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    What do you get when you combine history with adventure? We got a unique experience in a place steeped in history when we took our faithful Jimny Jungle Green to visit the remains of the former American camp in Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt in Central Western France. Our little trip, however, was way more than a quick off-road drive: it was a fascinating journey into the past during which we traced the pathways of a bygone era.


    The camp, located in the remote French countryside, is full of mystery and memories of the Cold War. In 1951, the US acquired 170 hectares of land in Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt, about 20 km from the town of Tours. There they built a military camp, known as the Chinon Engineer Depot Hospital; in addition to the hospital, it included digs for military personnel, an air base and an ammunition depot.

    The hospital itself had 1,000 beds and was built to treat sick and wounded American troops.

    It was an important site for the US military operating in France during the Cold War. It closed in 1967 following a decision by Charles de Gaulle.

    A hospital and physiotherapy centre now occupies the site, the Centre Hospitalier du Chinonais, the buildings of the old American hospital having been renovated and refurbed.

    Aboard our Jimny, with its military green hue blending so naturally with the environment here, we ventured into this emotional and historical place.


    As we drove the dirt roads, the remains of the old camp gave a silent nod to a noisier time, to a place bustling with American soldiers. The first of the remains we saw were the guard posts dotted around the site, which really gives you an idea of the size of the camp (it runs for miles around). The buildings – foundations of former dormitories and headquarters – are in ruins.


    Our Jimny seemed at ease with its surroundings here. As we explored the ruins, we couldn’t help but imagine the vintage military vehicles that once drove along these very paths. It was as if our own vehicle had found its place within this history, connecting the past to the present. Our Jimny conducted itself impeccably! It negotiated the obstacles with ease, and we were able to enjoy the beautiful surrounding countryside. The Jimny Tourer is a true companion when it comes to exploration and adventure. Thanks to the sophisticated all-wheel drive system and specially calibrated 40 mm suspension kit, it can cope with many different terrains: gravel, mud, rocks or sand. The specially designed off-road tyres provide exceptional traction so you can tackle those obstacles – such as shallow water crossings – with poise and ease. Our Jimny ventured into the woods at the American camp with full confidence.


    Our drive through the remains of the former US camp in Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt was an incredibly enriching experience. This particular adventure reminded us that behind every remote corner lies a fascinating story waiting to be discovered. Our Jimny was a bridge between the past and the present, guiding us through our exploration, which awakened our curiosity and strengthened our connection to a history that shaped the world as we know it. Ultimately, whether you’re a history enthusiast, an adventurer or simply seeking different experiences, discovering new places and venturing into history in the off-road Jungle Green Jimny is one captivating way of pursuing your passions.

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