Rev up your summer holiday plans: France

Published: 19 May 2011

Peugeot Museum of Adventure, Sochaux

Museum website:
Address: Carrefour de l’Europe, 25600 Sochaux
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10.00am to 6.00pm
Admission: €8.00 (under-7s free)
Tours: Self-tour audio guide handset €2.50
Parking: Free outdoor parking in front of museum

Peugeot's home town museum takes in the entire breadth of Peugeot's 200 year history. It's an eclectic collection, with everything from pepper mills to cars, and whilst I didn't spot a kitchen sink, I did see a washing machine amongst the displays. That makes it a potentially more interesting destination for family members not sharing your enthusiasm for cars - but also means you don't get a comprehensive display of every Peugeot model. 

Highlights: The 405 T16 rally car, in both Paris-Dakar and Pike's Peak Hillclimb specification was a personal favourite. Of the road cars, Pininfarina's beautiful504 Coupe and Convertible from the 1970s were a nice surprise. Also, the vintage coffee grinders - sadly no longer made, but very cool. 

Road access:
 A36 Motorway, Exit 9 Sochaux – Between Besançon and Mulhouse
Take the train: Nearest station Montbeliard
Nearest airport: EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (BSL)
Regional tourism site: Montbeliard Tourism Office, Doubs Regional Tourism Office

Worth the journey? Essential for Peugeot fans, and a nice bonus location if you're visiting Mulhouse or Basel, but the Schlumpf Collection is the main automotive attraction in this region.

Schlumpf Collection

Museum website:
Address: 15 rue de l’épée, 68100 Mulhouse
Opening hours: 10.00am to 6.00pm
Admission: €10.50 (under-7s free)
Tours: Self-tour audio guide handset €2.50
Parking: Pay carpark adjecent to the museum

The Schlumpf brothers made their money from the wool trade, and ploughed it into a massive collection of vintage cars. Confiscated by the government after the Schlumpfs fled to Switzerland to avoid tax evasion charges and creditors, the collection and its home in the original Schlumpf wool factory has been expanded and is now run as the official national motor museum.

Highlights: The Bugattis are the main drawcard, as Ettore's road and racing cars were the Schlumpf brothers' obsession. But amongst my personal highlights were the Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar car (on loan from the Porsche Museum), Ferrari 250LM, a Citroen SM, several Gordini racing cars from the '50s and the Amilcar lightweight sports cars from the 1920s.

Road access: A36 Motorway, Exit Mulhouse Centre
Take the train: Nearest station Mulhouse
Nearest airport: Nearest airport EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (BSL)
Regional tourism sites: Tourism Mulhouse, Alsace Regional Tourism Office

Worth the journey? A definite must-see, even if you don't think vintage cars are your scene.

Other destinations in France

Unfortunately Renault and Citroen do not operate museums open to the public, although both marques maintain historic collections. 

If you find yourself stuck on the Champs Elysee in Paris with a shopaholic travel companion then all three of the major French brands maintain showrooms there, and host themed exhibits in addition to the soft-sell of brand marketing. Citroen's C_42 is at No. 42,  L'Atalier Renault is at No. 53, and Peugeot Avenue is at No. 136.