A historic, crumbling castle in France is in the curious position of having almost 10,000 owners. Yet no one actually lives there.
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to save the decaying La Mothe-Chandeniers from collapse or being snapped up by developers.
As of last week the campaign had raised???811,000 ($1.25 million) from 9900 contributors.
Each contributor has paid a minimum of ???50 to go towards restoring the building, and in return they have been offered shares in a company set up to run it.
The company organising the campaign, Dartagnans, says by making donators co-owners of the building, the project is the first of its kind in the world.
The co-owners will also have a say in how the building is restored, and will be among the first to visit the site in 2018 when it’s opened to the public.
Dartagnans founder Romain Delaume said the project was also about capturing imaginations across the world.
“The idea isn’t just about raising the money, but getting as many people as possible to participate in saving this magical, fairytale place,” Delaume told the Guardian. “The more the merrier.” Related: Forget Australian houses, buy a chateau for lessRelated: The Australian couple restoring a French chateauRelated: Restored French chateau reminiscent of the Disney Castle
La Mothe-Chandeniers is in France’s Poitou-Charentes region, about 320 kilometres south-west of Paris. The oldest parts of the castle were constructed in the early 13th century by its owners, the Bau??ay family.
It was seized twice by English fighters during the Middle Ages and has been passed through several descendants, including Baron Edgard Lejeune, who in 1870 reconstructed it in the Romantic style.
A fire caused damage to the building in the 1930s and since then a series of owners have been unable to restore it, allowing greenery to emerge from the stone windows, turrets and balconies.
It is not classified as a heritage-listed building.
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