A Paris road trip in the Citroën C4 Grand SpaceTourer
We are just back from a family road trip to France and we had a fantastic time!
We were lucky to have been approached a little while back by Citroën with an opportunity to try out one of their cars for a few days. So we were delighted to road test the Citroën C4 Grand SpaceTourer on a drive over to Paris and back. We’ve had a Citroën family car before, an earlier version of this kind of MPV, so it was exciting to see all the updates! (This particular model had so many great features like hands free opening tailgate, keyless entry and start plus much more besides.)
As it is also the French car company’s centenary this year, we thought it would be great to visit their museum and look at how their cars had evolved through the last hundred years.
About the Citroën C4 Grand SpaceTourer
The model we had use of was a really smart, innovative and roomy 7 seater. This versatile car allows front passenger, second and third rows of seating to be folded down for transporting bulky loads. As a family of five, we left the two seats in the third row folded down, which gave us the advantage of extra boot room. Very handy with all our stuff… You can’t see it but there is actually a suitcase in there, too!
The car looks really good on the outside and in; it has a sleek silhouette and is very classy looking. I loved the combination of the neutral metallic paint colour contrasted with a dark grey interior. This is a spacious family car; we have 3 sons aged 17, 13 and 11 so it was great that they all had a comfortable amount of space in the rear seats for our long drive.
They loved the fact the car had a large panoramic sunroof with electric sliding blind. Air vents with fan assistance for rear passengers also went down well, so they could control the air flow in the back. There were handy tables for them to use and storage beneath their feet with two rear underfloor compartments.
For me in the front with the husband, visibility was great and we had plenty of leg room. We could charge our phones, stow cups of coffee etc. and there was no need to feel cluttered with belongings as not only did we have a deep glove compartment, but also a central storage box with sliding lid. This was useful for keeping change in for the toll roads, plus tissues and sweets for the journey.
I had been a bit anxious about the long drive, having ridiculously put my back out a few days before through sneezing! So imagine my delight when I realised the front seats had a lower back massage button. Oh bliss! It gave a gentle kneading just in the right spot when I needed it.
Driving to the Eurotunnel
When we first started planning our trip, we soon realised flights would have made it expensive. So although it made for a longer journey, driving down seemed a much more economical option – and in a modern, comfortable car the journey doesn’t seem so long.
We also broke up our trip from Manchester by staying overnight at the Holiday Inn Express, Folkestone (#gifted). It was really great as the hotel is literally a 5 minute drive to the Eurotunnel entrance. It’s the perfect spot to stop off, rest and recharge before your onward journey.
We got to the Eurotunnel with such ease the next morning that we were offered an earlier train. I thought there would be loads of traffic in August, but the system was really efficient and there were no hold ups with the shutle. It really couldn’t have been easier; if you’ve not used Eurotunnel before I would recommend it. There’s any easy booking system on the website and when you arrive you simply show your passports at passport control, drive onto the shuttle, relax and in 35 minutes you’re in France.
We booked a short stay option and specified our train times, both of which kept the cost down. We paid about £195 for our crossings, there and back. (If you stay for longer than 5 days or want to buy a flexi ticket which doesn’t specify set times, you’ll pay a bit more but have more flexibility.)
Of course there are petrol costs to budget for, but the C4 Grand SpaceTourer was very economical. (It was delivered to us with a full tank of petrol, then we topped it up with about £40 worth of fuel before we got to France. We only needed to fill it up once in France for the journey home.)
Driving in France
When driving in France, vehicles need to be carrying a high-visibility reflective jacket, a warning triangle and a breathalyser. You can buy kits online e.g. through the AA or go to Halfords. The number plate on the car already displayed GB badges (if yours doesn’t you can buy stick-on ones.) And don’t forget that France is an hour ahead of us and the cars drive on the opposite side of the road!
The car handled like a dream on our road trip. Responsive and great on the motorway with good all round visibility. My husband really liked the fact the wing mirrors had a blind spot monitoring system with an LED alert light that comes on to let you know when there is a car in your blind spot. I thought it was great to have a reversing camera, too. Overall, it really felt like a safe and reliable ride.
Once we arrived in France we headed straight down to our accommodation, which was about a 3 hour drive away (chosen due to its proximity to Disneyland Paris – you can read all our Disneyland Paris tips here.)
On our way back to Calais on the final day we stopped off en route to have a look around the Citroën Museum (or Conservatoire Citroën) in Aulnay-sous-Bois. I knew this would appeal to my boys – I think they were surprised to spot a car from one of the James Bond movies (For Your Eyes Only) amongst the huge range of vehicles.
Housing a really impressive collection of Citroën cars through the ages, it was interesting to see stunning early motors in absolutely pristine condition as well as quirky and futuristic concept cars. A must-see for any car enthusiasts if you’re ever in the area.
Do you suffer from travel sickness? My two younger sons and I do, from time to time. Usually it happens when we are reading or looking at our devices for a while. We normally take travel sickness pills, however this journey we all had a go at trying the innovative Seetroën glasses instead. If you haven’t seen them before, they look quite unusual – there’s no actual glass in them for a start! How they work is by tricking the eye with moving liquid in the rings around the eyes, which creates the impression of a steady horizon line. (I always knew to look at the horizon if possible when feeling motion sick, so it makes sense that this should work.) At the first hint of nausea, we popped the glasses on only for about ten or fifteen minutes and they lessened the effects of the travel sickness. (The time I needed to try them it was dusk, so I wasn’t sure if they would still work in low light, but I certainly felt better after wearing them!)
Massive thanks to Citroën UK for entrusting us with their fantastic car for our Paris road trip. We had a great time, made all the better by travelling in a comfy and luxurious modern family motor. If you are in the market for an MPV, this is one I would recommend you take a look at – it really ticks all the boxes.