Adventures in the marvellous Mini of doom!

Dave Smart

Off to Paris

I spent a bit of time in the hotel sorting out a hostel in Paris, after the experience in Rome there was no way I was going to another capital city without accommodation booked. I’d been using a couple of hostel booking websites and it appeared, on this occasion, that one of them was significantly cheaper than the other, so I booked a couple of nights, and was happy I’d saved a bit of money.

Smug with myself, I headed for Paris with the GPS set to avoid highways. There were a lot of bikes on the road with camping gear packed, which initially I couldn’t understand. As the ravages of the tour and driving seemed to be really taking their toll on me, I pulled up in an Aire and slept for about an hour.

As I set off again I saw signs for Magny Cours, so I headed there to have a look. All the bikes with camping gear made sense all of a sudden, there was superbike racing on and this seemed to be the start of qualifying for the weekend. After setting off again I noticed two or three power stations in the distance, with this being France, they were Nuclear, as I drove nearer there looked like a great photo opportunity close to one of the cooling towers.

I didn’t want to arrive in Paris too early on a Friday afternoon as I thought the Peripherique would be chaos so I took a slow meander North.
I arrived at the southern edge of the Peripherique about 6.30 and, whilst it was busy, it wasn’t too chaotic and a bit stop start, but generally flowing. Usually I would play the old lane hopping game, but as there were myriad mad motorcyclists I decided to keep in the one lane.

The motorcyclists zoomed everywhere seemingly believing that switching there hazard lights on would protect them from idiots like me. Once I got to the main road that would lead me to the hostel, progress ground to a halt, this was the part of Parisian driving I could live without.

Eventually I reached the hostel and abandoned the Mini outside to check in. I soon found out why one of the websites was much cheaper than the other, I had managed to book Monday and Tuesday, not Friday and Saturday. Bugger, all my smugness had been in vain. All wasn’t lost however as there had been a cancellation and I could have a bed for Friday and Saturday after all.

I managed to get parking for the Mini in the Holiday Inn Express next door and popped to my room for a speed sleep, after waking up and showering I decided against going out and popped to the bar for a beer instead, €5.40 for a beer, it would have been €6 if I hadn’t been a resident, this was going to be an expensive weekend.

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

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