French chateau on sale for €50 a share through crowdfunding campaign

More than 2,400 people have ‘invested’ so far

Helen Coffey
Thursday 11 October 2018 19:16 BST
French castle on sale for €50 a share through crowdfunding campaign

A crumbling French chateau is up for sale via a crowdfunding campaign, which aims to raise enough money to collectively purchase and restore the historic building.

The 14th century castle of Ebaupinay in Deux-Sèvres has so far attracted pledges totalling €239,000 from 2,400 people since the campaign started a month ago.

Contributors automatically become shareholders in the castle, with shares priced at €50 each.

It’s the second campaign of this kind; the first, launched in 2017 by French crowdfunding site Dartagnans, which aims to save the country’s cultural heritage, and Adopte un Château, an association formed to restore and protect French castles, successfully raised enough to buy Château de la Mothe Chandeniers in the Poitou-Charentes region of France.

Some €834,064 was donated by 27,910 castle enthusiasts from all over the world.

“The idea is simple: a company owning the castle is set up at the end of the campaign,” the organisations said in a statement. “Each donor then becomes a shareholder of said company, holding a number of shares proportionate to the amount they have contributed. The company then works democratically, with a board of directors and an annual general meeting.”

With a target of €650,000, the latest campaign needs to raise another €411,000 over the next two and a half months.

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If the goal is achieved, there are grand plans to take Ebaupinay from a forgotten pile to an innovative tourist attraction.

The chateau, which burnt down during the Vendée Wars in 1796, will be transformed into “a large open-air medieval construction site, as might have existed more than 500 years ago,” offering an immersive experience to give visitors a taste of what life was like in the Middle Ages.

“The restoration programme will be conducted using medieval techniques and materials of the time, fully produced on site.”

Dartagnans claims the restoration of Ebaupinay will revitalise the local economy, creating numerous sustainable jobs.

Château de la Mothe Chandeniers, which had previously been abandoned for 85 years, is already open to the public. It has hosted thousands of visitors in a matter of weeks, according to Dartagnans and Adopt un Chateau.

Potential patrons have until 25 December to buy a share of Ebaupinay castle; €60 ensures delivery of a Christmas box, complete with membership card and certificate of co-ownership.

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