The man from the south west city of Bordeaux moved to the retirement home two months ago, reports regional newspaper Ouest France.
Since then, his house has been illegally lived in by squatters.
Police decided the house needed a clean following the squat and told the man of their plans. This prompted him to remember the treasure in the basement.
"My gold ingots are somewhere in the cellar," he told police.
When police searched the basement, they found the treasure trove in a jar sitting on top of a wooden crate. It was nestled between piles of junk.
The man has now been escorted to a local bank where he was able to deposit his gold reserves safely.