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The French Chateau With The World’s Largest Private Collection of Warplanes

Among the rolling hills of Burgundy's wine country, surrounded by vineyards and forested land, stands a 14th-century castle belonging to Michel Pont, an avid collector of anything that moves fast—racing cars, motorcycles and even fighter jets. He has turned his castle in the French commune of Savigny-lès-Beaune into a vast museum with over 250 motorcycles, 30 racing cars and an impressive collection of nearly 80 warplanes and helicopters— the world’s largest private collection.

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

Airplane collection at Chateau de Savigny-lès-Beaune. Photo credit: Roland Turner/Flickr

Son of a winemaker, Pont began collecting motorcycles when he was only twenty years of age. Later he became interested in motor racing, and took part in a couple of races and championships during the 1960s and early 1970s. But when a serious accident on the circuit almost cost him his life, Pont decided to quit and started collecting cars instead.

Pont’s interest in aviation goes back even further, to his military career during the 1950s. As a member of the Air Force, Pont had the opportunity to meet pilots and see all sorts of planes. He started buying decommissioned planes about 30 years ago, from all around the world such as England, Portugal and Russia, aside from France.

“I travelled with a team of mechanics to buy the planes, dismantle them, rent a crane there, find a transporter and bring it back to France in pieces,” Pont told the Guinness World Records.

“My latest piece is a sabre – an American plane I bought in Sweden. We restored it, repainted it and make it all clean, just like new.”

Pont bought the château and the surrounding garden in Savigny-lès-Beaune in the early 1980s. The château was originally built in 1340 by the Duke of Eudes, but was destroyed in 1478 following the invasion of Burgundy by Louis XI. It was rebuilt by the Bouhier family in the early 17th century.

When Pont took over the property, the gardens were a wasteland, so he planted four hectares of vines to make wine and prepared 2-3 hectares for his planes. His collection of racing cars and motorbikes is entirely indoors. Pont also collects agricultural machinery such as ploughs and tractors, as well as antiques. These have been organized into nine separate museums on this remarkable property.

Pont gets over 35,000 visitors to his museums each year.

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

The château of Savigny-lès-Beaune, France. Photo credit:  PicksArt/Shutterstock.com

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

Meteor NF.11. Photo credit: Roland Turner/Flickr

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

Photo credit: Groumfy69/Wikimedia Commons

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

Photo credit: Roland Turner/Flickr

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

Gloster Meteor TT20. Photo credit: Johnny Comstedt/Flickr

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

Gloster Meteor T7. Photo credit: Johnny Comstedt/Flickr

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

Mirage, F-16 and Starfighter. Photo credit: Roland Turner/Flickr

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

F-105 Thunderchief. Photo credit: Roland Turner/Flickr

airplanes at Savigny-lès-Beaune

A Dassault Etendard. Photo credit: Roland Turner/Flickr

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