Economy

Strangers Club Together to Save Crumbling French Castle

Strangers Club Together to Save Crumbling French Castle”

In a little over 40 days, 8000 strangers have banded together to raise over $776,000 (€500,000) in order to purchase a crumbling French chateau and save it from ruin.

The Mothe-Chandeniers chateau in Les Trois-Moutiers, western France has been through some tough times.

It's the brainchild of cultural heritage conservation organisation, the "Dartagnans", who will now work with the band of owners to fix the decaying chateau and then open it to the public.

It was captured twice by the English, nearly destroyed in the French Revolution and later damaged by fire in the 1930s.

In total, 45 different nationalities took part in the effort, so people from all over the world now have a stake in the piece of French heritage.

While none will be able to move into the storied digs, each donor will be offered shares in a company set up in 2018 to run the chateau, for an additional €1 donation.

"Two years ago we put a insane bet" the organizers wrote on the page opened on Facebook to promote their efforts.

It wasn't until 1809 that Parisian entrepreneur François Hennecart took ownership of La Mothe-Chandeniers, installing a vineyard and making extensive repairs.

Over the years the property was passed to various descendants, and was inhabited by Baron Edgard Lejeune, who undertook a massive reconstruction in 1870 in a Romantic style, and threw lavish parties in the chateau.

According to The Guardian, this particular castle has never been designated as a historic building or landmark, so there was nothing protecting it from being destroyed. Countless antiques, priceless paintings and rare books were lost. "I'm tempted to declare it a ruin so it can be destroyed", Deyemer said five years ago.

Has this ever been done before?

Chateau le Paluel in Perigord in the Dordogne region was seized by the state after concerns that the impressive building was falling into a state of irreversible disrepair.



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