I met an interesting man today who had a plan that seemed as crazy as it was ambitious. Less than a year ago, the gentleman in question got divorced, left his home in Corsica, and purchased this huge derelict old mill in Lormaye, called Moulin de Chandres.
His plan is to not only renovate the entire building, converting it into enviable apartments with views of the river, but also to completely rebuild and restore the old mill so it can harness the power of the river to generate electricity. All of this will be achieved with almost no help, a perilously limited budget, and little expertise in most of the crafts he will need for such an endeavor.
He seemed rather relaxed when I stumbled upon him and his friend when I stopped to explore the derelict old mill. He was friendly and happy to show me around the property, telling me about his plans and pointing out where certain rooms would be. I was surprised when he confidently told me that he would have the ground floor ready to move into before winter sets in.
Of course, he’s not the first person to have a romantic idea of living in an old French mill. There’s even a website dedicated to the sale of old French mills. As we chatted, I felt a little like the presenter of one of those building and renovation TV shows where people with outlandishly ambitious plans, take on projects that look almost impossible to anyone but them.
Moulin de Chandres has a number of separate buildings, all of which were in advanced stages of decay. There was even a old car rusting in a falling down garage. I found some historic pictures that show the old mill house at the height of its productive days, and even an old ariel photograph too.
Restoring the building to its old grander would certainly be an epic achievement, and while I liked the gentleman who has grand designs for this crumbling old mill, I have to wonder if he might have bitten off more than he can chew.
Catch a glimpse of the old mill from the road using Google street view.