jeudi 3 novembre 2022

The Presidential Travels of French President Charles De GAULLE - English Version


The  Presidential  Travels
of French President Charles De GAULLE

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(Sorry if there are errors in the meaning, word or verb of the expressions). 

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French General de GAULLE, who would become President of the French Republic in 1959 until 1969, loved to travel to the provinces and for the crowds to see him during presidential parades.


As soon as Paris was liberated, French General de GAULLE paraded on the Champs Elysées in August 1944 in a Renault Vivastella convertible.


He also travelled in a HORCH 830 for ceremonies.


You can find some very nice pictures of this HORCH 830 

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The outgoing President René COTY next to the new President Charles De GAULLE
in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace on board the Citroen 15/6 H CHAPRON
during the transfer of power on 08/01/59

The French General will use the Citroën 15/6 H Chapron that his predecessor, President René COTY had ordered, as a ceremonial car,


as here in Tourcoing in 1959.

It was also used during state visits, here with King Mohamed Zaher, Shah of Afghanistan during his visit to France in 1963


French President De GAULLE and his French Prime Minister POMPIDOU in a Citroën 15/6 H Chapron

For the review of the troops during the parades, French President de GAULLE also appreciated this Citroën 15/6 H Chapron, because it allowed him to stand up and be seen by the military and the crowd.


He also used it during trips to the provinces, until the end of his presidential term, as here during a trip to Rennes in January 1969.

The President of the Republic Charles de Gaulle returning to the Elysée
in Citroën 15/6 H FRANAY on 19/05/1968

He also used the other model ordered by French President René COTY, the Citroën 15/6 H FRANAY, as shown here on his arrival at the Elysée Presidential Palace on 19 May 1968.


From time to time, he will use the Renault Vivastella, as here in 1959, in Issoire.


The SIMCA V8 "Presidency" was also a car very much used by French President de GAULLE. We see it here in Le Havre on July 10, 1960,

or here, in Chambéry, in October 1960,

in Epinal in 1961,

or here again, in Avignon, on September 25, 1963.

It was also used during the visit of the American President John Fitzgerald KENNEDY in Paris on May 31, 1961


Even if it was smaller than the Lincoln Continental X100 of the American President, this one allowed the Parisians to see the young President JFK.

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The French General also accompanied him on board the Citroën 15/8 H Franay to Versailles on June 01, 1961.

To go quickly to the provinces, he used the plane, as here, during a visit to Auvergne on October 06, 1960.

Presidential trains also allowed him to travel during these trips, still on October 06, 1960, here in the station of St PRIEST, on the way to the TOUR DU PIN.

His car of preference for fast displacements was the Citroën DS, like this one, the same day of this visit in Auvergne.

The President of the Republic De Gaulle during a visit to the provinces on board a DS19

Indeed, some of them had a convertible top, as here during one of his trips in the provinces,

Or here, in Lorient in September 1960.

or here during a visit to Guadeloupe, March 22, 1963.

Journalist showing a bullet hole that could have hit the French General's wife.

It was in a Citroën DS19 that General de GAULLE and his wife were shot at during the "Petit Clamart" attack on August 22, 1962...

Bullet impacts on the DS19 which was targeted during the Petit Clamart Attack

With more than 150 bullets fired in the direction of the French General's car, not a single bullet hit the presidential couple, nor the driver and the aide-de-camp of the General, knowing that the car was not even armored...

Presidential DS 21 in front of the Grille du Coq where the Elysée Palace park is located

French President De GAULLE ordered a ceremonial car to replace the 15/6 H Franay model, the DS 21 Presidential.

It made its first runs in 1968.

  Citroën DS 21 Presidential during a 14 July, early 70's

With its gigantic dimensions of 6,53 meters long against 4,8 meters for the original DS21, it was little used, May 68 having passed by.

We can see that during his trips, a motorized escort surrounds the car of the French President of the Republic, as here, during a trip in province in 1960 around the SIMCA Presidency.


French President De GAULLE's trip to Quimper on 02/02/1969

This echoes an attack that took place in Marseille in 1934 against King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. You can find this story under this link.

 Citroën DS 19 during a visit in the provinces

Indeed, thanks to this escort, it creates a bubble of protection that allows the motorcyclists to prevent someone from approaching the presidential car while it is in motion...

Coupled with barriers and police along the procession, this prevents anyone from approaching the Presidential Convoy, as here in Toulouse on May 11, 1966.

One can see here a large motorized escort, during a descent of the French General de GAULLE on board of the Citroën 15/8 H Chapron, during a July 14 on the Champs Elysées in Paris.

During trips abroad, he used to ride in local official cars, as here, during his visit to Quebec in July 1967

or here in Italy in 1959.

As well as in African countries, as here in Congo in Brazzaville on August 24, 1958

or here in Abidjan on August 28, 1958.

For quick trips, French General de GAULLE also favored helicopters, as here, during a visit to Brittany in February 1969 over several days.


This means allowed the President to go quickly from city to city to multiply his appearances during the same day.

This helicopter service is still in action:

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We also remember this picture made famous with his return from Germany, from Baden Baden, on June 30, 1968, after the riots that had taken place in May of the same year...

During his funeral on November 12, 1970, French General Charles de GAULLE had specified in his will that he did not want a National Funeral.

His coffin was mounted on a tank, draped with a tricolor flag.

The tank left his property in Colombey les Deux Eglises, where he lived.

View from the back of the tank

The tank took the direction of the village church.

A huge crowd was present to pay a last tribute to this Great Man who marked France.

Last moment to greet the General...

A page of the History of France was turned...

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