Found Ancient Art Treasures in Abandoned French Luxury Manor
The clock is not only going in one direction: Time flows backwards, too. The past can also be our future. Yet, what if this is not just an anomaly, but the current state? On a new journey, we seek to find out.
We are touring France to explore a desolate future that already exists today. Long-forgotten time-capsules contain the past, unspoiled and unseen - but they also show what is yet to come. We reveal these hidden worlds and demonstrate that the end is never really the end - it is just the start.
Join us in traveling time! We set out on this journey to break the deathloop that dooms us to repeat the past over and over again. Let us do this - together! It is time for a new future to start. But before we start, a word from our sponsor: Which is you! We get most of our funds from crowdfunding at Patreon.
So, you guys make these adventures possible in the first place. Thanks a lot! Our journey starts in the very South of the country. We spent our first night in a big hotel. It is a spacious property with enough rooms to host more than 200 visitors.
In fact, it is also a conference center with several meeting rooms and modern equipment. So, it is perfect for business trips - that is basically exactly what we are doing, too. But there are not many other guests around.
Because, after all, it is still a global pandemic. Not exactly the best time for the catering and hotel industry - therefore, at least, the nicest room was still available when the four of us arrived the day before. All jokes aside. We did this road trip in the winter of 2021. At that point, the hotel had already been abandoned for a decade.
For us, this was just a stopover on our way to the first main destination. But traveling the country at that particular period of time was challenging - especially after dark. Our luggage is packed, and we are checking out. For us, the days are now shorter than ever before, so we need to hurry up in order to have enough sunlight while exploring. The location we are heading to today was a tip from Tobi.
He went there some years back and discovered valuable artistic treasures just left to rot. It is said they would preserve the past. Located in the rural countryside and surrounded by vineyards, a once noble estate crumbles and decays - long lost, but it is getting new attention in these past few years. This is the stately manor. Perched on a small hill, the neglected property has a colorful history dating back to the Middle Ages.
At one point, it was given to a crusader. But when he died in the Holy Land, the estate passed through the ownership of many different families. In the course of history, the home was reconstructed and extended many times.
And yet, it is the smaller adjacent building that attracts us more - with a rather curious story and remnants of inestimable value. We are already on the premises. The park is overgrown and wild, the structures are falling apart. It is in private ownership today, but no one maintains the historical site. This, for example, is said to be part of the original building, so it is many hundreds of years old.
There is a lot to discover in the lavish garden: There used to be waterfalls, and even caves were built. But wherever you go, it appears doomed already. Let us hope this one is still in good shape.
That is the building we want to explore. You would not think that something like that just gets abandoned... The walls are full of historical artifacts from bygone times! It is everywhere. This is a private collection in the scale and quality of a museum - all of it presented in a cloistered courtyard completely made of marble.
With three dozen arches in total, and each pillar is richly ornamented. All of them are different. They show animals and all sorts of other creatures. Once, the cloister was characterized by elegance, abundance, and pure value. But the splendor is disappearing, and so is stability after years of neglect. Additional pillars became necessary, so the works of art do not get buried, and their stories do not fade away.
Most art pieces here date back to ancient Europe and Egypt. Some might be replicas, some are originals. We have no idea how to tell the difference. But what we know is that a lot of it was taken already, probably by raiders. They broke out parts and even stole entire pieces of workmanship.
This building is under monumental protection. So, the owner needed to take care that the structure would not collapse - at least not anytime soon. But we are puzzled why he does not take care of the precious artwork, too.
But maybe they are just peanuts compared to his fortune. Guys, it is France! Of course, there needed to be a chapel, too. We do not know how long ago the estate became abandoned, but there is already huge amounts of damage everywhere - not only in this part of the property. But at least here, a provisional roof was installed to slow down decay. This place has an interesting story.
Originally, the cloister was constructed in the 14th century - but 100 kilometers away from here. In the mid-1800s, a French writer owned this manor house and the surrounding lands. In an act of pure decadence, he bought the cloister, let it be dismantled, and the components transported to his château park by a dozen carts carried by yokes of oxen.
It took several years to rebuild the site. What he added was this light-flooded atrium with a skylight carried by fancy columns. It was the poet's writing room. All the art here and in the cloistered courtyard probably served as sources of inspiration for his scripts. There is also an orangery. That is the part of the building where we entered and now leave.
Only dehydrated plants remain. There are no orange trees anyway. These were originally in the big ceramic pots that are now spread in the garden.
The building we just explored is only a small part of the estate. There is still the big mansion left, and also more houses. But renovations already started over here. Better not get too close, so we do not get caught. But for sure we will try to peek into the main building before we take off. The palace is empty, and parts of it are liable to collapse.
When it was abandoned all of the furniture was removed, so there is not much to see anymore. All that was left behind is a building site. Apparently, they wanted to refurbish the manor but stopped years ago.
We do not know why it is on hold - probably because it is ridiculously costly. Weirdly, there is one big room that stayed completely untouched by the failed renovation works. At one point, these bookshelves were filled all the way to the top. But there is only a fractional part left that has not been taken away from this library. Two years ago, much more was still here as you can see in Tobi’s photos. The books remaining are very old with a huge variety of covered topics.
Some of these have not been read in ages. But being left behind and abandoned badly affected these books. Many of them are irretrievably lost. What was forgotten here is age-old knowledge. We wonder why all of the manor was emptied out but this room.
Unfortunately, what has not been saved before the renovation started will not be saved at all. Whether conservation and restoration will ever be resumed is doubtful. Hard hats and building materials testify to the last poor attempt. They did not stop the château from crumbling but made it worse. Parts of it might collapse one day and then destroy the old library once and for all. The good news is that they are already renovating other houses on the grounds.
Yet, it remains unclear if the main building can be saved as well. Same applies to the cloister and its vast art treasures. As travelers in time, we can do our bit: We explore and document - before it is too late.
Here are some more of Tobi's photos he took two years before our exploration. For more of his shots, pay him a visit on Instagram. The link is provided in the video description. Say hi from us!
That is it for today. As mentioned earlier, days are shorter than ever before. We are about to hit the road and probably get ourselves an Airbnb for tonight. We have two full weeks of urbex ahead of us.
Our plan is to drive north through the country and find the most fascinating forgotten structures to revive them for one last time. So, where should we travel back in time next? Write down in the comments what kind of exploration you want to see next up. Of course, our trip lies already in the past - but we have filmed all sorts of abandoned sites in France. So, do you prefer more châteaux? Maybe a church, or how about some industry? Just let us know, stay curious, and obviously, keep exploring!