lost places

Lost Places | Station Service Fermée

Flag FranceStation Service Fermée

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


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

Lost Places | Beheaded bodies, robbed carcasses and zombies

Flag FranceBeheaded bodies, robbed carcasses and zombies

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


Discovering 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 FranceStation Service Ouverte

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


Yesterdays’ 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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Rust in Peace | British Heritage in France

Flag FranceBritish Heritage in France

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


Well, 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 Germans in France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2010)

Rust in Peace | German Cars in France

Flag FranceGerman Cars in France

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


If 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. You might also have spotted a blue BMW E28 5-Series in the background. This one seemed to be in good shape. Gotta love those yellow fog lights 🙂

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

Rust in Peace | Italian Cars in France

Flag FranceItalians in France

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


After 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 | Mercedes-Benz W108

Flag FranceMercedes-Benz W108

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


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

Lost places | Biarritz, Château d’Ilbarritz

Flag FranceLost places | Biarritz, Château d’Ilbarritz

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


Biarritz, 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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Station Service Saint Priest de Gimel France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

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

Flag FranceStation Service abandonné en St. Priest-de-Gimel

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


Driving 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 du Haut Limousin France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2009)

Lost places | Station du Haut-Limousin

Flag FranceStation du Haut-Limousin

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace


In 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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2007 France Targon Commanderie templière de Montarouch | travel photography by Sebastian Motsch (2007)

Targon | Commanderie templière de Montarouch

Flag FranceCommandarie templière de Montarouch

Always taking the small backcountry roads instead of the Autoroute paid off again, as we would have never found the Commandarie templière de Montarouch. It is one of those hidden treasures that you’ll never find unless you go there on purpose or find it by chance.