A Gentleman’s Journey, Day 3 – Sights set on Paris
My arrival into Paris on our third day started exactly as I’d expected it to: sitting in standstill traffic, two accidents up ahead and swarms of suicidal moped riders passing the voluptuous hips of the DB11 at a frightening pace. The last thing I expected was for a firefighter to jump out of his truck with a wide grin and give the DB11 a big thumb’s up before attending the three crashed cars on the outside lane — it was far from a textbook emergency response, but such is the power of the Aston.
While traffic is made more bearable by the DB11’s start-stop technology, offering the driver a chance to hear the glorious bark of the V12 countless times in a day, I was relieved to enter the city and glide across the cobbled streets, passing bountiful architecture as I made my way towards the Seine. Unfortunately, the relaxation was soon eradicated by more attacks on the Aston’s flanks from bikes, cars, and even pedestrians. Luckily, my first stop of the day promised much-needed tranquillity and enjoyment.
Expanding my cultural horizons further, I was given a private guided tour of the new Autophoto exhibition at the Fondation Cartier, and within moments of arriving, the stresses of the journey were forgotten. After viewing the racetrack-inspired staging of the gallery from the above library — a place I left quickly in fear of spending all my money on car-related books — I opted to set off on foot in search of coffee before my next appointment, a bittersweet one at that.
I’ve always known that a gentleman is never late, but I wasn’t aware that he’s often early, too. As I arrived at the Hackett London store, a debonair Jeremy Hackett was stood waiting to greet me, checking his watch (jokingly, I hoped). For me and the Aston, our time together was sadly over. My job was done.
A champagne flute quickly replaced the chunky Aston Martin key, and I resigned myself to the fact that the brown beauty was no longer commanded by my right foot, and that a far less glamorous return to London awaited me tomorrow. As a puff of Jeremy’s cigar smoke obscured my gaze of the DB11, I reflected on what was a satisfying journey. After all, it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
Photos: Robert Cooper for Classic Driver © 2017