Louis Mantin was an aesthete and gentleman of leisure who bequeathed his opulent home to the town of Moulins on condition that a century later it be a museum.
After he died in 1905, the mansion was closed up and fell into dilapidation. Now thanks to a 3.5m euro ($4.7m; £2.9m) refit funded by local authorities, it has been returned to its original pristine state.
The result is a remarkable time-capsule, combining rich fin-de-siecle furnishings, archaeological curios, skulls and other Masonic paraphernalia, a collection of stuffed birds, as well as the latest domestic gadgets such as electricity and a flushing loo.
Story: BBC News | Photo: BBC News