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State Limousines of France

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State Limousine

France

The President of France can choose between several armoured versions of high-end French cars including the Citroën C6, Renault Vel Satis and Peugeot 607. These are traditionally provided by the manufacturers and different Presidents will have their own preference. For example, Nicolas Sarkozy prefers Renault, while Jacques Chirac was a Citroën fan, occasionally using his own long-wheelbase Citroën CX model.

For his inauguration parade in 2007, Sarkozy used the one-off Peugeot 607 Paladine model, a stretched limousine with landaulette body, originally built as a concept car in 2000. The model was brought out of storage for the occasion and updated with a new grille and lights to bring it in line with the 2004 re-style of the mainstream model. It has since been returned to Peugeot and, as it effectively remains a concept car in its fit and finish, will not become part of the Élysée fleet.

The most famous association between a President of France and a single model was that of Charles de Gaulle with the Citroën DS, as portrayed in the film, Day of the Jackal. The President was saved in two assassination attempts by French Algeria supporters by the car's unique ability to drive on three wheels and to keep running when more than one tyre is punctured.

For ceremonial occasions, the President also has access to two unique Citroën SM Présidentielle landaulette models,[1] created for President Georges Pompidou by the coachbuilder Henri Chapron. Based on the SM Opera, itself a special edition four-door convertible, these cars are still used for state occasions and military parades, when the open-top layout enables the President to stand in the back seat and survey the crowd. Built for an official visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972, the cars have a standard mechanical layout with the addition of a special gear for low-speed cruising. One of the these cars was also used by President François Mitterrand for the official opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994, when it accompanied the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI of Queen Elizabeth II. Number plates on these cars are standard French ones, although specially created for the model (2 PR 75 and 3 PR 75, '75' denoting the Paris region). Both are still maintained in working order, but are now rarely seen in use.

An international museum of official state cars also exists in France.[2]


Current

Peugeot 607 Paladine

Nicolas Sarkozy

Citroen C6

Nicolas Sarkozy

Renault Vel Satis

Nicolas Sarkozy

Previous

Renault Safrane Biturbo

Jacques Chirac

Citroen CX

Jacques Chirac and François Mitterrand

Peugeot 604

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

Citroen DS

Charles de Gaulle

Citroen Traction Avant

Charles de Gaulle

Photos

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