A leading independent operator from the Seine valley

75  YEARS   1946  -  2021 

Nota  -  Il s'agit d'un site d'archives historiques et ne contient pas de données actuelles

Pour les informations actuelles et les horaires de bus dans la Seine Maritime visitez le site regional NOMAD

For current information and bus timetables in Seine Maritime visit the regional website NOMAD

Today one of the leading coach operators in the department of Seine Maritime the business grew from more humble origins with just a few buses linking the home town of Lillebonne with the oil refineries at Port Jerome. This is a historic article focusing primarily on those early years.

Aujourd'hui un des principaux autocaristes du département de la Seine Maritime, l'entreprise s'est développée à partir d'origines plus modestes avec quelques bus reliant la ville natale de Lillebonne aux raffineries de Port Jérôme. Cet article historique se concentre sur ces premières années de jadis.

Now the leading coach and tourism operator in Normandie, sixty years ago this operator's main bus route linked the oil refineries of Port Jérôme (on the Seine not far upstream from the mouth of the river at Le Havre), through Notre Dame de Gravenchon to the hometown of Lillebonne.  Some journeys were extended further to the market town of Bolbec.  Between Lillebonne and Bolbec the area was known as the Golden Valley, a centre for the textile industry.  When I first visited the area in 1963, these services were heavily orientated towards workers transport, including shift buses for the round the clock three shift working at Port Jerome.   A ferry crossed the Seine to Quillebeuf from Port Jerome.

In 2006 the business celebrated its sixtieth anniversary.  Back in 1946 Henri Périer - owner of a garage at Gruchet-le-Valasse, near Bolbec - bought the business of Mr Moro (Cars Mors), ten kilometres away to the south in Lillebonne. Included in the transaction was a garage, a petrol station and three buses. He bought a fourth, and so operated two petrol-engined Isoblocs, and two diesel-engined Renaults. The principal route was Bolbec-Lillebonne-Notre Dame de Gravenchon and this route flourished as its customers included the employees of the new refineries built at Port Jérôme near Gravenchon in the 1930s (construction had started in 1931).  Cars Mors were in operation on the Port Jérôme route by 1934, probably earlier: twice a day from Le Havre and hourly from Lillebonne to Port Jérôme; Cars Fontaine of Le Havre were running shift buses from Le Havre via Tancarville to Port Jérôme -as shown in the Indicateur General of July-August 1935.

Two oil refineries were built as well as two separate housing districts that were established at Gravenchon: "Cité Standard" (for Esso employees) and "Cité Vacuum" (for Mobil Oil workers). During World War II, the refineries were partly destroyed in 1940 but rebuilt after 1945. Timings of the bus route had to accommodate twenty four hour shift working and a substantial traffic was transported to and from Lillebonne each day. 

In the post-war period, day excursions were very popular after the spartan wartime years, and included destinations like Etretat and the Mont St. Michel. Henri passed away in 1959, and the business was continued by his wife (veuve=widow=vve) Marie-Thérèse and future son-in-law Pierre Brème, who created the travel agency side of the business in 1964. Expansion also came through acquisitions – Aubin of Bolbec in 1976; Alcover of Le Havre in 1986 and Adrien of Bosc-Roger-en-Roumois near Elbeuf in the Eure in 1992.  Although the head office remains in Lillebonne, there are now also operating bases at Le Havre (opened in 1988) and Grand Quevilly, near Rouen (opened in 1995).

The current Chairman Dominique Périer is the son of the founder, and the management team includes his son Thomas and general manager Jean-Louis Wahart who joined the firm in 2000. Dominique’s sister Claudine has run the travel agencies Périer Voyages since 1976; in April 2014 this role passed to Anne-Sophie Lecarpentier, granddaughter of Marie-Thérèse Périer.

The 2014 fleet was 130 vehicles, including an 80 seater double deck and a restored 1959 Kassbohrer Setra S6 22-seater. The business activity is divided between coaching (about 40%), factory contracts for Renault, Total, Areva (another 40%), and scheduled bus routes and schools contracts (about 15%). 

