Gran Case
Jean François Hodoul
Arab Tombs

© Guy Van Heygen 2003


Grande Case  

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In 1860 Auguste built a house at La Passe in front of the passage through the reef. ( La Passe is Creole for passage) First there was only the ground floor, existing of 5 rooms; his study, overlooking the passage, so he could see every incoming ship, his bedroom and a guest room, all in the front, and in the back 2 bigger bedrooms for the children, one for the girls and one for the boys. The whole house is built in local takamaka wood, about 1,5 meter above the ground, for safety raisons, as well to obtain a better aeration of the building. Years later a storey was added, and later the thatched roof was replaced by a metal roof. The bathroom, kitchen and dining room are separated from the main house for hygienic reasons. The bathroom (now a days adapted to modern needs) is right behind the main house, and the kitchen is behind the dining room. During the Daubans the dining room was decorated with expensive furniture and china peculiar to this colonial period. Airco did not exist, so a young boy from the village pulled a rope to make work a fan. Some guides wrongly say that it was a young slave who pulled the rope, but slavery was forbidden since 1835, and the house was only built in 1860. The pulley still can be seen above a door in the dining room. On the very wide veranda surrounding the house lays an old canoe, typical for the Seychelles, built in the beginning of last century. All the cupper nails are handmade, the wood is takamaka, and it took 8 man 6 hours to make the 20 km passage to Mahé. Today  Grande Case is empty and abandoned. The tropical weather conditions are not favourable for the condition of this splendid colonial estate.There is some confusion about the ownership of Grande Case. IDC pretends they left Grande Case for 20 years to the French, the French deny this. Anyway “Grande Case” is still there, and renovation is very necessary. Whose responsibility it may be, Seychelles has to take care of its inheritance. It would be a shame that such an example of ancient Seychelles architecture should be lost. There is no time to loose.