Le Manoir de l' 'Alchimiste
Summer 2019, on a week long tour across central France with Ninja Kitten [Becci], this is the location we were looking forward to the most. Photographs had appeared on the web for 12 months or so and gave a glimpse into a magnificent manor house filled with artefacts like a lost museum.
Warnings were plenty as to entry difficulties mainly from locals in the village who keep an eye out for explorers. The advice we were given was to park outside the village and walk to the house. The temperature was 35 degrees, the sun burning down and we are lazy, so we parked around the corner in a field and left the curious bunch of cows to look after our hire car for a while.
Entry was easy, over a wall and through the overgrown garden and a choice of multiple entry points. We were careful to make sure no one was around to see us as this was the one location we simply had to see.
The village is tiny, everyone knows everyone. Yet it is devoid of too many people and many houses look tatty and possibly abandoned.
Once in the house we steadied ourselves, drank liquids then proceeded to make our way around the entire house. Each and every room a pure delight. Since the professor who lived here left, it is clear all belongings have simpy been untouched and left behind. The house is beautiful and seems inconceivable that whoever the house passed to, wouldn't want to live in it or at least maintain it. Not so. The ground floor staircase is rotten as water has seeped in from the broken wall, luckily the balustrade is ok so an ascent upstairs was possible. The other smaller staircase to the 2nd floor is so rotten we didn't chance it.
The room with all the professor's chemistry equipment still in situ was fascinating. Test tubes, bottles, syringes and even a vintage spirometer - to measure lung capacity. Just left in place gathering dust. Already it was like stepping back in time, as objects remained frozen in a long ago decade.
In an upstairs bedroom, there are more bottles lining shelves on the wall, dozens of vintage bottles collected by the professor over his lifetime. We were in an abandoned manor house, but it felt like a museum. Three bedrooms upstairs - all beautiful in their own way, especially the magnificent four-poster bed in the middle bedroom. Off this bedroom a tiny door - easily missed - which led to a small relaxation room filled with paintings. Maybe the professor was also an artist or someone else who once lived in this amazing house.
Luckily, no one else visited whilst we were there so it was 4 hours of relaxed exploration.
Looking at the first photographs of the house from explorers, most of the artefacts were still in place. The butterfly collection and typewriter had vanished but there was so much stuff inside that didn't detach from the house's splendour.
The house lived up to expectations for both of us. We sat and drank more liquids once photographing had finished and we marvelled at the pure beauty of this house before we left.
We were greeted back at the car by the same cows, still curiously looking at us. Enough to make you paranoid but I'm sure they won't say anything.