French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Celle-sur-Belle Abbaye (Wikipedia)

Musee Motos Celles-sur-Belle

Musée des motos anciennes de Celles-sur-Belle
12 Rue des Halles, 79370 Celles-sur-Belle, France


The larger part of the collection was assembled by Pierre Certain, who donated it to the town of Celles-sur-Belle.

A keen motorcyclist from an early age who rode many thousands of kilometres around Europe, he was inspired by his father who himself was a collector and died as a result of a motorcycle accident.

The museum displays some 250 motorcycles covering the period from the early days of the 20th century through to the 1960s. Included are machines of French, Belgian, British, German, American and Italian manufacture.

Marques represented include Terrot, BSA, Rudge, Norton, Zundapp, BMW, Nimbus and Solex, the latter part of a special exhibition of some 30 different models donated by another enthusiast.

There are around 250 machines in the collection, largely the work of two men, Pierre Certain and M Lopez. The bulk of these (over 200) came from Pierre Certain who donated his collection to the Municipality at Celles-sur-Belle before his death in 2016. They are looked after by an Association - Classic Moto Cellois.

The collections are in different locations. There are some 45 motorcycles in the Museum at the Abbey and these are readily available to visit, but the bulk are in another garage/barn and are only open to group visits (minimum 10). The remainder are in a third location, a workshop where volunteers are slowly restoring them, as resources permit.

Celles-sur-Belle is famous for its magnificent and historic Abbaye Royale. To the front there are terraces and gardens open to the public and... former garages or stables. The main wooden doors open to reveal a double glazed entrance to the linked buildings which have been renovated by the Mairie. This is where the main collection is displayed including several rare and unusual machines. This part of the Museum is open from early May until mid October, and for other school holidays (except Christmas). A small charge is levied.

The second part of the Museum (the "Reserve") is in another garage/barn about 10 minutes walking distance. This houses more of the Pierre Certain collection plus machines collected by M Lopex, including an impressive array of Solex bikes and accessories. Access to this is by prior arrangement.

The Association also has a workshop containing restorations in progress, many unrestored motorcycles, basket cases and spare parts. This area is not open to the public.

Adapted from an article by Mike Ricketts

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