Postcard from... Paris


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The Independent Online


A French château owner has come up with a modern way to help fund a renovation of its historic gallery filled with 17th-century wall paintings: crowdfunding.

The Châteaux de Gizeux on the Loire has appealed to the generosity of online donors via the site Mymajorcompany. The target amount is limited to €2,000 each time in order to be sure they reach the target. If they fail, they must hand the money back.

The château has already raised more than three times the target amount towards the restoration of its “gallery of châteaux” depicting the best-known castles in France. It has €6,595 (£5,650) towards the total budget of more than €1m, according to Mymajorcompany. Depending on the size of the donation, contributors are thanked by rewards in kind, such as free visits and dinner with the owners.

Because of the huge costs involved, château owner Géraud de Laffon says the work won’t be done “all in one go”. With the crowdfunding added to other donations, he is preparing to restore a first panel representing the royal palace of Fontainebleau, with a budget of €80,000.

Another château, Château de Caumale in Gascony, needs to restore wooden flooring of the towered medieval building so it can reopen to the public. It has overtaken the €2,000 ceiling. As for the third château in the group, in partnership with the US-funded French Heritage Society, the owners of the Château de la Bussière are combating dry rot. They have obtained €4,455 thanks to the online funding drive.