• France's news in English

See how squatters left a French widow's home

Ben McPartland · 3 Jun 2015, 10:48

Published: 03 Jun 2015 10:48 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

For soon to be 84-year-old French widow Maryvonne it was a bitter sweet victory.

First came the good news that a court had ruled in favour that the squatters, who for 18 months had occupied her home in Rennes, western France, were to be evicted.

But then came the moment when her family finally got back into her house and saw the scene of devastation.

(Squatters hang banners from the balcony declaring their right to stay. Photo: AFP)

“I am sickened, they have wrecked everything,” her son Pierre Thamin told Ouest-France newspaper.

Images taken from inside her house show walls are covered in graffiti, much of it anti-fascist, litter strewn around the floor of every room, computers smashed to pieces.

And the squatters even left a rather bizarre insult to the son himself, daubing one wall with the words “Pierre Thamin, big fascist”.

Maryvonne, infirm and visually impaired, had left her house to live with her partner, which gave squatters the opportunity to move in. They defended their right to be there saying the house had remained unoccupied for seven years.


But when her partner died she tried to return but found her home occupied with the squatters refusing to budge.

At first it appeared they would be able to keep her out of her home permanently, due to a law in France that says home owners must take action within 48-hours of squatters moving in. If not they could be left powerless.

But after her story gained nationwide coverage a high court judge ruled that police could finally throw them out.

But it may be a long time before she can get back in.

Story continues below…

“The house is totally uninhabitable,” said her son.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available