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Maison Mantin is a lavish French Chateau untouched for 100 years &now you can visit it

Neil Patrick

The Maison Mantin  located in the town of Moulins  is a late 19th-century French mansion  in the Allier department in central France. The mansion, shuttered for more than a century, opened its doors to the public in November 2010 as a museum.

 

 

Maison Mantin was commissioned by Louis Mantin, a wealthy man from Moulins, who wanted to showcase his art and antique collection. It was designed by a noted local architect, René-Justin Moreau (April 28, 1858 – September 18, 1924), in collaboration with his father, Jean-Bélizaire Moreau (1828–1899), also an architect, and built in 1893.

 

Mantin, bequeathed the mansion to the town of Moulins in his will, written before his death in 1905. The will stated that the house to be kept intact, so as to show to visitors in 100 years “a specimen of a bourgeois home of the nineteenth century”.

 

Consequently, the house was kept shuttered for over a century, with all its original contents, and fell into disrepair. After extensive restoration, it was opened as a museum and a showcase for the eclectic taste of its former owner.

 

Portrait of Louis Mantin.Source

Portrait of Louis Mantin.Source

The first draft of the architects’ design for Maison Mantin was akin to a Gothic mansion, but the final design was more picturesque, borrowing many of the elements of a seaside villa. The architect gave free rein to his taste for eclecticism: in the study and dining room with wood paneling, and the neo-renaissance decor of the “room of the four seasons” with plaster decorations and paintings in the style of Louis XVIII; the modern bathroom has stained glass and paintings in the Art Nouveau style. The project is important in that it paved the way for the design trend of the “castle-villa”.

 

The desk of Louis Mantin.Source

The desk of Louis Mantin.Source

The house incorporates the technological innovations of its period: electrical lighting, hot-and-cold faucets, overhead shower and flushing toilet.

The living room.Source

The living room.Source

 

The stairways.Source

The stairways.Source

 

 

 

The museum contains a dizzying maze of paintings, books, photographs, miniature objects, stuffed animals, ceramics, minerals, carvings and rare and unusual objects gathered by Louis Mantin from his travels in different parts of the world. The rich collection and the ornamentation of the house give it a unique character.