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Funky Little French Cars

I started driving at 15 years old. Legally at 19. My sister wanted to see her secret boyfriend so as a bribe for not telling my parents, my sister would let me take her fancy car for joyrides around Malibu. Not only did I not have a driver’s license, I didn’t even have a permit. One time, when I was cruising around Point Dume in Malibu, I accidentally drove right past my parents. I was in such shock and so scared that I did not know what to do so I just waved and kept going. I remember seeing the reaction on their faces. Their mouths were open like little donut holes. The funny thing is that they waved back!

My second run-in with cars did not end so well. My father acquired a little vintage 911 Porsche when I was 17 years old. Still, I had no driver’s license. I might have had a permit but not a real driver’s license. My parents went out of town and entrusted the keys to our nanny, Amalia. Basically, at this point of my career of being a teenager, nothing was safe. Not the house, not the cars, not my sister’s clothes. Nothing. I was like the Tasmanian Devil. So, after some very convincing threats to the nanny about the livelihood of her future at our house, she eventually succumbed and gave me the keys to the Porsche. Like taking candy from a baby! Off I go in the Porsche with my best friend Jenny. We zoomed over Malibu Canyon insulting the speed limit and naturally get pulled over by a policeman. OMG, I was in so much trouble. The police impounded the car and I never saw it again. I guess as a condition my “probation” I was not allowed to get a driver’s license until I was 18 years old. I got lazy and didn’t really get it until I was 19.


So, when I got to France the first time my father’s friend let me drive his French Citroen Deux Cheveaux! He was unaware of my driving history. I was in heaven! Driving around the little roads of St. Tropez in that car was a thrill I will never forget. His Citroen was maroon and black. The top was a convertible and it peeled back like a little can of sardines. Loved it loved it loved it.


I love all the vintage cars around the south of France. The Citroen is my favorite. Here is a little history of the car that I found on Wikipedia. It’s kind of interesting:

 “The Citroën 2CV (French: "deux chevaux" i.e. "deux chevaux-vapeur" (lit. 'steam horses'), "two tax horsepower") is a front-engine, front wheel drive, air-cooled economy car introduced at the 1948 Paris Mondial de l'Automobile and manufactured by Citroën for model years 1948-1990 in a single four-door body style.


Conceived by Citroën Vice-President Paul Boulanger to help motorize the large number of farmers still using horses and carts in 1930s France. The 2CV featured a low purchase cost; simplicity of overall maintenance; an easily serviced air-cooled engine (originally offering 9hp); low fuel consumption; and an extremely long travel suspension offering a soft ride, often called "an umbrella on wheels.”
Manufactured in France between 1948 and 1989.

A 1953 technical review in Autocar described "the extraordinary ingenuity of this design, which is undoubtedly the most original since the Model T Ford". In 2011, The Globe and Mail called it a "car like no other." Noted automotive author L. J. K. Setright described the 2CV as "the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car”, calling it a car of "remorseless rationality."


I can’t imagine driving anything else when I move to the south of France. When am I moving to the south of France you ask, excitedly? Probably Never. Probably Never because I have already asked my husband 400 times and he looks at me like I am crazy and says, “Non.” Don’t worry, I have stamina and I won’t give up.

Check out the next two pictures. They are of my husband and his mother. I love their cars! My husband told me that his family drove all over France together in the summer. They would pack delicious picnic lunches and drive and drive and drive. What a wonderful life.

                                                                             A tout à l’heure!


  1. Last year we bought a home in Naples ..sorry, Florida…not Italy;( I said to my husband that I really wanted a Citroen , just like the ones I loved in France with the tuna tin top! I could just picture myself driving around with the lovely sun and my really cute cute car...But not to be…he had to get all chi chi American(even though we are Canadian) and bought a convertible German thing. blurghhhhh. SO not the same. MEN!

  2. Those last two photos are priiiicelesss. Doesn't the car in the first of them look like something that you would see pumping ganster walls in east LA or something? I love it! And David's locks in the second. Very nice.

    I think that I have told you that I don't know how to drive. When I was 15 we were living in York, PA and my Mom tried to teach me once but we ended up in a ditch (oup-la). After that I lived in Santa Cruz CA, NYC, Paris and Arles where I never needed to so...voila. I would like to learn but not with a French driving school as it is typically done here...although I realize there might be a book that could come out of it if I did.

    My favorite thing about the 2CV is that, because of the suspension, they were basically the first all terrain vehicle...and because everything is stripped down to its most basic, they last for forever! PS. Currently in Provence, the Renault wagon in the very first photo is à la mode...

  3. Those are such fun cars. I have always had a strange fascination with the soviet cars. Pretty much any of the communist made cars. Some of them were still made until pretty recently and they are the funniest little things. Like toys almost and so much fun to drive. It literally feels like you are driving a little tin toy.

    Jeromy @ Fiesta Kia