Paris-Deauville Rally -- Exhibition of vintage cars at the Place Vendôme on October 2, 2014!

A Jaguar at the Place Vendôme, the start of the annual Paris-Deauville Rally

The upcoming Chanel fashion show at the Grand Palais is creating a big buzz in Paris this week. Most of my friends are charging their camera batteries and strategizing about where to stand so that they can take the best photos of the fashionistas on Tuesday morning. Me? I'm looking forward to a different red letter day -- Thursday, the 2nd of October, to be precise. That's when the French Republican Guard will parade down the rue de Rivoli and arrive at the Place Vendôme at approximately 4:00 pm. The occasion is the free exhibition of the vintage automobiles participating in the 48th annual Paris-Deauville Rally.

French Republican Guard at the Place Vendôme for the Paris-Deauville Rally

In 2012, Jean-Pierre and Marie-Claire warmly welcomed me as a passenger in their Delage during the unforgettable trip from Versailles to Deauville. Luxuriating in the autumnal sunshine, I relaxed in the backseat, took photos and waved at the people we passed along the way.

My status took a unexpected turn in 2013 when I was promoted from passenger to navigator of Englishman James Ayres' 1964 Cadillac Coupé de Ville. With sweaty palms, I diligently studied the comprehensive route book that indicated every turn and curve in the road. It was going to be my job to get us from point A to point B, and I wasn't sure that I was up for the task. As James eased the blue car with its massive fins into the heavy morning traffic in front of the Château de Versailles, I felt a rush of adrenaline. We were on our way to Deauville!

A sweeping view of the Seine River - one of the highlights of the 2013 Paris-Deauville Rally

The old adage to focus on the journey and not the destination best describes the pleasures of participating in the Paris-Deauville Rally. Following little known byways, James and I passed Monet's house in Giverny and paused to admire sweeping vistas and historical sights along the way. By the time that we stopped for lunch at the Vaudreuil Golf Club restaurant, it seemed as if we were old friends. The silences in the car were companionable. James, an English "car guy" with a passion for Cadillacs, and I, an American who grew up traveling vast distances by car, both understood the intoxicating lure of the open road on a sublime fall day.

Don't miss the exhibition of the 2014 Paris-Deauville Rally automobiles at the Place Vendôme from 2:00-6:00 pm on Thursday, October 2. The rally, which is open to all pre-1945 automobiles and pre-1960 coupés et cabriolets, is one of the most well-known vintage car rallies in Europe. Organized by the French Automobile Club, the 2014 rally will feature Delage and Hotchkiss classic cars.

Please click on the highlighted words to see photos of the 2013 Paris-Deauville exhibition of vintage automobiles and the French Republican Guard at the Place Vendôme.

Leaving the Vaudreuil Golf Club during the Paris-Deauville Rally