My Travel Blog

All Things Fast and Furious

It’s fall and the leaves are changing.  The nights are cold, but fortunately the days are still pleasant.  Jerry and Arlene, Lisa’s brother and sister-in-law have joined us for a third time on Rabelo.  They are always willing to pitch in, are good sports, and easy to get along with.  We look forward to their visits.

I had heard about a chateau with an amazing collection of fire engines, motorcycles, race cars, model cars, and aircraft.  The planes were mostly fighter jets from the Korean War to the present.  We have a pamphlet from the Tourist Information Office that we thought listed all the chateaus open to the public in Burgundy.  I must have gone through it half dozen times, and could never find the chateau I was looking for.  Eventually I asked a tour guide on one of the many hotel barges on the Burgundy Canal, and he told me where to find the chateau I was looking for.

Chateau de Savigny is located in Savigny les Beaune.  If you like Burgundian wines this area is famous for producing some excellent examples.  Just a short twenty-minute drive from the Burgundy Canal or from the city of Beaune, it is a place you need to visit.   You can’t miss the chateau as you drive into the small village.  There are about a hundred fighter jets spread out among the chateau’s vineyards.  As we were driving up Lisa announced that today was for me, and that she was not interested in the chateau’s collection.

We entered the grounds through Le Petit Chateau where we each paid a ten Euro entry fee.  The décor is unique, as it is made up of old wine presses and other wine making paraphernalia.

“Le Petit Chateau.”

Once you tour Le Petit Chateau you step out into garden where there are three fighter jets: a French Mirage, F-16 and F-104 on display.  Behind the three planes was a work area where two men were in the process of reassembling a fighter jet that had just been trucked to the chateau.  There are no runways close by long enough to handle these supersonic aircraft.

“From right to left, a F-104, F-16, and a French Mirage.”

“Installing a horizontal syabilizer.”

“Lisa checking out what I believe is a J79 jet engine.”

After checking out the partially assembled jet we were directed to a building that contained the motorcycle and race car collection.  With 250 motorcycles starting from 1902 to 1960, Chateau de Savigny has the largest motorcycle collection in France.  I don’t know for a fact, but I assumed the owner of the chateau was involved with the Abarth Racing team.  All of his race cars were Abarth cars.

“Some of the Abarth race cars.”

“I want this one.”

“Formula race cars.”

“Lots of motorcycles to look at.”

From the car and motorcycle collections we walked into the vineyards to see the aircraft collection.  There must have been a hundred different jets surrounded by fields of red and gold grape vines.  It is an amazing collection.  I can’t imagine there are any other private collections in the world that come close to matching it, and for that matter very few museum collections.

“A MIG-17.”

“I thought this was a vey cool plane.”

“A jet trainer.”

After checking out all the fighter jets we went to see the fire truck collection.  If it were by itself I’m sure we would have said it was an incredible collection.  But after checking out all the motorcycles, cars and airplanes it was a bit of a letdown.

The chateau was not unusually large. In fact it was probably on the small side, and not very interesting until we got to the top floor.  That is where the rest of the motorcycle collection and model car collections are kept.  There must be over a thousand model cars.  We then headed back to Le Petit Chateau where we tasted some of their wines and ended up buying an incredible white Burgundy for dinner.  As we were leaving Lisa turned to me and said, “That was amazing, we’ll have to take some more of our friends here.”

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.