Manor House of Fargeas Mirabeau


Exceptional guest house in the Limousin 

Built under the reign of Louis the 13th between 1635 and 1636, this manor-house is archetypal of the Limousin rural gentry house. Attached to the fiefdom of Magnac, it was likely built by Anne de la Guiche, lady of Magnac and wife of the Marechal of Schomberg. In 1653, her daughter Jeanne Armande de Schomberg, lady of Magnac, married Charles IInd of Rohan Guéméné, prince de Guéméné. The ecclesiastical jurisprudence tells us that in 1664, this lady wished to reclaim the taxes of the village of Fargeas from Michel de Verthamon, the curé of the parish of Vicq.

Further research is needed to complete the history of this dwelling whose history has remained somehow mysterious until the 19th century.

Still, its local name of « Mirabeau House » testifies it is linked to Honoré Gabriel, Count of Mirabeau.

This extraordinary character was tremendously popular at the end of the 18th century because of his role during the French Revolution. Every Frenchman remembers the words he is supposed to have said during the assembly of the Jeu de Paume : « Nous sommes ici par la volonté du Peuple, et nous n'en sortirons que par la force des bayonnettes ». Mirabeau was a limousin by his mother, sole heiress of the barons of Pierre-Buffières, a village about 3 miles from Fargeas.

His life was a very eventful one indeed. Several books about his life are at your disposal during your stay.

His was a brilliant intelligence, he was a visionary. Everyone agrees that he was one of the greatest orators that ever lived, he was also known to be an inveterate philanderer. In spite of his ugliness ( or because of it), his charm was irresistible. He was imprisoned for several years at the Fort of Vincennes, some say because of a lady. This episode gave birth to a book, « Lettres à Sophie », which fuelled the daydreams of generations of young girls. He has also written quite a few erotic novels ( Mirabeau was the Marquis de Sade's kinsman...). But he is also the author of several treatises dealing with economics and politics. Although he was a revolutionary,he was firmly convinced that a constitutional monarchy ( based on the English system) was the best political regime that France could have in order to avoid such horrors as « La Terreur », during wich about 10,000 people were guillotined. Unfortunately, La Terreur did occur two years after his death in 1791.

He was the first « great man » ever to be buried in the Panthéon, but his remains were later unearthed and buried in an unknown place.

Local tradition has it that, in 1771, Mirabeau , then 22 years old, fell head over heels in love with the young girl that lived here and wanted to marry her against his father's will. The young girl, kinswoman to Anne de la Guiche, and Mirabeau's twice-removed cousin, by the Pierre-Buffières family, is said to have given birth in secret. Could this secret love have been consummated in the great bedroom with its wallpaintings? Yet another mystery which cannot but stir our imagination.

The outward aspect of the manor house is characterised by the defensive elements which are a common feature in the Limousin until the end of the 17th century : wrought iron railings for the windows, culverins for the muskets, large beams inserted in the walls to block the entrance doors. Indeed, in the early 17th century, gangs of highway men and marauders roamed the countryside. The wars of religion were still very much present in everyone's mind and the terror they caused played an important part in rural France's collective memory.

On entering the manor house,you discover a large staircase with a core wall. It was strikingly modern at the time, compared with the screw stairs of old. No less remarkable are the numerous serpentine stones ( serpentine is a blue-green volcanic stone similar to marble) that adorn its facade ans its 4 monumental fireplaces.

After the French Revolution, the manor house was converted into a farmhouse yet it preserved its fundamental architectural elements. Because of its authenticity , it has been listed as a historical monument since 1992. During its restoration ( from 2012 to 2016), the original wallpaintings were unveiled under several layers of limewash. The wallpaintings of the main bedroom have been fully restored to their pristine condition by Bruno Tilmant d'Aury. Photographs showing the various stages of this process of restoration can be seen in the guesthouse.