There’s a small but devoted group of people known as urban explorers who dedicate a great deal of their time to finding and documenting old, abandoned buildings. For many of them, the holy grail of finds is a building left as if the occupants simply vanished!

That’s the kind of building that explorer Florian Michaud was lucky enough to stumble upon. However, the more he looked around the place, the more he realized the previous occupant had a very peculiar set of interests…

Florian Michaud is an urban explorer from Paris, France who loves finding and photographing abandoned and run-down old buildings from France’s long and interesting past.

war-1Facebook / Florian Michaud

One of his most recent finds was a derelict old mansion that was still filled with remnants of the previous owner, who appears to have been a military fanatic and collector of old war artifacts and memorabilia!

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Florian has not divulged the exact location of the mansion for two reasons. The first is that he puts a great deal of time into finding places other explorers haven’t found. The second is that he wants to make sure the mansion stays preserved in its current state.

war-3Facebook / Florian Michaud

This memorabilia-filled mansion is the ultimate find for urban explorers like Florian because it looks as if the previous owners simply vanished. It freezes their possessions and living area in time, whereas most abandoned buildings simply lay empty.

war-4Facebook / Florian Michaud

Florian just happened to stumble upon the old chateau when he was investigating another property, and luckily he had his Nikon-D750 on hand to get some marvelous snapshots of the old place!

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Inside, Florian found shelves upon shelves of books containing works of classical literature as well as many volumes of military histories, war memoirs, and other similarly-themed tomes.

war-6Facebook / Florian Michaud

On the walls of the once stately living room hung flags from all over the world, especially from colonies and protectorates of the British Empire, and on the table sat a dusty old globe surrounded by history books.

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While most of the flags were British, including one from the Royal Navy, on one wall there was a United States flag containing far fewer than fifty stars, meaning it probably dated to sometime around the turn of the 20th century!

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The living room had plenty of impressive antique furniture, portraits, and other artworks, but the find that blew Florian’s mind the most was the giant 19th-century cannon sitting in the corner!

war-8Facebook / Florian Michaud

The cannon almost looks quaint today, in an era marked by high-tech warfare like machine guns and unmanned drones, but in its time, it was undoubtedly both a well-crafted piece of machinery and a highly deadly weapon.

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Florian also photographed the mansion’s giant bedrooms, where curtains still hung over the windows and ornate quilts still laid on the bed. In one of them an empty violin case sat on the bed as if someone had just taken out the instrument to play.

war-11Facebook / Florian Michaud

In another room, a display cabinet held a very old crown, as well as other ornately decorated items. Florian wondered whether these pieces might give some hint about the lineage of the mansion’s original occupants…

war-12Facebook / Florian Michaud

The mansion also contained a billiards room, complete with a roulette wheel and a pool table! Additionally, there was a very old map laying on the pool table, a torn map on the wall, and even more maps scattered on the ground…

war-13Facebook / Florian Michaud

One of the more eerie items that Florian found in the chateau was an antique clock enclosed in a glass case. Its hands had stopped moving just past 12, as if at that exact moment, time had frozen in the old house.

war-14Facebook / Florian Michaud

One of the more remarkable aspects of the chateau was a mural painted on the wall that was extraordinarily well-preserved. Strangely enough, the mural features people in Renaissance-era dress, though what precisely it depicts is still a mystery.

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Even more mysterious might be the hollowed-out book Florian found in one room. Inside a compartment carved into the pages, there was a contraption made of wood and wires. He didn’t dare touch it for fear of some unintended consequence…

war-16Florian Michaud

Florian’s photographs certainly give the impression that the property has been abandoned for a number of years, but that hasn’t stopped many on the internet, even other urban explorers, from accusing him of staging the photos.

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To many, the lack of debris or evidence of animals living in the abandoned place are a red flag, and others argue that the placement of many items in his pictures is just a little too perfect to be real.

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Florian hasn’t responded directly to any of these criticisms, but he insists that it’s his extensive research and persistence that allows him to find the remarkable abandoned buildings that other urban explorers miss.

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Describing the thrill he gets from finding a perfectly preserved building like this old chateau, he says: “It vibrates with something powerful and out of the ordinary that triggers in me an overwhelming flow of creative ideas and awakens an urge to simply catch the moment.”

war-20Facebook / Florian Michaud

What a fascinating old building! It seems a little creepy, but a lot of that military memorabilia is truly remarkable and rare.

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