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Owning a French castle – From a Dream To Reality

The castles of France are unlike any other. They range from fancy, to small and simple; but they all have one thing in common: every castle has a story behind it that makes it so special!

Some people dream since they were kids about owning their own personal French castle with cobblestone streets leading up to the gates. For others, inheriting property is just an expectation-a family tradition passed down through generations for centuries. And then there’s those who buy these majestic structures because of the beauty or history within them, no matter how old or new…all kinds come together under this banner called “French Castles.”

Check out our latest projects that you can be a part of. https://savingcastles.com/our-causes/

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Inside a French Château During a Painstaking Restoration

Contemporary art dealer Pierre-Alain Challier fell in love with a romantic castle as a boy and finally fulfilled his dream of one day ruling the roost.

When asking children what they would like to be when they grow up, the answers are often about being a firefighter, a movie star, or living in a castle. In the case of French contemporary art dealer Pierre-Alain Challier, living in a castle was his boyhood aspiration and today he is not too far off the mark. “I grew up in a little village next to the Château de Lascours, about 435 miles south of Paris,” says Challier. “It was always the magical, rundown castle next door, like the one in Sleeping Beauty.” He and his friends would play on the estate’s grounds, even though they were forbidden from doing so. When he was 12, Challier wrote to the owner of the property, a prince, and asked if he could buy the smaller château in the woods. He never answered. “I then went to see him,” he recalls, “and he told me his family would never sell anything.”

Time marched on and Challier continued to fantasize about this romantic castle. He moved to Paris, opened his art gallery, but never forgot about this childhood dream. About 10 years ago, the estate’s owner died and bequeathed the huge property to a niece, who lived in Patagonia—and she had no plans of moving back. So in 2012, Challier and his partner, Bertrand de Latour, made an offer on the château and purchased the property, without ever having even been inside.

The first project was to replace all of the roofs—approximately 16,400 feet of it—just to keep the entire place from completely falling apart. Then work began on the expansive park and gardens. The property had been abandoned for many years, and as is often the case with such properties, had been stripped of all its mantles and anything that could be carted off and sold or repurposed. “Maybe this in a way would give me the chance to do something new,” Challier comments. “I want to respect the exterior and the way it was, but be a bit more flexible with the interiors.”

Challier’s family still lives one village away and all of them have enthusiastically embraced the renovation project. “This is the project of a lifetime, which will take just as long,” he says. “This place is magical, and I want to think about it for the next generation.” His hope is to set up a foundation for artists to stay on the property and create. “Not a gallery, but for exhibitions and for large-scale monumental works.” This is a long-term plan and a few artists have already come to visit, wander around the property, and imagine. Meantime, Challier was approached recently by a young man from a nearby village who told him he had also dreamed about this abandoned château his entire life, asking if he could be married there. Not one to shy away from a celebration, Challier agreed and the young couple said their vows on the grounds this summer. Another dream come true.

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Inside Dominic West’s Castle Home

In this episode of ‘Open Door,’ Dominic West takes us on a tour of Glin Castle, the Irish ancestral home of his wife Catherine FitzGerald’s family. The castle maintains its various period aesthetics, but with all the accoutrement of modern life. From the 10,000 year old Irish elk skull and antlers to the resident spirits and ghosts, Dominic and Catherine show us everything.

 

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Arundel Castle reopens to visitors as restrictions ease

ARUNDEL Castle has welcomed visitors back through its historic gates amid the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The building, which had remained closed over winter to carry out essential restoration work, reopened its doors today for the first time this year. Dating back to the 11th century, many of the castle’s original features, including the Norman keep, medieval gatehouse and barbican, remain today.

Like other attractions around Sussex, the castle has been forced to adapt to accommodate social distancing measures.

There is now a modified route that includes the Barons’ Hall, the library and the grand staircase where a recently restored 18th century tapestry can be seen.

Castle manager Stephen Manion said the historic keep will open once the restrictions are fully lifted.

He said: “Arundel Castle is delighted to open its doors to visitors as part of the steps out of lockdown.

“The fabulous rooms, art and furniture are all beautifully displayed within the magnificent castle building, parts of which date back to the 11th century.

“Due to social distancing, there is a modified route which includes the great Barons’ Hall, the amazing library and the grand staircase on which hangs the recently restored 18th century Gobelin tapestry, leading to the bedrooms.

“The historic keep will open later, when the restrictions are lifted, but can be admired from outside.

“The exciting medieval event from 29 May to 31 May will have falconry, the clash of steel and cries of victory from fearsome sword fighting displays.

