Simonne Amouroux, originally from the northern Calvados department, had retired to the village of just 500 inhabitants with her husband, who died more than ten years ago.
Local newspaper La Dépêche du Midi reported that the village mayor, Jean-Paul Dujol, was shocked but delighted by the news.
“We always had excellent relations with Madame Amouroux,” he told the newspaper. “She never once mentioned, during all these years, her intention to make us the beneficiary of her savings.”
The village has been working on getting a facelift through road resurfacing, burying cables and adding more flowers.
“Simone Amouroux died the day before we inaugurated our ‘heart of the village’ operation,” said the mayor. “A few days later, her niece informed me of the bequest. Everything moved very quickly and we received the funds at the end of June.”
The mayor says the windfall will mean the village can borrow less to pay its bills.
Residents of the village are now looking for the best way to honour the memory of their generous former neighbour.
In the meantime, a ceremony will be held on October 29th at the family vault where she has been buried next to her husband.