Paris (1): Retromobile


I spent a couple of days in Paris for the first time in 36 years. Last time I visited it was in February 1973, on our honeymoon. I visited it also in 1969 a year after the 1968 student revolts. For various reasons we decided to skip it ever since. In the meantime I had visited it on various business occasion, but when on business you actually don’t look at a city as you do when you spent some holidays. My conclusion now is that back in the late 60ies ans early seventies we didn’t have enough money to spent and stayed in the wrong districts. Especially the Montmartre district looks a bit seedy to stay in as it was seedy already in those days. But now we have decided that we will be back.

This time we stayed in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower (XVI), but more about that in later posts.

Paris is an excellent city for cultural travel. I believe Historic cars do belong to our cultural heritage, so traveling to see them is part of cultural travel.

Therefor I would like to tell a bit about my visit of the 34th Retromobile. According to the Historic car aficionados (several of my friends) it is a must see. One of the biggest shows in its sort in Europe.

The 2009 theme is very much on topic: New forms of Energy that are already more than one hundred years old:

Depending on the different periods, generations of inventors have imagined steam, petroleum gas, compressed air, alcohol, electricity or hybrid powered vehicles…

The twenty or so vehicles on exhibition, some which will be able to be driven all have one thing in common: they are the forerunners of clean energy vehicles of today!


Among the photos I made is the Jaimais Contente (never content):

The “Jamais Contente” (1899) is the star of Rétromobile’s 2009 poster

The ”Jamais Contente” was created by the engineer Camille Jenatzy and was an electric car which was in the shape of a torpedo on wheels. The bodywork was carried out by the coachbuilder Rothschild and was made of partinium, an alloy of laminated aluminum, tungsten and magnesium.


Mind you this car drove over 100 km / hr in 1899 on electricity!

It was the first French car to break the barrier of 100km/h, on 1 May 1899 in Achères (the Yvelines region, near Paris). Its characteristics were impressive: it had two electric engines which were placed at the back of the car behind its wheels, (Postel-Vinay ones), its maximum horsepower was 50kW (that is to say 67 hp), its power was provided by Fulmen batteries (80 pieces constitutingy nearly half of the vehicle’s total weight!). The “Jamais Contente” which is exhibited at Rétromobile is a replica which was made in 1992 and belongs to the Lions Club.

See for more photos of the show my Flickr set Retromoblie à Paris

3 thoughts on “Paris (1): Retromobile”

  1. Glad you enjoy your comeback in Paris, my hometown.
    When I go back from time to time to see family and friends, I feel like a tourist in Paris. I like walking down the Seine from Eiffel Tower all the way to Notre Dame. Lovely city.


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