Inside an ‘abandoned’ 19th century French chateau still full of furniture

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An urban explorer has shared the interior of an “abandoned” French chateau, still full of furniture.

New Yorker Ramy Awad traveled to Europe after hearing about the sprawling estate, believed to have once belonged to a passenger aboard the Titanic.

He shared a clip from inside on his TikTok page, @yoitsramy, earlier this month, where it amassed over 10 million views.

Urban exploration is defined by the Collins dictionary as “a recreational activity in which people explore abandoned urban structures”.

Screenshots from @yoitsramy’s video. The urban explorer claimed the castle had been “abandoned”.
yoitsramy

Exploring abandoned places is a gray area legally depending on location and method of entry. It generally comes down to intrusion.

Besides the potential legal ramifications, there is also an element of security associated with the deterioration of structures.

Various blogs dedicated to the hobby share advice for would-be explorers, including one, Obsidianurbexphotography.com, warning: “There are structural dangers if the building is dilapidated and in ruins.

“Floors and ceilings can collapse without warning as you move. There may be broken glass on the floor or sharp pieces of metal, or on ledges as you climb.

“Older buildings may contain asbestos or toxic lead-based paint. Industrial sites can present a host of hazards, including toxic or carcinogenic chemicals.”

They also warned of tripping hazards and sudden falls, as well as “natural biohazards”, from mold, fungus and feces.

Realizing one of the dangers, the Asbestos Justice website highlighted the health risks associated with older buildings.

They said: “As many derelict buildings are derelict and in disrepair, there are inherent dangers to urban exploration, with dangerous floors and broken glass at sites. There may also be hidden dangers, such than asbestos.

“Besides the health risks associated with urban exploration, there are also legal issues, as trespassing may be involved. This would cause problems if someone were to continue to develop an asbestos condition. As the explorers urban are not employees of the companies that own the buildings, the occupant’s civil liability insurance would have to be traced, which could prove very difficult.

“Furthermore, if explorers had broken into or climbed fences to enter sites, it could be said that they were there illegally and no asbestos-related compensation could potentially be recovered.”

Screenshots from @yoitsramy's video.
Screenshots from @yoitsramy’s video. Inside the castle were furniture, books and even toys.
@yoitsramy

Talk to NewsweekAwad, who has been exploring the city for 8 years, said: “It is a neo-Renaissance style castle which was built in 1868. There are over 100 rooms and well over 20 bedrooms. The castle also has a private chapel on the first floor.”

He remembers arriving at the property saying: “After discovering the rich history of this castle, I immediately fell in love and 2 weeks later I had booked my ticket to France.

“Getting inside was complicated as you had to walk through thick woods and rough terrain to get to this magnificent castle. When I was exploring inside, I was struck by a lot of emotions.

“The rich history combined with knowing that once great memories had taken place here really appealed to me.

“While exploring the castle, we found a really unusual rope in one of the upstairs servants’ rooms that came down from the ceiling, and it seemed to open a panel with a secret room above it. None of us would dare go up there to check.”

The interior echoed its grand past, with plush rugs, upholstered chairs, and expensive wallpaper, albeit peeling in places, still inside. The dining room contained crockery in the cupboards, while the table was set with what appeared to be fine china.

Screenshots from @yoitsramy's video.
Screenshots from @yoitsramy’s video. The urban explorer claimed that the castle had more than 100 rooms.
@yoitsramy

Pictures hung on the walls, beds with quilts and pillows sat in rooms filled with trinkets, and books adorned large bookcases, while a doll and a child’s pram eerily sat by the imposing staircase.

“One thing that really upset me while exploring was seeing others vandalizing and tagging the staircase.

“It broke my heart to see the story treated so badly. The smell of black mold and old furniture fills the air inside the castle,” Awad noted. One of the most unique pieces was an all-green interior filled with vintage sewing machines.

He said Newsweek: “My favorite room by far was a room where there were knitting stations (probably for servants). There was this beautiful shade of green inside the room.”

Awad claims the lavish property was once home to Norwegian businessman Engelhart Cornelius Østby, who died in the maritime tragedy on April 14, 1912.

Østby, born in 1847, was a jeweler and married Lizzy Macy Webster, according to Encyclopedia-titanica.org, and they had five children, four sons and a daughter, before his death in 1899.

Østby was a first class passenger and boarded with his daughter, Helen Ragnhild Ostby. She survived, but her father perished. Østby’s body was found and he was buried in Providence, Rhode Island.

Awad claimed he came across documents inside the castle linking the Norwegian to the castle.

He said the castle, located in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of France, had been abandoned since 2003. Awad asked that the name be kept secret, in a bid to deter further deterioration of the castle.

This has been picked up by a group created in 2020 dedicated to its preservation, which has a petition on Change.org calling for action to restore the structure.

“During the summer of 2020, it had become one of the most famous castles in the Urbex world”, he says, translated into English. He claims the castle has current owners, but describes them as “absent”.

“The association has decided to take matters into its own hands by reducing vandalism, covering broken windows and doors, some of which were destroyed by vandals,” the petition states.

While also pointing out the damaged stairs, they said: ‘The castle staircase has been fully tagged and other significant damage is visible.’

Commenting on the online video, Purple Pretzel said, “Such a waste of a beautiful home.”

Dyvf9h2dqfbt thought, “Reminds me of young Vecna’s house in stranger things.”

“It infuriates me so much when I see people graffiti beautiful relics like this and destroy its beauty,” @skyethefox24 added.

Screenshots from @yoitsramy's video.
Screenshots from @yoitsramy’s video. The urban explorer shared the interior of a French chateau.
@yoitsramy
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