The last day of our tour of France in summer 2019 with Becci (Ninja Kitten) and we decided to head to this lovely detached manor house in the French mountains. A fairly simple entry and we were inside. No bananas were inside - maybe a few boxes used to transport bananas - hence the rather hideous name it has been given, and a chateau it certainly isn't!
It is a curious place this Chateau Banana. We had to clamber over piles of discarded rubbish in the utility room, then the kitchen to actually arrive in a room we were able to photograph freely; the main reception room. With its lovely German grand piano, French provincial furniture and giant gilded painting hung on a wall, it certainly has the feel of previous opulence. Both of us however, found the whole decor a little kitsch and there seemed to be a lack of the 2 vital ingredients that we look for: natural decay and a real vintage feel. The only real decay I could see was a beautiful pram. These vintage portable beds are my thing. They fascinate me. This entire trip I'd ben lucky; five locations had one. Becci thinks it's an odd obsession, but deep down she gets it.
As for the rest of the furniture and possessions, I'm sure they are old, but they didn't give a feeling of other places, that of being in a time capsule. It actually felt more like a museum. This continued in some other rooms upstairs. The only other room downstairs was piled high full of furniture so I didn't even go in. I believe the banana boxes were in there - according to Becci.
Upstairs was very odd. The museum, feel continued in some bedrooms whilst others it seemed as if squatters had been living there recently. The beautiful beds have gone and only the mattresses remain with bedding on. No doubt the owner - who obviously knows people go inside to photograph it - has removed these, I hope so anyway. On the outside of the building is a notice, pinned up by the owner which we translated as.....respect the building urbexers...or something like that - according to Google translate. I think he has given up trying to secure it.
Actual concrete history of this place is lacking. However, work had obviously started on renovating the building. Many rooms have been stripped bare of wallpaper, penciled indicators on the walls where new electrical sockets were to be placed are still visible. The structure seems sound so renovation would seem plausible, given the money and inclination. I'd imagine it would make a nice hotel - which is what the renovation may have been for - with the fantastic views of the surrounding countryside from the huge upstairs windows.
This place certainly is a lesson in the old adage of getting to a place early once it appears. As said, the beds have gone, also the gilded chairs and formal settee downstairs. The rest of the furniture has been heavily staged and moved from room to room. The lovely bathroom wasn't accessible either as things had been piled up in the entrance.
All in all, a curious place, banana free and heavily doctored but none-the-less I did enjoy it for what it was. The rotting pram saved the day too. My obsession with vintage prams shows no rest. Maybe we'd been spoiled by some other places we had done in the preceding days, especially the fabulous Manoir Scavenger and Manoir Alchemiste. Both will go up soon on the site. After here, we headed off in our great little rental Fiat car, through the gorgeous countryside, to another manor, which we later named Manoir Eberling as it was unnamed by the one person who had been inside. What we found left us speechless.