The abandoned hamlet of Courbefy, my first visit here was in 2012 when i stumbled on an article about a hamlet who luck had run short, beautifully situated on the top of a peak of 554m, it was important enough to house its own XIIIth chateau fort, destroyed in 1659 by the Consuls of Limoges as it was being used as a bandits hideout, It is noted in old texts that in 1272 the seigneur de Courbefy was Geraud de Maulmont who owned many chateaux in the area including Chalucet, Chalus (where Richard the Lionheart suffered his last fatal blow) Bre, Bourdeilles, Saint Pardoux la Riviere and others.
The hamlet was shortly to come up for auction, after being taken back by the banks sometime in 2008, the hamlet was at that stage was an established but failing restaurant and holiday village (some articles state the owner left in 2005), also home to a beautiful but basic church of the XIIIth century, the villages history has been dated to at least pre Roman, but the last real habitants of Courbefy left during the 1970’s, it was at this time it was turned into a posh holiday village with tennis courts before being converted into a hotel/restaurant during the 1990’s.
The auction passes and its seems Courbefy will not find a buyer, €300,000, no-one wants it, but news was passing about on social media and the news about the empty hamlet of Courbefy that was looking for another chance and in 2013, the hamlet is up for auction again, but this time it finds a buyer, selling for €520,000 to Ahea after he saw the property come up on CNN and thought it would make a great artist retreat.
Ahae was a Millionaire South Korean Businessman/Artist (Real Name – Yoo Byung-eun), known in the photography world for holding (and paying for) his own exhibits which included grand venues like the Chateau de Versailles, However in 2014 tragedy was to strike one of Ahea’s business when a ferry with a company he owns, crashed resulting in the deaths of more than 300 people mostly teenagers, he would shortly after take his own life.
In October 15, 2015, an informal collective, the “Centre de Recherche International pour un Monde Meilleur (International Research Centre for a better world)” settled in the lower part of Courbefy. This CRIMM is intended to be a non-market place, open to artistic, cultural and associative activities. Its occupants invited all to join them to experiment, to dialogue, to imagine a better world. The first arrivals do not want to seize the place: they want to ask the question of its social usefulness, of the question of the common good of a place rich in history, and abandoned for too many years. By the end of October they will all be evicted by the tribunal courts of Limoges.
In 2016 the Estate handing Ahea’s Assets said they still wish to continue with Ahea’s original project but as of yet nothing seems finalised and again the hamlet sits empty and abandoned.