Between my visit in March 1963 and a subsequent visit in October 2000 the original bus service had been very much reduced - by 2006 only two or three runs a day - but Cars Périer are now very much the leading coach operator in Haute-Normandie with travel agencies and a substantial fleet of modern luxury vehicles.  Currently, there are 8 travel agency offices (Périer Voyages).   But a change had taken place by September 2007  -  Cars Périer had won the contract from département of Seine-Maritime and had  taken over the operation of the routes traditionally operated by Cars Gris Arcangioli for many years between Fécamp and Bolbec; Fécamp and Le Havre via Goderville; and Fécamp and Le Havre via Etretat. Périer also operate the town service under contract in Notre Dame de Gravenchon.

The present limited company has a capital of 65,000 euros and dates from 1976.  For a family owned company it is impressively large, with 179 staff,  two subsidiary companies (Cars Périer Voyages and Société d’Exploitation des Cars Périer), and a 2005 turnover of 12.5 million euros. 2015 saw the opening of the first derestricted service lines on the Le Havre - Paris and Rouen - Paris axes in partnership with Flixbus France. In 2020 voluntary signing of the Objectif CO2 charter, commitings to reduce greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions. With growth this exemplary company has now in 2021 a fleet of 126 vehicles with 170 staff.

Update September 2007 - the operation of routes 17,  22,  23 and 24 had passed from their traditional operator Cars Gris of Fecamp to Cars Périer.  Route 25 to Yvetot is still operated by Keolis-Cars Gris, who have also taken over route 20 from Le Havre via Bolbec and Lillebonne to Caudebec-en-Caux (the western part of the former CNA through route from Le Havre to Rouen, severed into two halves at Caudebec some years ago).  Further update August 2011 - since 1st August, lines 17, 20 (Le Havre - Caudebec), 22, 23 and 24 are operated by Kéolis, Cars Périer and VTNI who decided to jointly share the tender result. In September 2016 the departmental lines operated by Cars Perier are now only the 20 from Le Havre to Caudebec; the shuttle service from Bolbec to Bréauté rail station; and a market service on Saturday from Sainneville to Saint-Roman. In 2021 Cars Perier operate line 20 from Le Havre to Caudebec via Lillebonne for the regional transport authority NOMAD.
Autres mise à jour.   Septembre 2007 - l'exploitation des lignes 17, 22, 23 et 24 passent de Cars Gris de Fecamp à Cars Périer. Ligne 25 vers Yvetot reste en exploitation par Keolis-Cars Gris, qui ont également repris la ligne 20 au départ du Havre via Bolbec et Lillebonne à Caudebec-en-Caux (la partie occidentale de l'ancienne ligne de la CNA du Havre à Rouen, coupé en deux moitiés à Caudebec il ya quelques années).   Aout 2011 - depuis le 1er aout, les lignes 17, 20 (Le Havre - Caudebec), 22, 23 et 24 sont effectuée par Kéolis, Cars Périer et VTNI qui ont décider de se partager le marché conjointement. En Septembre 2016, les lignes de département exploités par Cars Périer sont maintenant seulement le 20 du Havre à Caudebec; le navette de Bolbec à la gare de Bréauté; et une ligne de marché le samedi de Sainneville à Saint-Roman. En 2021 Cars Perier exploitera la ligne 20 du Havre à Caudebec via Lillebonne pour le compte de la régie régionale des transports NOMAD.

Here is the timetable that was in operation in 1963 on the Port Jérôme bus route.     L'horaire de 1963 sur la ligne de bus de Port Jérôme.
The timetable had an interesting reference to certain journeys marked as "not available to passengers" .......... (the journeys marked A and B in the red timetable below), presumably meaning they were restricted to workers.

horaire_63   Jadis le maison Périer assure une liaison par autocar entre Lillebonne et les raffineries de pétrole de Port-Jérome (sur la Seine), par Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon. Quelques circuits ont été également étendus jusqu'à Bolbec.

Quand j'ai visité la région en 1963, les services étaient essentiellement orientés vers le transport des ouvriers, y compris les autobus de relève pour assurer les 3 x 8 à Port Jérome. Les horaires ci-contre font référence, de façon  intéressante, à certains services qui stipulent qu'ils sont <<non accessibles aux voyageurs>> (services notés A et B sur les horaires).

