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Time Capsule Mansion Opens After a Century

Updated on January 11, 2012

After laying shuttered for over a century, untouched the tax man, home insurance agencies and even the occupying German army, the extravagent Maison Mantin has opened its doors to the public.


The house once belonged to Louis Mantin, a wealthy man from Moulins, France, who really loved his stuff. Unmarried and childless, he spent his fortune traveling the world and gathering all sorts of bizarre collectibles that he displayed in his grand home, Maison Mantin. The strange, yet sumptuous, house resembled a seaside villa, but also incorporated a 15th-century medieval castle that belonged to the Bourbon family, who later became French royals.

In 1905, at the age of 54 and just eight years after his home was completed, Louis Mantin passed away. He bequeathed his mansion to the town of Moulins and requested that it be sealed for 100 years and reopened as a museum.

In 2005, the town acted on Mantin’s bequest and opened the house. Not surprisingly, they found it in complete disrepair. But they also found a wealth of untouched treasures, many of which were downright weird. After a complete restoration to undo mold and insect damage, the mansion was officially opened to the public in October 2010.

So what kind of weird things do you find in a century-old mansion?

Gilded Leather Walls

According to National Geographic, the leather wall coverings in Mantin's bedroom were made in southern France in 1712. They're covered in silver leaf and yellow varnish, which gives it its rich, golden colour.

Electric Lights

Maison Mantin was the first private residence to have electricity in Moulins. It also had hot and cold taps, a toilet on each floor and a towel warming cupboard—all rare luxuries for the time.

Dueling Frogs

It seems Mantin was a fan of bizarre taxidermy. Other oddities include a rat playing a violin and a stuffed blowfish.

Furniture in the Style of French Kings

Maison Mantin's lounge is as patriotic as it gets, with furniture in the style of Louis XV and XVI and a chandelier featuring red, white and blue bulbs.

A markerPlace du Colonel Laussedat, 03000 Moulins, Allier, Auvergne, France -
Place du Colonel Laussedat, 03000 Moulins, France
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