Épaves, so wrecks. Or are they estimating?

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Épaves, wrecks. Originally as a term from the shipping world, but now for us classic enthusiasts with a much more emotional charge. In France, all kinds of forgotten and abandoned cars and motorcycles also fall under the term. And on the internet you can completely get lost in that wonderful world of rusty oblivion.

In France, most carelessly abandoned garages along national and departmental roads, where the right to exist had disappeared due to the Autoroutes, have since been cleared. That was all European legislation. But France is a very large country with a lot of space and an infrastructure that will not be cleared of oblivion in the coming years.

There is a lot of space in France

On the French outskirts you will find entire abandoned villages, farms, barns. Even castles. Usually those are not the areas where a lot of exotic classics have driven, the chance that you will find a shed full of 100 + year-old agricultural equipment is greater than finding a Bugatti Royale. But you can still find everything there. Two years ago we had rented a house in the Limousin. We drove onto the access road to our home and I pointed my love to a shed behind the house "And there is always a wreck in it": a forgotten DS. And he was there. The landlord was a former primary school head who found the DS to be too expensive to maintain and use after his retirement.

Épaves, wrecks or treasures?

A conversation in a northern French pub with an almost toothless - and strongly tipsy - gray man resulted the next day in a neglected farm in the hinterlands where we found our gray man from the night before while dismantling a riot gun . Against the wall behind him were a lot of boxes with consumer electronics. An estimated 15-16 birthday girl made soothing noises to her infant. Empty pizza boxes were swinging everywhere.

The old gunmaker had to get started, but then he remembered that we had talked to him about old motorcycles. He ordered a thirty-year-old, meanwhile-looking, arrived man to empty the shed because 'these gentlemen wanted to see the old motorcycle'. We were allowed to help clear away. After two hours of digging and lugging, a rear light appeared. The engine turned out to be an excited but complete Benelli 'power egg'. The Italian was adopted for change, along with a somewhat lived-in trailer that also swung in the yard. We drove back four miles to pin, did a glass of wine with our new friends and we thought we had another great weekend.

But there are risks

We recently heard the story of a Dutchman who had taken his quest for French classics to a 'next level'. He sent his drone into the air to successfully spot all Épaves and / or wrecks that were not visible from the road.

On his last flight, his drone was above a farmyard. 'On camera' our classic enthusiast saw that someone came out of a barn, went in again and came out again. The man shrugged his gun and lifted the drone.

When visiting France, always keep in mind the local possession of weapons.

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