Here’s a shocking thought: Rich guys who belong to private clubs aren’t the most progressive people when it comes to being open to societal change. As an example, watch this video from Bloomberg which offers a rare look at the Automobile Club de France. The 126-year-old institution still doesn’t allow women to be members, and the group’s president, 74, has no plans to change that.
The Automobile Club de France occupies a huge building on the famous Place de la Concorde in Paris. Inside there is a library, auditorium dining rooms, bar, rooftop terrace and swimming pool.
The club has around 2,000 members with an average age of just under 55 years old. Bloomberg, the majority of members are not affiliated with the automotive industry. However, some people who work in the automotive industry are very powerful, like Renault CEO Luca de Meo and Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.
Technically, there is no rule that prohibits women from joining, but two existing members should support a woman wishing to join. It seems very unlikely. âI feel like three-quarters of our 2,000 or so members don’t want this to change, and I’m too Democrat to impose something they don’t want. We have other opportunities to meet women in Paris, âsaid Louis Desanges, president of the Automobile Club de France. Bloomberg.
Members’ wives have limited access to the club, including the ability to borrow books from the library and have lunch with friends. However, they cannot enter certain areas like the swimming pool.
The Automobile Club de France has no official powers within the French automotive world, but there are clearly lobbying powers by bringing together so many rich and powerful people in the industry. For example, Desanges is trying to exempt vintage cars from future emissions rules that could potentially ban them from driving in French cities, according to Bloomberg.