It’s good and pouring at 5am in Paris. Cobblestones are slick, traffic is already starting to back up. It will present a serious test to the Volvo S90’s Pilot Assist.
We leave from the Arc de Triomphe, one of Paris’ starring tourist attractions and a huge traffic circle.
Roy, a one-time resident of Paris, takes the morning shift through town.
Traffic, on this side of town at least, starts out light.
A look at one of Paris’ signature broad, treelined thoroughfares.
Onto the highway, into thunderstorms. Bad weather slows us down, the helping hand of Pilot Assist keeps Roy's spirits up.
Breaks in the clouds reveal France’s pastoral countryside. Castles come and go at freeway speed.
Our next glance of traffic comes in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. Our average speed creeps even lower when we hit Grenoble.
Cantle takes the wheel for the start of the record run in Vizille during a break in the clouds. The good weather doesn’t last.
With miles of historic and twisting tarmac, the Route Napoléon is handily one of the finest driving roads in the world—when the weather’s clear.
Even dodging thunderstorms, skirting the French Alps at speed is unimprovable.
We reach Golfe-Juan, between Antibes and Cannes. It was here, in 1815, that Napoleon began his march to Paris, forging the path that would become the Route Napoleon.
Without the plaque marking the launch point for Napoleon’s departure to Vizielle and Paris, this little intersection wouldn’t be more remarkable than any other on the Côte d'Azur.
45-minutes east, through Nice and over French coastal roads, Monaco and it’s ritzy harbor are our final destination for the French leg of the trip.
It’s a gorgeous evening in Monaco.
The next day in Monaco is perfectly cloudless and warm as we prepare for our next endurance run in Spain.