Cloître des Orangers - France, February 2021

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B W T

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Cloître des Orangers #01

by Broken Window Theory

Located in the rural countryside of France and surrounded by vineyards, a once noble estate crumbles and decays - long lost, but it is getting new attention in these past few years. 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 was the smaller adjacent building that attracted us more - with a rather curious story and remnants of inestimable value.


Cloître des Orangers #03

by Broken Window Theory

The walls are full of historical artifacts from bygone times. 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.


Cloître des Orangers #04

by Broken Window Theory

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.


Cloître des Orangers #06

by Broken Window Theory

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.


Cloître des Orangers #18

by Broken Window Theory

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.


Cloître des Orangers #13

by Broken Window Theory

Whether conservation and restoration will ever be resumed is doubtful. Parts of it might collapse one day. The good news is that they are already renovating other houses on the grounds. Yet, it remains unclear if the cloister and its vast art treasures can be saved as well. As travelers in time, we can do our bit: We explore and document - before it is too late.


Cloître des Orangers #21

by Broken Window Theory

Watch our exploration video if you want to see more of this place, including the main building next door:

 

Foxylady

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Oh wow, that is truly lovely. Those artworks are so precious, as well as the gorgeous architecture. I really hope the owner saves and restores them before it's too late. Beautiful! :tennis:
 
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