“Aromas of cooking and the sound of the blacksmith will be accompanied by the pipe and drum of our musicians.

“For the young and young at heart, have-a-go archery will test their skills.”

Over the winter, a helicopter was used to carry materials in and out of the grounds, over the castle’s imposing walls. One highlight currently open to visitors is the Regency library, which contains 10,000 books. The staff remove and clean them individually each year when the castle closes.

The library is 122ft long and entirely fitted in Honduras mahogany and the oldest printed book is the Augsburg Bible, 1477. The grand Barons’ Hall, a view of the grand staircase and the dining room and drawing room are all also open until November 1.

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Culdees Castle Estate Now Undergoing Renovations

A RUINED castle that was left in a state of disrepair for over 50 years is undergoing renovations that will transform it into a new luxury venue, giving future guests the chance to holiday, wine and dine.  

Culdees Castle Estate, designed and built in 1810 for Charles Drummond, whose clan was rewarded for fighting with Robert the Bruce, has not been lived in since 1968, the new owners said. After gaining extensive experience in renovating properties and stumbling across the castle on a family holiday, Tracey Horton and Rob Beaton bought Culdees in the summer of 2019 and are “determined to restore the site to its former glory”.  

Ms Horton has extensive experience in property development and events management, and the pair have a long-term plan of restoring the whole castle. 

Following the purchase, the venture accessed a suite of Business Gateway’s start-up support services including advice on their business plan, marketing, and funding.

A dedicated adviser also provided guidance through regular virtual meetings and was able to signpost the couple to a business loan, helping them secure enough funding to turn their vision of turning the castle into a fully functioning venue into a reality.

After receiving Business Gateway’s support, the first phase of renovations is “making significant progress, and the estate now boasts a luxury glamping site with three cosy cabins, each named after previous custodians of the castle”.

Visitors to the site can enjoy hot tubs, fire pits and BBQs with direct views of the backlit castle. The couple hope to continue renovating the main body of the castle next year, and future plans include revamping the commercial kitchen and chapel, as well as designing a cosy whisky bothy. Ms Horton also hopes to develop a luxury champagne bar where guests can enjoy afternoon teas.

Ms Horton, managing director, Culdees Castle Estate, said: “We knew renovating Culdees Castle would be a big project, but we really appreciated the beauty of the building and were determined to transform it into something special. Perthshire has a great reputation for tourism, so we really needed to make Culdees stand out from the crowd.

“I have no doubt that the castle will give people something to look forward to as restrictions ease further, and I’m confident the venue will make a beautiful backdrop for the weddings that have been booked for later this year. We will continue to support Tracey and Rob as they continue their renovations and I look forward to seeing what they do next.” 

Learn more about how you can be involved in our latest projects. https://savingcastles.com/our-causes/

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This Chateau Has 10,000 Owners

La Mothe-Chandeniers is a romantic French château straight out of a storybook. Dating back to the 13th century, it now lies abandoned — and its turrets and towers have begun to crumble. But the chateau has seen an unexpected change of fortune — more than 10,000 people around the world have clubbed together to save the castle from decline. And the number’s continuing to grow. Each modern-day “knight in shining armor” has donated at least 50 euros ($58) toward salvaging the château.
And in return, each of those donors have been crowned co-owner of the castle. They won’t all be living there, but they will get a say in the castle’s regeneration — and be the first through the doors following its new lease of life.
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Welcome to Saving Castles

Saving Castles is a revolutionary platform that empowers collective funding for foundations, associations, individuals or government agencies who need help in financing their projects. Saving Castles connects directly with project holders to engage them collaboratively and financially on preserving European heritage.

With Saving Castles you can easily find other project holders willing to contribute funds all while connecting with like-minded people in the process.

The Saving Castles team has been working for years to preserve our cultural heritage. With the help of crowdfunding, they can work with project developers and patrons so that these projects get off the ground. They take care of all financial exchanges in order to ensure success for all parties involved!

The people at Saving Castles want you – yes YOU-to be a part of preserving your culture’s history through their platform which helps promote successful transactions between fundraisers and donors or borrowers/investors who are interested in supporting them financially.

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How to Buy and Renovate your own French Castle

They say an Englishman’s home is his castle – but for many Brits, Americans and others, the real dream is to buy a piece of history in the form of a French chateau.

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Advice for U.S, Citizens Buying Real Estate in France

In any ’normal’ year, France receives over 100,000 foreign nationals from all nationalities who wish to settle in this sought after European country.  This represents approximatively 10% of all property sales in the metropole.

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