Want to buy a chateau in France? For as little as €50, you can! It sounds like a line you’d hear on a late-night infomercial, but one company is actually putting this to the test.
Dartagnans is a crowdfunding platform “exclusively dedicated to the promotion and preservation of heritage, art and culture in France”. Basically, they set up “campaigns” for various forgotten chateaus and religious buildings, and encourage people to donate a small amount of money so they can preserve and restore the country’s historic architectural beauty.
They’ve already secured funding for 27 chateaus so far, and eight more projects are currently underway. With a minimum donation of €50, it took only 40 days to come up with the €500,000 needed to purchase the 13th Century structure Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers, which was in danger of being bought by an investor who might raze the crumbling structure.
For an additional €1, each donor will be offered shares in a company set up to run the chateau. According to the Dartagnans website, “the company will then work in a democratic manner, with a management board and an annual general meeting.”
“The idea is not just about raising the money, but getting as many people as possible to participate in saving this magical, fairytale place,” Romain Delaume, Dartagnans founder, told The Guardian back when the project had just 7,400 backers. “The more the merrier.”
The 9,944 (and counting) backers from around the world have raised enough to purchase the building, but more is needed to make it safe and begin restoration work. To date, nearly €900,000 has been donated for Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers alone, with opportunities to participate available until Christmas 2017.
And if you miss out on this chateau, don’t worry! There are plenty more just waiting to be rescued.