When Anne and François de Boisredon visited « Mirabeau » for the very first time in the summer of 2010, it was impossible to walk around the house. Brambles and nettles had taken possession of the ruins... Part of the land had been turned into a scrap- yard littered with car wrecks, lorries, small boats, caterpillars...While the house itself was used to stock floor-tiles. They were leaks in the roofs,gaping holes in the floors. There were no windows, the lintels and window-ledges were cracked. Trees grew in what was to become the kitchen. The vaults of the cellar had collapsed. It took Anne and François de Boisredon quite a lot of willpower and imagination to believe their project could be brought to fruition !
Most people thought they were raving mad, others thought they were very courageous, all agreed that they were irresponsible but determined. They plunged into this mad enterprise, supported by their 6 children and they bet they could restore this ruin to its pristine condition and bring it back to life.They actually fell in love with the magic of the place and embarked upon a trip into the past,back to the 17th century,to the time of Louis the 13th.
The next step for François was to buy a backhoe and to learn how to handle it (he had never been on a tractor) before launching this huge earthmoving works. First, he had to clear the whole place then get rid of the huge heaps of earth rocks and wrecks. It took him more than a year and it is far from being over!
The first challenge was to deal with the crumbling walls of the barns situated between the tenant farmhouse and the manor house. In 2011, a building firm (ASTIER), a roofing firm (HARDY), both from Vicq-sur-Breuilh did the job splendidly. Then, the swimming-pool -which looked more like a pond at the time – had to be cleaned up, its surroundings cleared...
The next stage, in 2012, was to work out a building licence, a most arduous task for a historical monument. Our architect, Elsa PERRET, provided us with all the necessary advice to define a restoration programme which fitted our budget. It became rapidly clear that only the letting of half of the place once it was restored could enable us to fund the rest of the restoration.
The knowledge and technical skills of M. Gildas GODIVIER proved extremely valuable to complete this restoration. Naturally, the subsidies provided by the D.R.A.C. (because we are dealing with a historical monument), the Région and the Département (since the place was to become a guest house).
From February 2013 to February 2015, the masonry work started, followed by the roofing work wich was carried out with the handmade tiles of one of the only remaining tile plants in the area (AUPEIX). Then there was the carpentry work (P.A.P.) and the wood work :floors, windows, ceilings, doors, stairs, wrought iron... (POUYADOU). Then again there was the aluminium work (MAN), the plumbing work (SYNERGY), the electricity work (CHALAIS), the partition and the paintwork. The ear ridges, similar to the existing ones, were made by a pottery in Uzerche.
We wish to express our admiration for the exceptional knowhow displayed by all the craftsmen who worked here during that period. Two years of hard work which inspired us with awe for day after day we all became the admiring spectators of the rebirth of a unique and magic place.
Only the talent of those artists made it possible.
Our special thanks to Bruno TILMANT d'AUXY who restored the wallpaintings.
Without him, this project would never have been carried out. The fortuitous discovery of the paintings under several layers of limewash was both good and bad news. Good news because the wall paintings constitute a complete and coherent set, which is extremely rare, all the more so as they were miraculously preserved because the manor house was transformed into a farmhouse after the revolution. Bad news since this discovery entailed an enormous amount of painstaking work as well as substantial funds.
Spurred by his passion for historic heritage and by his respect for this house, without mentioning his family ties with the owners, he embarked upon this adventure with all his talent and generosity. The restoration ended in May 2016, two years after the paintings were unveiled.
We'll be eternally grateful to him!
Have a look at the slide show which speaks for itself.