In a deliciously overdramatic attempt to preserve his memory for future generations, Frenchman Louis Mantin, who passed away in 1905, asked that his beautiful townhouse be opened to the public in the form of a museum 100 years after his death.
Mantin, an undistinguished civil servant until the age of 42, dedicated himself to a life of leisure upon inheriting a fortune from his father. An ardent lover of the arts and sciences, he established beautiful collections of porcelain, tapestries, sculpture, books, egyptian relics, medieval locks and keys, and other delightful antiquities.
Aware that his time was short, Mantin declared in his will that he wanted the people of Moulins to be able to glimpse the life of a cultured gentleman of his time. “A bachelor with no children, he was obsessed with death and the passage of time. It was his way of becoming eternal,” says assistant curator Maud Leyoudec.
Local authorities raised 3.5 million euros, after a threat from a blood relative to reclaim the property, in order to complete the painstaking restoration process. It may have taken an additional 5 years, but surely Mantin is pleased.
You can read additional information, and catch a glorious video tour, here.
……Louis….? C’est vous….?