Header Graphic
Paranormal News provided by Medium Bonnie Vent > Mansion left for 100 years reopens as time-capsule museum

Need a reading, mandala or some jewelry?  Check it out. 

Bonnie Vent products and services website


Readings/Consultation button

6 Dec 2012


Mansion left for 100 years reopens as time-capsule museum

A mansion sealed in a time warp for more than a century to respect its eccentric owner's dying wishes has been reopened as a museum, offering a glimpse into 19th century bourgeois French life.

Maison Mantin was left to the town of Moulins in central France by Louis Mantin finally opens its doors
Image 1 of 3
Photo: Maison Mantin

Curators say the Maison Mantin in Moulins, central France offers a unique freeze-frame of turn-of-the-century France in all its grandeur and strangeness.

What precisely lay behind the imposing 19th century mansion's locked doors and shuttered windows had been the subject of intrigue for decades.

Some believed that its wealthy, unconventional former owner, Louis Martin, had hidden a collection of human skeletons among its many rooms.

It was closed shortly after his death in 1905 and its contents left to attract dust, mold, woodworm and rats.

Mr Mantin made his fortune in land and property but died unmarried and childless aged just 54 – only eight years after the sumptuous home was completed. It had been built on the ruins of a 15th-century castle that had belonged to the aristocratic Bourbon family.

In his will, he bequeathed the house to the town, specifying that he wanted it to be made a museum a century after his death.

Although he left no orders to have it sealed, the mansion was left practically untouched all those years, its eerie calm even unbroken by the occupying German forces of the Second World War.

"It was very strange, the house became a sort of urban myth," said assistant curator Maud Leyoudec. "People didn't know what was in this house and had fantasies."

As the centenary of Mr Mantin's death approached, the town was spurred to act on his bequest as it faced losing the building to a surviving heir.

Under French law, Mr Mantin's great-niece Isabelle de Chavagnac could claim it back 100 years on.

When they opened up the house, experts found it in a "musty and awful" condition, with "insects everywhere".

There were no skeletons but a host of untouched treasures, including rich tapestries, extremely rare gilded leather wall coverings and contemporary artworks.

Mr Mantin had also incorporated a host of cutting-edge appliances hardly seen at the time, including electricity, a flushing lavatory, a fully-plumbed roll-top bath with overhead shower and towel-warming cupboard.

He had a museum of natural history curiosities, including two stuffed frogs fighting a duel and a rat playing a violin.

One room covered in pink "amour" wallpaper was dedicated to the respectable gentleman's concealed and scandalous 20-year relationship with his married mistress. A winking woman's face over the fireplace was another wry reference to the affair.

Thanks to a £2.9 million refurbishment funded by local authorities, the mansion has been fully restored and is now open to the public.

"Mantin was obsessed with the passing of time, and death," said Miss Leyoudec. "He wanted the house to remain unchanged, like a time-capsule for future generations, so they would know how a bourgeois gentleman lived at the turn of the 20th century."

There was a more selfish motive, though, she added.

"He wanted to survive. Now everyone in Moulins knows the name of Mantin."

Need a reading, mandala or some jewelry?  Check it out. 

Bonnie Vent products and services website


Readings/Consultation button

NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, KUSI, Good Morning San Diego Logo Banner

Web Design by: Genesis Creations Entertainment

©Copyright 2002-2020 San Diego Paranormal.  Copying content or pictures from this site is prohibited. Copying of any portion of this site for commercial use is expressly prohibited.