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.
The castle is located in the French town of Les Trois-Moutiers in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France. Surrounded by a moat, it cuts a striking figure in the grassy landscape. First built by the powerful Baucay family, during the middle ages it survived being captured twice by English armies — and was plundered and pillaged during the French Revolution. Powerful Parisian businessman Francois Hennecart sought to restore the building in the early 1800s.
In the late 19th century, ownership fell to Baron Lejeune Edgar, a party-lover who hosted soirees in the castle. But la Mothe-Chandeniers met a dramatic end in 1932, when fire wiped out its interior — destroying a library full of priceless tomes, important tapestries and paintings.
In 1981, teacher Marc Deyemer purchased the crumbling château — hoping to transform it to its former glory. However the expense and the extent of the project proved too complicated. But in a happy twist of fate, the castle has been given a new lease of life.
A crowdfunding campaign was set up at the end of October 2017 with the goal of raising money to preserve the historic building. As well as pledging money, supporters become an official adopter of the Château. “We launched the project as a new concept,” adds Delaume. Over 8000 people got involved, with the campaign — and close to 750,000 euros ($880,000) has been raised so far.
The next step is to finally get the key of the castle and then organize the entry of thousands of co-owners.
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