Lost Places

Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | photography by Sebastian Motsch

Lost Places | Station Service abandonné in St. Priest-de-Gimel

Flag FranceDriving past this abandoned service station in 2007 sparked a memory. A long time ago, when I was a young boy, we used to take the same route between Clermand-Ferrand and Bordeaux. If I remember correctly, this station was still in service back then and we might even have stopped there to fill up.

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Station Service Ouverte France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Lost Places | Beheaded bodies, robbed carcasses and zombies

Flag FranceDiscovering a defunct service station displaying a sign saying Station Ouverte was already weird in its’ own right. The place looked like it had been left in a hurry and the proprietors haven’t returned since. Being the kind of person who is always keen to figure out what might have happened, I walked around the building and found… the carcass of a little vehicle the French call La Deuche.

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Station Service Ouverte France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Lost Places | Station Service Ouverte

Flag FranceYesterdays’ post featured a small service station that went out of business, but isn’t fenced off or has a sign saying so. The story today is different. You are looking at pictures of a substantially bigger service station that, for lack of a better word, is closed. Nonetheless, it does sport a sign saying: Station Ouverte.

To tell you the honest truth – this place looked like a film set straight out of a zombie movie! The lack of traffic, heavy clouds and a slight drizzle didn’t make it any more friendly or welcoming!

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Station Service Fermée Tuffé France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2014)

Lost Places | Station Service Fermée

Flag FranceThere are many reasons why I love France. One of them is the fact, that the French do not immediately dismount the pumps after a petrol station goes out of business. Instead they just display the lowest possible price on the signpost, call it a day and wander off to play a game of Pétanque with their friends, enjoying a glass of red wine.

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Rust in Peace British Heritage in France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Rust in Peace | British Heritage in France

Flag FranceWell, you have probably read the posts about the German and Italian vehicles found in a field in southern France. OK then, this post is about the British heritage fading away in the very same location. The Mini Mk1 and the Land Rover Series II look as if you could save them, albeit probably with a little more work than it looks at first sight.

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Rust in Peace Italians in France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Rust in Peace | Italians in France

Flag FranceAfter posting the German cars resting rusting in a field in southern France, Drive-by Snapshots brings you the Italian counterparts found at the same location: the proverbial sleeping beauties. In the first picture, a Lancia Beta Coupé and a Lancia Beta HPE are guarded by an angry looking Simca Aronde.

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Rust in Peace Germans in France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Rust in Peace | Germans in France

Flag FranceIf you have read the story about the star on a reasonably priced car, you already know how I found a field full of faded treasures in rural southern France.

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Mercedes-Benz 280 SE | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Mercedes-Benz W108 | A star on a reasonably priced car

Flag FranceOnce upon a time…
This is how most fairy tales begin. This is no fairy tale, though.

Once upon a time we traveled through France and my friend asked me whether or not I had seen the classic car behind a bush we just passed. I thought she wanted to fool me and kept driving all the way to… the next roundabout. This is what they have been invented for anyways. Turning around and driving back, all the way thinking about this (possibly nice) opportunity for a Drive-by Snapshot. Finding the bespoke classic car behind the bush was great – but discovering a whole field with literally dozens of classics, left me speechless.

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Berlin Dreilinden | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Lost Places | Berlin Dreilinden

Flag GermanyLiving in West Germany and having relatives in Berlin made it necessary to drive through German Democratic Republic (GDR) frequently. I remember sitting in the back seat of our Audi 200 as a young boy, waiting for endless hours in ridiculously long queues at the Drewitz border crossing. The round building and the service station always fascinated me. It marked the point where we re-entered familiar territory after the arduous Transit through the eastern part of Germany. Leaving the big city on the way home, it marked the point where we literally left our relatives behind and entered the Transit route once again. Fortunately those days are over, and Dreilinden now serves as a landmark that sparks memories of times long gone.

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Station Du Haut-Limousin | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Lost places | Station du Haut-Limousin

Flag FranceIn 2009 we found an abandoned service station, somewhere in the Haut-Limousin region of France. I quite like the old fashioned architectural approach and design. The service station and garage must have been very busy, at a time long gone and almost forgotten. Inside, it was completely empty. Thoughts of buying it bugged me and I couldn’t forget it for a long time. In 2013, I drove past it again – and didn’t even bother to stop and take a picture. It had been converted into a mattress store. Painted in awful colors, with ugly billboards and cheap advertising – destroying the vintage character of the building completely. It was really sad, to see it in such an unattractive condition. 🙁

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Biarritz Chateau d'Ilbarritz | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Lost places | Biarritz, Château d’Ilbarritz

Flag FranceBiarritz, France. A beautiful sunny and warm day in spring. I was driving around randomly, looking for interesting things to take pictures of. Finding the old Château d’Ilbarritz by chance, I hiked up the hill to have a closer look. Quite an impressive building, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Biarritz Golf Course. Peeking over the fence was rewarded by a nice surprise: two classic cars enjoying the early summer sunshine, completely undisturbed. An 02-Series BMW and a Renault R4, both early models with more chrome trim than the later models.

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Datsun 1200 GX | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2007)

Datsun 1200 GX | A vintage petrol pump with a matching car

Flag South AfricaIt just happens sometimes, that you are in the right spot at the right time. Imagine walking past a vintage Shell petrol pump that is blocked by a boring new car, thinking you mustn’t forget to take a picture of it on the way back. And as you walk back an hour later after a cup of baie lekker hot chocolate and a biscuit, there is a matching vehicle parked right next to it. In this case a yellow Datsun 1200 GX with beautiful patina. A couple of minutes later it was gone again. This really happened in Pilgrims Rest, back in 2007 – imagine the smile it put on my face! 🙂

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Modern Garage France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Modern’ Garage à Chalus

Flag FranceSeptember 2009. Late afternoon, somewhere in rural France. Running low on fuel, we were looking for a service station to fill up the trusty Mercedes. Eventually we found a station just before sunset – and right next to it one of those places that are well and truly lost in time. The overall impression didn’t really match the name of the place – Modern’ Garage. It might have been modern when the sign-writer painted the letters on the front wall decades ago. Peeking inside, we spotted a seemingly brand new Ford Escort Mk3 and many parts boxes of the same period. Around the back I found a Renault 5 Mk2, a pre-facelift Renault 21 and a Peugeot 403. I intended to take a few pictures, but a rather unfriendly dog reminded convinced me that I really wanted to cover many more kilometers before nightfall…

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