Trip To Europe Pt. 2: France and Italy

    The second leg of my trip led to more sunshine, gorgeous landscapes, and even more cars! France and Italy were wildly different than the U.K., and not just because of the language. Cars are, and aren’t, as big of a deal there, it just depends where you are.

    Paris, France

    Paris was interesting. It’s a giant maze of old buildings that all look identical, museums, and parks. Clearly I stayed in the more touristy areas because it was my first time, but I noticed that no one really cared much about transportation, let alone sports cars. Everything was more or less within walking distance, and there wouldn’t be any room to drive anyways. I did spot a few gems while I was there but I’m sure all of the real exotics are downtown or on the outskirts.

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    One curious thing was that every taxi was a brand new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Beats our yellow cabs any day!

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    Maserati Ghibli – Paris, France

    Nice, France

    Pronounced “Nees”, this southern tip of France is as gorgeous as it is filled with cars; which is a lot. I would be lying if I said I didn’t just stand along the main strip and shoot cars driving by. However, since it is southern France, I had to scope out town as well. The sun stays out all day, there’s great hiking, secret waterfalls, and a giant sculpture carved into the side of a cliff. It basically feels like heaven… except for the beach. Nice is also famously known for its rocky beaches so if you want to go, make sure you bring your Crocs!

    Nice is also where I saw my second Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren but it was too far away before I got my camera out. It was even all chrome!

    *Side note: You can actually race along the harbor in the Mini Cooper and Rolls Royce photos if you play Forza Horizon 2!

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    Rolls Royce Wraith – Nice, France

    Florence, Italy

    Hey it’s Italy, right? Ferraris and Lamborghinis everywhere! Not quite. Florence is a super old city and you can’t even drive on all of the roads. One reason is because they are too narrow, and the other is that there are literally thousands of tourists in your way at any given time. Everywhere we went during the day felt like we were trying to leave the arena after a big concert. But don’t let that deter you, Florence has the originals of the originals of sculptures and artwork everywhere!

    As for cars, you got to keep your eyes out for rare classics. I ran into an original Fiat 500 Abarth, a pristine Alfa Romeo GT Junior, and my favorite spot of the entire trip, a rallied out Lancia Fulvia. It was a true garage find as I saw it sitting in someones garage along a back alley as we were walking to dinner. My only regret is that I only had my cell phone on me!

    Ironically, the only Ferraris I saw are when I wanted to try the novelty Firenze in Florence tourist trap. It was $200 but hey, it was a Ferrari 458 and I was in Italy. I had to drive it! Unfortunately, I was next in line to a very entitled family of Veruca Salts who just happened to run it into a bus. Oh well, saved me $200 bucks and put a smile on my face!

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    Lancia Fulvia – Florence, Italy

    And that concludes my amazing trip to Europe! If you have the itch for some adventure, and you happen to like cars as well, don’t hesitate to cross the Atlantic. On top of seeing cars you may only see in magazines, you also get a heavy dose of culture that you just can’t get anywhere else. I can’t wait to go back!

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    Chris Berke
    Chris Berke
    I am the founder and editor of Short Shift. My obsession with wanting to drive every car ever made me build a website so I could share my experiences with the world. I love cars, traveling, and my cats, Henry and Winston.


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