Maison Mantin

The stairwell: the family cabinet-making history most certainly played a part in the abundance of wood used
 

The stairwell: the family cabinet-making history most certainly played a part in the abundance of wood used


 

Maison Mantin—held in a time warp for more than a century to respect its eccentric owner’s dying wishes—has reopened as a museum, offering a glimpse into 19th century bourgeois French life. For almost a hundred years, this astonishing building, somewhere between an English manor house and a neo-gothic chateau, remained closed to the public. During its long slumber, the vast collections that its owner and ‘inventor’, Louis Mantin, had patiently accumulated throughout his life, remained a secret. The mansion is in Moulins, a town in the Allier department of central France. It was commissioned by Mantin, a wealthy local man, to show off his collection of art and antiques. With a keen eye for all things rare, unusual, eclectic and exotic, Mantin decorated every room of his villa with an incredible array of paintings, books, photographs, miniature objects, stuffed animals and more. Time passed but the collection remained intact. Visitors entering these walls, where no light had shone for so long, feel a palpable sense of excitement, like an archaeologist exploring an ancient relic. But the mansion also features the technological innovations of the period: electric lighting, hot-and-cold running water, showers and fl ushing toilets. After extensive restoration, this magnifi cent 19th century residence has been brought back to life and every visitor has the huge pleasure of experiencing the eclectic taste of its former owner.
 
- Copyright 2015 Mart Engelen
 
 
 

A mysterious mansion
 

A mysterious mansion

 
 

View of the large drawing room, Maison Mantin, Moulins 2014
 

View of the large drawing room, Maison Mantin, Moulins 2014