My Travel Blog

Visiting An Old Friend on the Meuse River | Queen Fabiola’s Chateau

Nine years ago on Tigre Rose, Lisa and I saw the most beautiful chateau on the Meuse River.  It wasn’t one of the grandiose structures we saw in the Lorie Valley, but much more modest in size. The setting, gardens, architecture and overall balance were what made it so special.  Its beautiful reflection on the mirror smooth water didn’t hurt. While we never forgot our favorite chateau we couldn’t remember exactly where it was. Imagine our delight as we rounded a bend in the river, and our old friend came into view.

“Our favorite chateau comes into view.”

Everyone grabbed their cameras and started snapping pictures. I was driving and asked Wilco if he would take the helm so that I could get my camera.  As we were clicking away Wilco pointed at a dock directly opposite the chateau and said, “We can tie up right there?” The pier he was pointing at could not have been more than 20 feet long.  I looked at Wilco as if he had lost his mind.  You can’t tie up a 127ft. boat to a 20ft dock.  Wilco just shrugged his shoulders and said, “No problem.”  I didn’t believe he could do it, but we spent the night just across the river from this incredible estate.

“Tying Rabelo to a 20ft dock.”

‘The view from our kitchen window without the window.”

We always wondered who lived in this beautiful home, and the following morning we set out to find the answer.  We walked a mile to the closest bridge crossed the river and then another mile to get back to the village, or Dave where our chateau was located.  The sign on the wall surrounding the chateau said, Chateau de Dave.  So now we knew if was Dave’s place.  The grounds were so extensive, and the surrounding rock wall so high we couldn’t get any pictures.  Fortunately we met this delightful Belgium woman caring for her granddaughter that spoke a smattering of English.

“Going for a horseback ride in Dave.”

The nice lady said Queen Fabiola owned the castle.  She was married to King Baudoin of Belgium who died in the 1990’s. The Queen was still alive though in her 90’s and lived in Spain.  She had not been seen at the chateau in years.  We were so excited to find out who the real owner was, and thanked our new friend profusely.  That’s when she did the most amazing thing.  She walked up to this tiny wood door in the rock wall and pushed it open, and waved for us to follow.  As we slowly walked towards the main residence we were told to stay close. We shouldn’t be on the property.  I wasn’t reassured when she said we probably would not get caught.  The good news was that even with my worn hips and knees I could still out run a 90-year-old queen, so off we went.

“Our new friend with her granddaughter and a few more friends.”

“A few friends join us in a lock.”

“Lunch on the Meuse River.”

“The beautiful Meuse River.”


-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


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.