Friday, September 24, 2010

Molsheim, France (Bugatti cars)

It was 6:30 PM when I arrived on the outskirts of Molsheim (population 10,000). I was hungry and still didn't know where I was spending the night. Lucky me comes upon a McDonald's. Funny story is that you always read about the French bashing American fast-food and in particular McDonald's. Yet, every McDonald's I visit in France is ALWAYS packed. Leaving McDonald's I glance across the road and see a huge fenced-in property with modernistic buildings. Normally, nosey me would find the entrance and take a look but, considering the time of day and I still had to cycle into town to find a hotel I stuck my camera through the openings in the metal fence and snapped photos. Continuing several hundred feet down the road I come across the chateau pictured below. A sign posted near the metal fence gives me the lowdown.

Mention the name Bugatti to a car enthusiast and watch their eyes light up. A buyer back in 1987 paid a cool $8.7 million for a 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe--the most ever paid for a car. In 1909 Ettore Bugatti (originally from Milan) settled in Molsheim, France (then part of Germany) and started his Bugatti factory. His cars scored over a thousand victories between 1924-1939 during Grand Prix car races such as Le Mans.

For a variety of reasons the company went kaput and in 1998 Volkswagen bought Bugatti. The first photo (with the modernistic buildings) is the assembly site for the Veyron---the fastest road legal production car in the world. If you're looking for a car with bling-bling and that'll be a babe magnet this will do the job. Prices START at $1.7 million. About 100 a year are assembled here. There are only 10 authorized sales dealerships in the USA with one being Symbolic Motor Car Company in La Jolla (7440 La Jolla Blvd.).

The spiffy-looking chateau in the second photo was built in 1857 and bought by Ettore Bugatti in 1929. Did he live there? Nope. This is where purchasers of Bugatti cars were invited as guests. Since 2001 it's been the head office for Bugatti.

A half mile down the road from Bugatti I come across the Bugatti Hotel and end up spending the night. It's modern, rooms are very small and nary a sight anywhere in the building of any Bugatti memorabilia. Couldn't figure out why this place was only sporting two stars (out of possible five). Turns out if they had a restaurant it would be a three star property.

Molsheim has a nice old town in the city center.

This was a Jesuit church (built 1615-1617).

Tower gate built in 14th century.

Too bad this woman didn't speak english as I'd have loved to have learn more about her collection of "things" mounted on the side of her house.

Storks in an enclosure. Hmmm, are they being rehabilitated or being fattened up for din-din?

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos and an interesting commentary. Thanks Paul