In Périgord, in the region of The Dordogne in France stands Château Le Paluel, a 15th-century castle with a long and colourful history that includes being attacked by Nazis during WW II, as well as appearing in the iconic 1968 comedy film Le Tatoué, starring Jean Gabin and Louis de Funès. Now, the property is about to go up for auction, and members of the public can invest in its future for just €50.
Launched last month by the Adopte un château association in partnership with the crowdfunding agency Dartagnans, the project is currently aiming to raise a grand total of €500,000 to purchase the castle, which currently has a reserve price of €250,000. Each donor that contributes will become an owner of one or several shares, creating a company that will function in a democratic manner, with a management board and annual general meetings. If successful, the second step in the project will be to set a goal for the restoration and reuse of the property, with stockholders being invited to bring ideas forward.
With two weeks remaining, the project currently has just under €350,000, with over 4500 contributors bringing it to the 70% mark. If the project fails to reach its goal of €500,000, the funding will be sent back to donors. Response to the campaign has been positive, leading the organisers to be hopeful of its chances of success. “So far it’s the fastest growing crowdfunding campaign ever launched in France, both regarding the amount and the number of backers. What amazed us the most is seeing every backer so enthusiastic about the project. We really feel like we are creating a new movement in France and worldwide,” said Romain Delaume, co-founder of Dartagnans.
The auction to decide the fate of Château Le Paluel is due to take place on 21 September, and if the campaign reaches its goal, it will see 10,000 people signing up to be partners in the project. The organisers have said that the renovation of the castle will be spread out over several years, and they plan to work closely with architects and state services to ensure the highest quality of work.
Romain also said that similar projects are likely to follow this one in the coming months. More information on the crowdfunding project is available at the Dartagnans website.