Last day for those staying on
Some have set off for home (including myself) but some stayed on for a couple of extra days. Pierre has done a lot of work to set up a mystery day out for these and our French friends.Gathered outside the Hotel.Pierre with trip notes.Maria checking them out.And they’re off!
We went back to Laon but leaving at the more leisurely time of 8.30 (!) but after the heavy night last night with our French Panther friends seemed quite hard work.
We all lined up outside the hotel and had a big convoy to Laon. This time everyone would be parked in the Town Centre but we managed to all park together below the ramparts.
We attended a briefing in the Town Hall. Speeches from the Mayor and various dignitaries.
Then a few prizes including one to the Panther Kallista Club (sic) for ‘the Best Club and Biggest Panther Attendance’. Not been to any of our Grand Gatherings then….
Champagne collected by Club Chair Val. Impressive collection of Classic Cars in the Town Hall square.
Picnic lunch with Panthers in the background:
Then at 2.30 we joined the Parade. A circuit of streets had been closed off and we all drove round it. Many photos have been taken of our cars in the past but this just blew them away. So many people photographing, cheering and waving round the 3 mile circuit. I knew a bit of how Lewis Hamilton feels on a victory lap!
After a couple of laps we were all waved out (is that how the Queen feels) but it took another lap to work out how to get off the closed circuit!
A couple of minor reliability hiccups (plug leads falling off and slight oil leaks) but we eventually got back to the hotel after a long day.
Then a last nights dinner with our French friends.
And a thank you speech from John Manuel, Google translated which they found hilarious (along with John’s ‘Ted Heath’ accent!)
Thanks again to Pierre and Val for a brilliant weekend. (but not finished yet)
In the evening we had a wonderful dinner with the French Panther owners.
Pierre set up this rolling presentation with everyones picture with their car.
When your car was on screen you had to stand up to cheers!
Then we had a group photo on the balcony with the Abbey in the background.
Excellent organisation from Val and Pierre
We set off early about 8am from the hotel in Soissons to the Parc Foch in Laon about 20 miles away.
We arrived in Laon to a very busy park to a reserved Panther area. Picked up our pack and goody bag- umbrella, plaque, posters maps and vouchers for sandwiches!
The theme of the event is Red & White, and many people wore these colours.
The sun wandered in and out but it kept dry. There were many cars on display- 761 cars registered for the event.
We did wonder where some of our group were. Unfortunately there is another Parc Foch 40 miles in the opposite direction and 4 cars went there following their sat nav… No names no pack drill…
About 10 we set off on a Tour on the local roads. A lot of work had gone into this with a full set of tulip diagrams, the cars split in 2 directions, we were on route B :
… and we only got lost 2 or 3 times!
We met in a park in Soissons for lunch
Some did the full route back to Laon where there was a pop concert but we retired to the hotel!
We all arrive in Soissons by various routes. As we left Mons we had waves, thumbs up and someone shouted ‘Bellissima!’ from a balcony.
The main group sailed from Dover to Calais this morning stopping in Bethune and had a car show in the main square
Meanwhile we drove through lots of rain from Mons. Good display of Panthers in the hotel car park:
And most importantly the car park is under cover!
Off the ferry and a night in Mons in BelgiumOutside the Hotel but they do have a secure car parkBeers in a square