To celebrate the centenary of the marque MG, the MGCC-UK decided on a year of festivities between 1st June 2023 and 30th June 2024. The MG Club de France that organizes «MG DAYs» every two years, a meeting open to members and MG enthusiasts, scheduled the MG Days for 100 years of MG from June 1st to 4th.
With 324 MG cars registered, they could count on models of all generations and an excellent representation of the pre-war ones: the K3 ex-Prince Bira, a WA Drophead coupe, two SA including a Tickford and the L2, M, C, J2, PA, PB, NA, NB, VA, TA.
The other MG generations were also present: YA, T Series (TB, TC, TD, TF), Magnette ZA, MGA in all versions, MGB convertible or GT in 4 cylinders and V8, MGC, MG1100, a rare Metro 6R4, RV8, MGF and TF, ZT and ZT-TT.
Numerically speaking, the attendance podium was filled with the MGB in 1st, the MGA in 2nd and the MGTF (2000s) in 3rd place.
In terms of countries represented, France dominated, but there were also teams from Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Portugal and even Australia!
Once we arrived at Orly airport, it was time to get the cars, which were transported there by closed truck, and head to Épernay for accommodation. The Member Domingos Faria in his MGB pull-handle traveled with his wife and I in the MGTF160 gained the company of Catarina, the couple's daughter. By a happy coincidence I found my apartment very close to their hotel, which made logistics easier and gave me more security when parking the car.
DAY 1 - THURSDAY - JUNE 1ST
We knew that the place to welcome the participants in the afternoon would be the o Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte*, but Domingos Faria, knowing that our Member Victor Rodrigues was already staying in AY, went to have breakfast with him and they soon arranged a visit to the Henri Goutorbe Champagne Cellars, who also owned the hotel where he was staying.
At the reception of the participants, we received the souvenirs, shopped at the Boutique, visited the production site of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne, tasted the Reserve Exclusive Brut and on the way to the panoramic room, we passed by the MG Exhibition "The Centenary". At the end of the dinner we gave a trophy of thanks to Bernard Casters who, voluntarily, helped the MGCF with registration, billing, reception and follow-up of participants.
*Henri Macquart founded the Centre Vinicole de la Champagne and Nicolas Feuillatte sold his brand to the Centre in 1986. Terroirs & Vignerons de Champagne, which produces the Nicolas Feuillatte brand, resulted from the merger between the Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte and the Coopérative Regionale des Vins de Champagne at the end of 2021.
This group represents 5,000 winegrowers and 3,000 hectares, i.e. 9% of the area of the Champagne appellation. It has a production potential of 24.5 million bottles and aims to reach 5% of the market share by volume, in 2026, and is the youngest of the great Maisons, which is already among the 3 largest operators of Champagne.
DAY 2 - FRIDAY - JUNE 2ND
The 175km «Reims Mountains» Rally
he route, guided by the road-book, from the Millesium park showed us large expanses of vineyards with stunning landscapes, justifying the fact that the Champagne region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lunch was served outdoors at the former Circuit Automobile de Reims-Gueux* which had its heyday in the 1950s. After the meal, the participants were taken by bus to the Cathedral or the Automobile Museum of Reims according to the chosen visit option.
Back on the road, we went in search of the Canard-Duchêne Champagne Cellars** which surprised us by the maintenance of the sabring ritual that is its signature and an expression of its character. The practice dates back to the cavalry regiments and in particular the famous hussars of the Napoleonic Guard, in which, on their return from battles, the officers would break out the champagne with their weapons to glorify their victory.
On the way back to Épernay, it was suggested: a stop at the Phare de Verzenay which houses a Wine Museum, a tour through the Faux de Verzy*** and a special attention to the Château de Saran which was designed as a hunting lodge by Jean-Rémy Moët, in 1801, and is now owned by Bernard Arnault who is the chairman and CEO of the LVMH group, the world's largest luxury goods company. It is a family residence and not a hotel.
*The Reims-Gueux Circuit is a former Formula 1 circuit. It was used for the first time in 1926. In 1938, the Automobile Club de France used it for the Grand Prix de France. The first official Formula 1 race was runned there in 1950, and so until 1966. The circuit has been closed definitively in 1972.
**The Canard-Duchêne Champagne is unique in its origins, history and style. Its cellars have been based in Ludes, in the Montagne de Reims National Park, since 1868. The founders, Victor Canard and Léonie Duchêne, received from the Russian Imperial Family the right to use their coat of arms. The crowned two-headed eagle has thus appeared on every Canard-Duchêne label since the end of the 19th century.
*** A Fau of Verzy is either a dwarf beech (Fagus sylvatica variety tortuosa), or a dwarf oak tree or a dwarf chestnut tree. They are no more than 4 or 5 meters high. In summer, they spread their leaves like heavy sun umbrellas. In winter, their tortuous shape is more visible with trunks and branches that are crooked, bent, twisted and pendulous to the ground, whose origin is still obscure for botanists. With more than 1,000 dwarf beeches, the National Forest of Verzy is the world’s principal reserve of them.
DAY 3 – SATURDAY – JUNE 3RD
The 180km «Marne Valley» Rally
Just 5km after leaving the Pierre Gaspard park, we were advised to stop at the Church of Saint-Martin de Chavot which, built in 1108, is isolated in the middle of the vineyards, but high above the Cubry valley. A few kilometers ahead we passed the Château de Montmort which Victor Hugo described as a "delightful hustle and bustle of turrets of weather vanes, gables, skylights and fireplaces" and parked in Orbais to visit the Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul of Orbais, which was built in the early 13th century by the architect Jean d'Orbais, also responsible for Reims Cathedral.
After the Châteaux de Condé and Doultre, we arrived at the Champagne producer Jean-Louis Petit, in Chézy-sur-Marne, where we had lunch and met two compatriots.
As we drove through a region that was severely hit by the Germans during the 1st World War, the memorials follow one another, and our first stop was at the American Monument erected, by decision of the American authorities, on the site where fierce battles took place in July 1918, in the region of Château-Thierry. The American eagle on the monument’s east side bears the inscription: "Time will not dim the glory of their deeds" and below, a map shows the progress made by American forces during the Aisne-Marne Battle. The project was entrusted to the French-American architect Paul Cret.
In Dormans, the Memorial of the Battles of the Marne is a chapel that is one of the four national monuments dedicated to the 1st World War with Douaumont ossary (Meuse), notre-Dame de Lorette (Pas-de-Calais) and the Hartmannswillerkopf (or Vieil Armand) in the Vosges Mountains.
On the way back to Épernay we still passed by the statue of Eudes de Chatillon who, born in Chatillon-sur-Marne around 1022, was the 159th pope of the Catholic Church. He became known as Urbain II and was at the origin of the first crusade that took place on November 27, 1095.
The day ended with a Gala Dinner and live music at the Nicolas Feuillatte Centre.
DAY 4 - SUNDAY - JUNE 4TH
The so-called ephemeral exhibition of all MG vehicles present at the event took place on the Avenue de Champagne in Épernay.
Also considered a World Heritage Site, it is home to the most prestigious Champagne houses. Palaces and Mansions of Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, Boizel, de Venoge, Vranken, Pol Roger, Mercier, and G.H. Martel and other prestigious names can be found there. It has 110 kilometers of underground cellars that store more than 200 million bottles of Champagne.
From there, an extensive convoy headed for the final meal at the Nicolas Feuillatte Centre.
See more at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/q8fBktoWSnLUgEnw5