Entre ma première visite en mars 1963 et ma seconde, en octobre 2000, les services de bus sont beaucoup réduits, mais les Cars Périer sont aujourd'hui devenus l'un des transporteurs de voyageurs les plus en vue en Haute-Normandie, avec des agences de voyages et une flotte importante des véhicules modernes (en 2014 une flotte de 130).

NB - les 3 x 8 désignent les postes en usine qui fonctionnent, sur 24 heures, en 3 équipes de 8 heures chacune.



A later timetable thought to be from the 1970s with one works journey extended to start from Lanquetot. Otherwise there are only small changes of detail from the previous timetable (the Sunday service 'Dimanches et Fetes' is in fact identical).  The original timetable was printed on yellow paper. Note that the printer has made an error: the 6.20 from Lanquetot should be marked A whilst the 7.20 from Bolbec should be marked B.

Perier timetable 1970


Perier timetable cover 1970s

Cars Aubin of Bolbec also played a substantial part in the traffic to and from Port Jérôme.  The company was acquired by Cars Périer in 1976 and before that the Aubin timetable was as under:

Bolbec to Port Jérôme    5.15   6.10   6.20   6.30   7.00   13.15   16.45   18.00   21.15

Lillebonne to Port Jérôme         6.40   7.20

Port Jérôme to Bolbec    6.10   14.10   16.50   17.50   22.10 
Port Jérôme to Lillebonne       16.50   17.50

So at that time Cars Périer ran the round-the-clock workers shift buses to Port Jérôme from Lillebonne whilst Cars Aubin ran them from Bolbec.

As can be seen from the timetable cover on the right Cars Périer were by this time in the 1970s also operating half a dozen market runs from the villages to the west and east of Lillebonne. A single Monday market service linked Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Taille and Saint-Antoine-la-Foret via Mélamare to Bolbec, whilst on Wednesdays those same villages were linked to the market in Lillebonne. Other Wednesday runs to Lillebonne started respectively at Triquerville, Tancarville, La Vallée and Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Haie. Allowing for the regular route to Port Jérôme and additional market day short workings, together with the village market runs, a minimum of seven vehicles would have been needed on Wednesday mornings.


    Lillebonne, Hotel de Ville, about 1954.  Much as I remember it from 1963!


    Lillebonne, Hotel de Ville, vers 1954. Combien cela me rappelle 1963!


Cite Standard, N D de Gravenchon

     Avenue Amiral Grasset, Cite Standard, Notre Dame de Gravenchon

     Avenue Amiral Grasset, Cite Standard, Notre Dame de Gravenchon

Esso refinery Port Jerome

      Aerial view of the Esso refinery Port Jerome

      Vue aérienne de la raffinerie Esso Port Jérôme

Cars Perier 60 years 1946-2006

1946 - the Cars Périer fleet and team at the Lillebonne garage - two Isobloc buses on the left and two Renault 215D on the right.
Henri and Marie-Thérèse Périer at the right.

1946 - la flotte et l'équipe des Cars Périer à Lillebonne - deux Isobloc à la gauche, deux Renault 215D à la droite.
Henri and Marie-Thérèse Périer à la droite aussi.


cover eclair timetable booklet 1934
Cars Mors 1934 timetable from Eclair booklet

Timetables from the 1945 Livrets-Chaix Rail-Route (October-November edition)

1945 Perrier Freres timetable
Cars Aubin timetable 1945

Services in the first few months after the end of the war were limited in scope for Perrier and Aubin who both seem to be catering for workmens traffic to and from Port Jérome. Cars Périer at their 60th anniversary celebrated the start of their business in 1946. Here we have a timetable dating from 1945 with the operator shown as Perrier Frères (Perrier Brothers). Perrier and Périer - coincidence or family connection.

I would be pleased to learn more about this operator if any French readers of this page have further information!

Si les lecteurs français de cette page pouvaient m’apporter des informations complémentaires à propos de cet autocariste, je leur en serais reconnaissant!

with thanks to Cars Perier, Clive D'eath, James Bunting and Jean-Louis Wahart for the historical information

avec mes remerciements à Cars Perier, Clive D'eath, James Bunting et Jean-Louis Wahart pour les informations historiques

Nota  -  Il s'agit d'un site d'archives historiques et ne contient pas de données actuelles

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