for time and I don't think Mme Glengavel would have given up a tour of the champagne country for a visit to a dusty old pits complex.  :(


Edited by Glengavel, 12 April 2022 - 08:28.


#13 Michael Ferner

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 09:33

(...) but we were pressed for time and I don't think Mme Glengavel would have given up a tour of the champagne country for a visit to a dusty old pits complex.  :(

 

Strange people, those women...



#14 john winfield

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 12:06

It appears that inconsiderate behaviour by some previous visitors has led to the authorities banning people from stopping to look around the old circuit unless they’ve made appropriate advance arrangements with the relevant organisation:

https://www.hagerty....v7vU26HBNSTx0l8

 

This is very sad. The last four times I've dropped in it's been fairly quiet, nobody causing any problems but, seeing this photo in the local paper l'Union, the new restrictions are understandable. 

 

https://abonne.lunio...5029.1649763775

 

It seems that you can still drive along what remains of the circuit so, in the meantime, perhaps park up somewhere locally and put your walking boots on! Gueux village is pleasant, with a shop, a baker and a bar, and there's a small parking area by the pond, looking across at the church whose spire could often be seen in shots of the first corner taken from the bridge. And, as the article Tim posted says, Fridays look a good bet for access.



#15 68targa

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 13:49

Interesting to read the earlier posts complaining that the repainted signage takes away from the atmosphere. Comparing the earliest (2008) and most recent (2020) Google Streetview indicates that the signs and paintwork have weathered quite noticeably.

 

Wish I'd squeezed in a visit when we were in Reims a few years ago, but we were pressed for time and I don't think Mme Glengavel would have given up a tour of the champagne country for a visit to a dusty old pits complex.  :(

 

c1985 - The tribunes were starting to get lost in the vegetation but the pits had a certain ghostly charm about them which the newly painted restoration lacks - maybe they should have left the rust on the windows !

 

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#16 Bikr7549

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 14:40

I was there in 2014 and the condition of all the structures appeared to be in very nice shape. Better that they renovate them I think than let them decay and then be taken down. It was awesome to sit in the pits for awhile.

#17 9203RW

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 14:55

It's three or four years since I last went to Reims, but what struck me then was the excellent work of the local enthusiasts in conserving the pits and grandstand buildings; certainly compared to their state about twenty years ago when, if the deterioration then evident had continued, would inevitably have resulted in the structures collapsing.  As well as the main buildings, there were still some ticket offices or turnstiles to the east of the main grandstand, and you could walk through what had been the main paddock area and almost feel the ghosts of teams that had been based there.  Such a pleasant contrast with Rouen, where there is so little evidence of its history - but at least the cobbles at Nouveau Monde were still there last time I tried to re-trace that circuit.



#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 April 2022 - 21:55

The top part of Rouen has been destroyed, it's true...

 

And the local tourist information people know nothing about motor racing ever having taken place there.

 

But the cobblestones...

 

0621-17-cobblestones.jpg

 

...survive. I thought they were a fine reminder of Dan's wins.



#19 MCS

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Posted 13 April 2022 - 12:09

Interesting.  They were covered over with tarmac when the demolition was in "progress" - are the cobblestones now re-appearing?   It looks like it. 

 

When was your picture taken, Ray?



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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 April 2022 - 12:40

June, 2016...

 

At that time there were bollards down through the 'Six Freres' sweeps, which Google Earth Street View (from 2021) shows as still being there. It also shows that the cobblestones are as I saw them, some areas paved over, some exposed again.



#21 MCS

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Posted 13 April 2022 - 17:16

Thanks Ray.  I have to admit to being very saddened by the destruction of Rouen, but Reims is a different story of course.  I have very similar pictures of the pits and the Raymond Sommer tribune opposite from the mid-eighties.  The restoration was a bit severe to my mind initially, but it looks like the passage of time has provided some relief as it were.

 

Hopefully I will go back one day. 

 

Slightly off topic, but still in France, I remember being in Pau once upon a time - not for the racing - and was delighted to see the Tourist Office proudly showing a history film of their street race.  Distinctly remember images of Jack Brabham and the recently sadly departed Reine Wisell after he won the F2 race in 1971.

 

Somewhere on TNF is a marvellous thread that Roger Clark and Barry Boor produced after their "circuit holiday trip" around France many moons ago, but I can't find it.



#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 April 2022 - 22:51

Give Tim a minute or two...

 

He'll surely post up a link.

 

Our parallel to the camouflaging of Rouen is Longford, though it goes further. Perhaps Rouen's 'destruction' combined with the road changes at Reims.



#23 john aston

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 06:00

We visited years ago , en route to Alsace I think , and loved it. There was that haunting , ghostly feel which disused  aerodromes and race circuits always have and even Joanne (whose interest in motorsport is microscopic ) was fascinated by the old stands and pits. But things have changed ,and now that self declared  petrolheads have discovered a taste for (retch ) 'road trips ' in convoy , so they can star in their own social media feed we see more and more anti-social  behaviour and appalling behaviour . It has ruined NW Scotland, where I've been going for 40 years - on empty roads until the bloody North Coast 500 turned it into a (retch again ) bucket list trip.   



#24 BRG

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Posted 14 April 2022 - 18:19

I visited the Reims track early on a misty February morning, en route to a ski holiday.  It was deserted and extremely atmospheric.  Well worth a brief visit if you are passing through Reims on the autoroute.  A pity about the parking controls but that is inevitable if it become too popular.  At least it means people are taking an interest in the history of the sport.