Hi folks, it's now a couple of months since we unveiled our plan to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the TVR Chimaera - and the 75th anniversary of TVR itself - by booking a chateau in France for a frankly unmissable, one-off party. And if you recall that unveiling and your interest was piqued, you may have been thinking it's high time for an update, so - drumroll - here it is.
Firstly, the chateau itself. The venue has shifted somewhat from our initial plan, with the chateau we have booked being located amid the winelands of Burgundy, and what a chateau it is, as you can see from the following pics:
This chateau offers a total of 23 bedrooms, spread over the chateau itself and the adjoining coach house, and we have arranged exclusive use of the entire complex. It has a heated outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, hot tub, no end of classically French interior spaces and parking for up to 30 TVRs. In short, it’s the ideal place for us to spend a few days relaxing and celebrating all things TVR
Now, while all this sounds rather tres bien, I’m sure the more geographically minded of you will be mulling over the fact that Burgundy is somewhat removed from our original destination of Cognac. However, this is actually a bit of a bonus, as it allows for a rather more interesting route to be taken to and from the chateau. So, here’s the new Chimaera Jubilee itinerary, for those travelling from the UK:
Saturday 14th May – we will be leaving via the Channel Tunnel in the morning, and heading south towards our overnight stop at Epernay, with potential stopping-off points being the First World War memorial of Vimy Ridge, the preserved F1 track of Reims-Gueux, or la Musee Automobile in Reims itself. South of Reims, we’ll be following a flowing route through France’s famous champagne country to its most celebrated champagne town – Epernay. Because if we’re going to celebrate the Chimaera’s anniversary in style, we’ll need champagne, right? And Epernay is basically the ground zero of champagne, with our first night being spent a short distance from the delectably-named Avenue de Champagne, famously referred to by none other than Winston Churchill as ‘the most drinkable street in the world’. And let’s face it, he’d know, wouldn't he?
Sunday 15th May – Day two begins in champagne country and ends in the land of burgundy. Before hitting the road to the overnight stop in Dijon, there will be the option to tour one of the many vineyards around Epernay, which include Moet – where if you’re feeling flush, you can buy a 3l bottle of super-premium Dom Perignon for only 2,100 euros - and Mercier, where you’ll find yourself 30 metres underground, touring the extensive wine cellars in a laser guided train. But don’t hang around too long, as you’ll be wanting to spend some time in Dijon too, and not just to buy some mustard. No, the city’s well preserved historic centre will certainly warrant more than a few hours of your time, as will its restaurants, museums and cathedral.
Monday 16th to Thursday 19th May – The morning of day three can only mean one thing – Chateau time! But en-route, as we roll down the Route de Grande Crus towards Beaune, there’s a specialist artisan cheese shop which will be worth a visit, and it would be rude to ignore the wineries around Beaune too, as let’s face it, cheese and wine is the logical way to celebrate our arrival at the chateau. And with our delicacies bought, we’ll roll on through the castle gates, park our twenty-plus TVRs in the grounds, and get on with the serious business of celebrating.
During our time at the chateau, breakfast will be served daily, and various options for an evening meal will also be provided, which will provisionally be a local French cook for one evening, a pizza chef for another, and a BBQ garden party for our last night, when we pop open the champagne we bought in Epernay and hold the big, bunting-dappled celebration. During the day, how you spend the time will be up to you – you can relax at the chateau, explore the local villages, or tour the vineyards close by. It’s up to you, though we’ll be providing plenty of suggestions as how best to spend your time in the area. And likewise, if you’d rather forego the evening meals at the chateau and head out to a restaurant, that’s obviously fine. Our stay will be all about flexibility.
Thursday 19th May – after breakfast, we’ll be leaving the chateau to head towards our next stop, where a chateau on a rather different scale lurks – Fontainebleau, whose palace-chateau is one of the largest in France. And naturally, our hotel will be almost within sight of this historic residence. How you get to the evening stop is up to you – either take the direct route and maximise your time exploring Fontainebleau or alternatively, follow the scenic route I’ve put together which passes through cute little villages such as Vesulay and Avallon, and takes in not only another chateau – this one housing the world’s largest collection of barn find cars – but also offers a potential detour to the village of ‘Orgy’, if that appeals more.
Friday 20th May – Once again, there’s some flexibility in the plan. From Fontainebleau to the Channel Tunnel is just under four hours of driving. So, you can either smash it out and get home in good time, or take it more gently, perhaps going for a stoll in the beautiful Foret de Fontainebleau in the morning, or stopping off at the French Air and Space Museum on the run north. Just like the day before, I’ll be providing several different options for how to spend the day’s drive, and it will be up to you to choose the one which appeals most.
So, that’s the itinerary for the Chimaera Jubilee, and I'm sure you'll agree that if you own a TVR - any TVR - it has the air of an unmissable, one-off event. If you're tempted to join the fun, get in touch by dropping an email to Ben@pub2pubadventures.com . Standard entry is £1,200, which covers a room in the chateau, all en-route accommodation, channel crossings, a wine tasting on arrival at the chateau, breakfast every morning and catering for the celebration garden BBQ party while we're there, while cheaper options are available for accommodation in the chateau's coach house, and for those already on the continent.
Rooms are going on a first come, first served basis, so don't wait around if you want to be part of this Burgundy extravaganza - trust us, you won't regret it.