A late 19th-century French mansion (pictured: west facade) shuttered for more than a century has opened its doors to the public, revealing an array of outdated luxuries and oddities.
The house once belonged to the wealthy, philanthropic, and "egocentric" civil servant Louis Mantin, according to Maud Leyoudec, assistant curator at the new Maison Mantin, or "Mantin house."
Mantin, who died in 1905, stated in his will that the house should be opened to the public a hundred years after his death. The mansion underwent extensive work to repair insect and mold damage before being reopened in October 2010, Leyoudec said.
Located in the city of Moulins (see map) in central France, the mansion was built to resemble a seaside villa, with a wood-and-ceramics facade, Leyoudec said.
But what's "strange," Leyoudec said, is that the villa incorporated a 15th-century medieval castle that had belonged to the Bourbon family, who later became French royals. The castle's stone tower and gray walls can be seen in the above picture.
(See pictures: "Medieval Cave Tunnels Revealed as Never Before.")