Lonely Planet Writer

Thousands of people come together to save a gorgeous French chateau

Owning an enchanting French chateau may seem like something that’s only possible in a fairytale. But the dream has just come true –at least in part – for the more than 7000 people who have come together to save a historic castle from ruin.

Just months ago, the 13th-century Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers faced an uncertain future, with ruin or demolition potential fates for the gorgeous but run-down estate. An initiative was launched by Dartagnans, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to preserving cultural heritage, and the group Adopte un Château, with the aim of bringing together thousands of people to buy the castle. The castle is located in the Poitou-Charentes region of France and had a long history before it apparently fell into disrepair following a fire in the 1930s. Described as having a “simultaneously fanciful and tragic story,” the castle is now facing a much brighter future, with restorations and a potential opening to the public.

The ruined castle of La Mothe-Chandeniers, in Les Trois-Moutiers, central western France. Image by GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images

According to the crowdfunding site, this is the first project of its kind in France, with donors becoming part of a group of shareholders who can decide the future of the building. “The idea is to create a collective future for this castle and to allow castle lovers to become its guardians”. Donors could pay as little as €50 to become a part of the large group of owners. Organisers say that while it’s difficult to have thousands of owners of one building, the project will be established as a company where each donor can own shares, and the company will work “in a democratic manner, with a management board and an annual general meeting.”

There’s also still time to join the ranks of the buildings future owners. Organisers are still looking for another €500,000 to spend on repairs, and those who donate will get to take pride in saving a little bit of history. Find out more here.