Le Manoir du Philosophe
Visited with Becci (Ninja Kitten) on our July 2019 French tour. This was pinned on the map and noted as a 'possible' as we had no idea about access. At the end of another long day exploring and driving hundreds of miles in fierce French heat we decided to try our luck late in the evening.
We approached the house - which had been given the nick name Manor of the Philosopher - driving through a sleepy French rural village and parked at the end of a cul-de-sac passing a family sitting outside their home having dinner. They looked at us as we passed which made us feel awkward as the house was a mere 100 yards further along. Would this family wonder why we had parked at the end of the cul-de-sac? Maybe they knew about this house and knew the former occupants and wouldn't take kindly to us going in.
It was late, we were tired, so we weren't about to sit around and wait for them to go inside as it could be a long time, so we decided we would simply walk across the road and go through to the back of the house and see what happens. If they see us then so be it. Once around the back, we were inside the house in a matter of seconds and for me it was a very welcome sight that greeted us; a vintage perambulator, parked up in the spacious lounge. A deep brown colour adding to its vintage look. I loved this house instantly.
It is possible the family who lived here were famile Prudent, as this was the family name written on postcards and letters found on top of a chest of drawers in the lounge. No other family names were visible so this may be the case.
I photographed the lounge - paying attention to the perambulator, naturally - before going into the kitchen. The kitchen is the focal point of this house. The walls have been adorned with French handwritten text as can be seen in the photographs. I have read that the lady who last lived in the house wrote these as she descended in to poor mental health before being taken away to a specialist unit. This bombastic story suits the house and adds an element of mystery to the hand written text. However, it isn't possible to verify this so it remains just that; a possible version as to how and why the text ended up on the walls. All I know is that it is an unusual thing to see.
The texts are quotes from various French historical people: (Google translations require a degree of flexibility)
C'est affaire de caractère aurait dit it is matter of character would have said, from the French moralist philosopher J. de la Bruyère (1645-1696)
Il faut croire, certes croire en soi we must believe, certainly believe in ourselves, from the French journalist/politicain and screenwriter F. Giroud (1916-2003)
Pas du tout, j'ai peint tout l'ete, perchee sur l'escabeau. Vous voita donc devenue raisonnable........ Not at all, I painted all summer, perched on the stool. So you saw it became reasonable........., from the French poet Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695)
I would loved to have asked a neighbour for more information about this house but my French is poor so it would have been pointless.
The rest of the house was lovely. Some rooms had been badly damaged by vandals, some seemed as if the last occupant had just left the room. I have also read the house was abandoned around 2002, maybe by the famile Prudent.
The mysterious piece of furniture in the downstairs hallway is apparently called a frog and was invented in the middle ages. Metal tokens are thrown from the top, which fall into holes, a wheel and hatches which in turn leads to the rifle bins at the front. The aim of the game is to collect the most points. The jackpot is when you manage to throw the token in the jaws of the frog.
We left the house after a good couple of hours. The perambulator still in the lounge looking like a grand vintage masterpiece and the mystery of the kitchen still intact. As we drove away from a quiet little French village back to our hotel we delighted in what we had just seen.