France has a rich automotive history, not just as the home of some of the most celebrated manufacturers and innovators of the earliest age of the automobile, but also in the development of modern roads, motorsport and appreciation of the car as a vehicle for deep societal change. From early Grand Prix to the ‘Systéme Panhard’ that set the template for internal combustion-powered cars for the best part of a century, the French were early leaders in the automotive world. Indeed, even the Michelin star grading system was designed to inspire early motorists to get out and explore the country’s restaurants in a particularly French marriage of gastronomy and driving.
Of late it seems its famous home brands have rather got their mojo back, with a new-found confidence in design and engineering and growing industrial strength following the recent merger of PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to form the new Stellantis conglomerate. Here we celebrate the unique appeal of the latest crop of French cars and highlight some of our particular favourites.