OK, so it turns out that sitting on the Chunnel for an hour do wonders for a gearbox. It also allows me to practice my terrible French on every BMW specialist between Folkestone and Dijon trying to source an SMG pump on a 20 year-old car. But I did, and it turns out that despite finding myself heavily delayed for lunch in Reims, £2000 lighter, and now had a vehicle to embarrass some of my slighter better-heeled co-conspirators through the twisty bits.
I don’t recall where we stopped in (or near) Reims, but it is a beautiful part of the world and I’m pretty sure it’ll form part of one of the next Grand Tour Road Trip routes. We dined on chicken Milanese (French style) and chips (also French style) and resisted washing it all back with a couple of glasses of Vino Collapso. The French love their booze but we should note that drinking and driving even a teeny bit will land you in bigger trouble than back in blighty!
Anyway, down to Dijon for the first night and staying at the Grand Hotel La Cloche. Nice bar, decent breakfast, somewhere safe to park the motor and, inexplicably, a large pink gorilla. Wandered into town and the four of us were treated to a quintuplet of negronis, mine more powerful than turpentine-substitute (until I realised it needed stirring) followed by a brace of beers in an Irish Bar with live music…..if you’ve never heard Oasis covers sung with a strong gallic accent then head to Flannery’s on a Friday evening.