AMIS DE LA CHAPELLE
Forgotten Chapel in french countryside.
The story behind the Chapel
If you follow my Instagram you know a partial story of the forgotten Chapel. You might wonder what on earth is going on with the little Chapel in our garden. We don't own the Chapel and the ground where the Chapel is standing.
Our notaire (like a property lawyer in France) told us that the sale of the house was not included the Chapel. Yes, that can happen in France if the Chapel holds a special memory to the previous owner. They don’t want to sell it and keep it in the family. We didn't mind that the Chapel wasn't belonged to the house, as we wanted to respect the previous owner's special memories. I never paid attention to it and found her crumbling down a few years ago. I found out that the owner of the house around the 1920s wanted to donate the chapel to the local church but it never happened because all the heirs didn't sign the paper to complete the transaction.
I don’t know when the chapel was constructed but it was dedicated a young man who was born on 10th September 1896 and died 31st October 1916 during the WWI at the age of 20 years young. I know that he used to live in the house.
Sadly about 3 years ago, which was 2 years after we became the owner of our house, Our antique dealer discovered that the Chapel door was wide open and it was falling into pieces. You might wonder how I didn’t notice it, the chapel is located at the far corner of our garden. There is no reason for me to go in that direction.
I immediately contacted our village mayor but he wasn’t very helpful. My neighbor tried to help me to figure out what happened to the chapel, as everyone believed that it was donated to the local church. The story is that the few people who got inherited the chapel didn’t sign the paper so the transaction was never completed and it still belongs to the family.
We were able to find the tax record and found the owner who is now 92 years old woman and a few people who own the chapel with her. Her older daughter was paying the tax. However, there was the second marriage of the owner’s father and the children from the second marriage couldn’t be located at this stage.
We were going to at least place the tarp to prevent the further damage last year but I was told by the lawyer not to do anything until we locate everyone who inherited the chapel. What a shame! Some of the close friends and French friends warned us not to take the chapel to restore as the cost of the restoration will be enormous. For example, 80000 Euros for the dome ceiling and the roof, not to mention the whole interior walls, stained glass windows, altar, door restoration, etc. We don't even know if the structure is sound. Our antique dealer estimates the cost of the restoration around 150000 Euros or more. That’s a lot of money but I believe and hope that there will be a solution to every problem.
My husband and I will be moving to France after my husband retires in 2019. My heart is breaking as I don’t really know what to do with the chapel. Can't leave it as is and can't take it as is.
I hope to restore it and I am willing to do anything to save the chapel even if I have to sell all my linen collections, get a job and rent out the house as much as I can or do anything to raise the fund to at least delay the further damage until I can sort everything out. I need to find a solution to this gigantic issue. That’s the short story of behind the forgotten chapel so far.
If you have any ideas what I should do, feel free to contact me.