Blog: Simon WarburtonChasing cars

Simon Warburton | 21 January 2011

News that the French Gendarmerie Nationale is to kit itself out with the rather sporty Megane RS model reminds me of a time I spent in the back of a Paris police car.

I hasten to add it wasn't my fault. I'd been er, done over by a group of ne'er-do-wells after taking the wrong fork in the Metro en route to Charles-de-Gaulle airport - not a mistake I'll be making again.

Anyway, after being involuntarily relieved of my passport, phone and work items, two gendarmes found me and asked incredulously what I was doing in such a tough neighbourhood - a stone's throw from the Stade de France.

Kindly they said they would take me to the airport after going to the station to give a statement - and sort out how I was going to get home without a passport - but as we were driving - a Peugeot 308 from recollection - the car in front jumped the lights leading our driver to put his siren on and give chase.

I held on avoiding the CS gas canister that was rolling about as the police Peugeot tore ahead - reflecting that 20min ago I should have checked in. After stopping the speedster and calling another patrol car, we went back to the station.

A few minutes after we were there, a fire engine roared up and several 'pompiers' dragged out some more individuals who were clearly not best pleased with the turn of events.

That will be - hopefully - my one and only experience of French police - although these were the smart, cap-wearing variety. At the Paris Motor Show last autumn, there must have been nearly 20 vans loaded with the CRS variety in their paramilitary uniforms as President Sarkozy arrived for a visit. Not to be messed with.


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