Freaky Frenchman’s Mansion A Fount of History, Crazy

France, Offbeat, Travel News — By John Curran on March 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm

If you were a single man with a lot of money and no wife to tell you, “No, you can’t,” what would you do? If you’re Louis Mantin, you make a mansion-sized time capsule circa 1905. If you’re interested in the era of Oscar Wilde, it’s soon to be up for visits for vacationers near Moulins, France.

The story of the restoration is about as interesting as Mantin’s choice to begin with. The Daily Mail reports that rather than try and preserve anything, Mantin simply had everything locked up from 1905 to 2005 or so. That means that bugs and animals had the run of the mansion, built on the site of an old castle, and were the first opponents of restoration efforts.

But they’ve been banished, and the platoon of restorers seem to have the place mostly in order, which includes early attempts at electrification and a number of archeological aritfacts that the Frenchman wanted to pass along.

After more than several million dollars in restorations completed the Maison Mantin is now open for visitors, and is worth a look for those looking to see a full-size time capsule, blessed by a man who was amused by life and death. Keep in mind, not just the French people, but even marauding armies during World Wars I and II, have kept it protected, as CNN notes. So try to do the same as you take any tours.

Image: Jean-Louis Zimmermann / Flickr

Tags: france, Louis Mantin, Maison Mantin, Moulins, time capsules

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