You'll never see Paris like this in real life: Watch French director Claude Lelouch phenomenal short masterpiece C'était un rendez-vous (English: It Was a Date) in its original version (1976), then in the new 360° version made by Ford.
The film shows an eight-minute high-speed drive through Paris in the early hours of an August Sunday morning (05:30hrs) -- August, when all Paris is in vacation --, accompanied by sounds of a high-revving engine, gear changes and squealing tyres. It starts in a tunnel of the Paris Périphérique at Porte Dauphine, with an on-board view from an unseen car exiting up on a slip road to Avenue Foch. Well-known landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra Garnier, and Place de la Concorde with its obelisk are passed, as well as the Champs-Élysées. Pedestrians are passed, pigeons sitting on the streets are scattered, red lights are ignored, one-way streets are driven up the wrong way, centre lines are crossed, the car drives on the pavement to avoid a trucks.
The car is never seen as the camera seems to be attached below the front bumper (judging from the relative positions of other cars, the visible headlight beam and the final shot when the car is parked in front of a kerb on Montmartre, with the famous Sacré-Cœur Basilica behind, and out of shot). Here, the driver gets out and embraces a young blonde woman as bells ring in the background, with the famous backdrop of Paris.
Shot in a single take, it is an example of cinéma-vérité. The length of the film was limited by the short capacity of the 1000 foot 35mm film reel, and filmed from a (supposedly) gyro-stabilised camera mounted on the bumper of a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9. A photo has surfaced that seems to reveal an Eclair cam-flex 35mm camera with a wide angle lens, and a typical "speed rail" hard mount—no gyros—on a Mercedes. This model, which could reach a top speed of 235 km/h (146 mph), was only available with a three-speed automatic transmission, yet one can hear gear changes up into fifth, as well as heel-and-toe down-shifting with a high-revving engine indicating speeds of well over 200 km/h. Calculations made by several independent groups showed that the car never exceeded 140 km/h (85 mph).
Lelouch himself claimed that the top speed achieved was somewhere between 230 km/h and 240 km/h. Lelouch claimed during a "making of" documentary that the soundtrack was dubbed with the sound of Lelouch's Ferrari 275GTB, which has a corresponding number of gears and a V-12 sound that is quite distinct from that of any V8, including the 6.9 litre V8 of the alleged Mercedes camera car.
A making-of-the-rendezvous documentary indicates that Lelouch himself was the driver, and that the car driven was the Mercedes, although the sound track is from a Ferrari. On the chosen course there were two people who knew to expect Lelouch. First there was Élie Chouraqui, his first assistant, who was posted with a walkie-talkie in the Rue de Rivoli, behind the archway exiting from the gardens of the Louvre palace, meaning to assist the driver at the only blind junction (archway); however, Lelouch has revealed that the radios failed, and if Chouraqui had tried to warn him of a pedestrian the message would not have been received.
Anyway, the traffic light at that junction showed green. The other person who knew about his arrival was Lelouch's girlfriend Gunilla Friden. He'd told her he'd arrive within ten minutes at the Sacré-Cœur and asked her to appear upon his arrival.
Watch the original 1976 version of Lelouch short film below, immediately followed by the new version offered by Ford in 360° - this time, driving the legendary Ford Mustang.