The Chateau des Termelles at Abilly is currently owned by a British couple called Ron and Maureen Bates. They run it as holiday accommodation and an events venue [link]. Previously the chateau had been Abilly's aged care home (a new one has been built behind the chateau now).
These days the chateau overlooks a park of 6 hectares. Outbuildings to the east include an orangerie with the impressive rusting metal frame of a large conservatory or greenhouse built by the Eiffel company at the back. I've seen this from the road but so far not stopped to take a photo.
The chateau was built in 1865 for Joseph Pinet, an agricultural machinery parts manufacturer. The foundry he established in the town in 1820 is still going strong and employs 27 people, making parts for tractors and trailers for 150 clients. The workers skills in metallurgy are no longer supported by the State Education system, so on the job training is really important now. The management is very conscious of the impact a foundry has on a small village, both in a positive sense as an important employer, but also the potential negatives such as pollution. The factory now recycles all its waste and reuses the sand used to make moulds. They have also installed chimney filters and caps to capture particles, and replaced the old furnaces with induction furnaces using clean energy.
Many foundries closed in the 1980s, victims of Chinese competition. The foundry at Abilly survived by diversifying into home decor, making candelabras for the North African market. They also successfully promoted their park benches and rubbish bins to municipalities. They make parts for locks and hydraulic pumps, but rarely the complete product in these sectors. And as the manager points out, there is a more or less insatiable demand for automobile parts.
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