The Angouleme Circuit des Remparts tour is one of our most popular motorsport tours.
Used once in 1939 for a circuit race for Grand Prix Cars and Formula Two voiturettes, the circuit had a length of 1287 metres, and was driven for 80 laps. This urban race track returned to use after World War 2 from 1947 to 1951 as part of the Formula 2 Championship, hosting events where famous drivers could be seen, such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Maurice Trintignant, Raymond Sommer, Robert Manzon, André Simon, and the like.
Today a successful historic festival event continues, held in September, gathering historic car enthusiasts for a series of races for classic and historic cars, on the original race track. It also features a Concours d’Elegance and a Concours of car restoration.
This year our group of 26 cars and 48 guests, most of whom had not experienced the event before, were in for the best year yet …
After meeting and greeting all our guests in the early evening in the ferry lanes at Portsmouth, we gathered on board for a delicious dinner together.
After a night cap or two, we retired to our cabins for the overnight crossing to St Malo.
Once disembarked on the Thursday morning, we drove the lovely D roads to the town of Vitre.
Vitre has a very attractive and extensive well-maintained old-town centre with lots of narrow streets lined with medieval cottages and is perhaps the most impressive medieval town in Brittany.
Our group gathered at the stunning Chateau de Vitre. This medieval fortress is one of the most beautiful citadels in France and it did not disappoint!
After exploring the castle, we took a short walk to L’Artisan Bistro Moderne for lunch. This lovely restaurant is nestled in the medieval cobbled streets.
We were treated to an outside BBQ which was a feast for the eyes and senses.
After our leisurely lunch, we set off for our first-night stay at the famous Hotel de France, La-Chartre-sur-le Loir, again experiencing stunning French countryside and villages along the way. After checking in, guests enjoyed a relaxing drink and sat outside the hotel admiring the variety of wonderful cars in the village square.
That evening we were treated to a wonderful 3-course dinner together and everyone took the opportunity to get to know their fellow tourers while soaking up the historic motorsport atmosphere of the hotel.
The following morning we gathered for breakfast and prepared to make our way to Angouleme for the next three nights.
Heading to our lunch stop in Lusac-Les-Chateau, some of the group enjoyed our optional coffee stop in La Louroux before meeting at Les Orangeries for a delicious French lunch on the terrace. The sun was shining, and the excitement was building as we were shortly to reach the town of Angouleme.
We arrived late afternoon at The Mercure Hotel which is positioned in the centre of Angouleme within easy walking distance of all the action.
Located on a plateau overlooking a meander of the river Charente, the city is nicknamed the “balcony of the southwest”. The view of which can be enjoyed from the gardens of our hotel.
After an early evening briefing to distribute rally packs, everyone was free to wander the town which was buzzing with cars and people, and enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants.
After a restful night, Saturday brought the excitement of rally day! Cars were prepped and polished and headed down to the start line. Our tour managers were there ready to capture photos of everyone as they set off. Our support vehicle was on hand for any mechanical issues throughout the day. The weather was gorgeous and the rally route the organisers had created this year was absolutely breathtaking. The rally took us through the landscapes that have made the Charente internationally famous and the detail in the rally book about the places we passed through really enhanced the experience. People lined the route everywhere we went smiling and waving as the 200 or so cars passed by.
The rally gathered for lunch at The Cognac-Chateaubernard Airbase, home to the Ecole de Pilotage de l’Armee de l’Air, the air force initial pilot training school.
On arrival, we sped along the runway to be parked up in front of the stunning marquee. To see all the cars on the rally together was a feast for the eyes and there were also static displays of military aircraft where you could chat to the pilots and ground crew.
We were treated to a private air display by two of the jet fighters before settling in the marquee for lunch. So many of our guests commented on what a fabulous rally it was and how on earth can the organisers top what they had delivered!
After lunch, we set off on the second leg of the rally returning to the hotel for a freshen up in time for dinner.
Saturday evening is always very special, the rally organisers put on La Soiree Des Halls, a gala buffet set in the huge covered marketplace across from our hotel. We have our own private hospitality area in the hall. We sampled the best of food and drink France can offer and enjoyed music and dancing until returning back to our hotel.
Sunday is race day! CGT had its own private marquee next to the paddock where you can enjoy light refreshments throughout the day. We enjoyed viewing the races from the cathedral grandstand on the start finish straight and wandering around the buzzing paddock. It’s a great place to sit in one of the outdoor cafes and watch the hustle and bustle explode around you with the roar of engines always not far away.
After an exciting day of motorsport, we gathered for dinner in the Mercure Hotel to share our stories and experiences of the past 5 days.
On Monday morning we headed home to catch the ferry from Caen and all took many fabulous memories with them. We can’t wait for next year!