Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Adventures in a Citroen 2CV Charleston

Chugging Around Europe In A Citroen 2CV Charleston

Citroen 2CV and other French symbols
We spent four months touring Europe in this car. We picked it up from Paris in October and returned it there in February. It didn't go much faster than 70 kilometres per hour which is about 40 mph. On the motorways the Porsches, Mercedes Benzes, Audis and BMWs passing us were just a blur. It had no radio. And really, we didn't need one. We shared a Sony Walkman. It was heated by opening a vent from the engine compartment. Supplemented with hats, gloves and scarves.


Classic Citroen 2CV Charleston

The Citroen 2CV Is The Most Fun Car Experience Ever

When my husband and I first made the decision to go traveling we explored our options for getting around. We had already decided not to take a tour as we wanted to make our own way and take our own time. We knew we would stay mainly in youth hostels so there would be plenty of opportunity to meet other travelers but by avoiding the tour group, six countries in seven days kind of traveling we intended to get a more authentic experience of the countries and regions we planned to visit.

We compared the tourist lease plan offered by the French car companies to traveling by Eurail pass and decided on having our own car for several reasons. Firstly it gave us total freedom of movement. If we liked the look of a village we could call in and see it. If we saw a sign to an interesting monument, church, vineyard, mushroom farm, cheese cave or whatever, we could go there. Also, although we were traveling pretty light the car would allow us to carry extra if we needed to. This meant that we could take food with us and stop by the side of the road and make lunch. Or we could buy a bottle of wine or some beer and be able to easily take it with us. We also found an unexpected additional benefit as we traveled further north. It got so cold that the boot (trunk) was like a refrigerator and kept the beer and wine nicely chilled and the food items fresh.

This is EXACTLY like the car we had driving around Europe in the winter of 1987/1988.
I, Ekki01 [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5

This Little Car Has Attitude!


Traveling In The Citroen 2CV

Having made the decision to travel by car, we just had to decide which car. Of course, our budget did have a lot to do with it. But ultimately we chose to go with the 2CV Charleston because it just looked like so much fun. And we weren’t disappointed. This is a car with a personality. This is the car the French call the ‘deux cheveux’ which means two horses. The Germans call it the ‘ente’ which means the ‘duck’! I think I prefer the french nick-name.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesonfink/13245858805/in/photolist-mbuukX-mbwzEa-mbzDndIt was a brave little car. We drove over 10,000km in four months from Paris north through Germany, across to Belgium, back through Germany, north to Denmark and Sweden. We reached Stockholm in November to learn that the people we were intending to visit lived a further 400km north in a place called Sundsvall. On seeing what we were travelling in, the friends of the family we stayed with suggested it might be time we turn south! After leaving Sweden, our little car returned us back through Denmark and Germany into Austria, Italy and Yugoslavia (as it was still known). At a place called Senj, a small coastal town, the winds were so strong we thought we would be blown off the road.

Two of a Kind - A Pair of Citroen 2CVs


Citroen 2CV 6 Charleston Burgundy/Black Model

Citroen 2CV 6 Charleston, dark red/black , Model Car, Ready-made, Welly 1:24

This is a great reminder of our European Escapade in a Citroen 2CV Charleston. I think I'll go add it to my Amazon wishlist.

No More Citroen 2CV

We returned to Europe five years later as a prelude to our return to Australia. After three and a half years living and working in London we had made the decision to return home but first there was more of Europe to see. We were looking forward to the opportunity to re-live our experience with the Citroen 2CV Charleston. Alas, when we investigated our options the Citroen 2CV was no longer among them so we settled for a rather boring AX-10. It was small and boring but not so boring that it didn't attract an opportunistic break-in snatch and grab during which we lost a small camera whilst doing our laundry in Perpignan in the south of France. Our love affair with the Citroen 2CV Charleston was now a memory!

Check out the Classic Citroen 2CV Race

Beautifully Restored Citroen 2CV


Would You Have Chosen This Form Of Travel? Do you have a Citroen 2CV story?


Bren Littlepage said...

Now I want a Citroen 2CV Charleston. I love the story and I love the car. Do they sell they anymore? Great story. I need to do that trip myself. Thanks for sharing.

Clara said...

I love these classic cars. They remind me of days gone by.

One Month In Italy