In a move that's the inspired marriage of Kickstarter and '80s childhood favorite World Wildlife Foundation Adopt-an-Endangered-Species campaigns, Adopte un Château wants to crowdsource heritage home preservation in an effort to save and restore France's more than 30,000 aging castlelike properties — some dating back to the Middle Ages, many of them currently abandoned or in complete ruin.
Founded in 2015 as a partnership with French crowdfunding company Dartagnans, Adopte un Château creates campaigns for each castle, chateau, or other French country estate it deems in jeopardy, then allows preservation fans to buy shares in each property for as little as 50 euros.
Auction reserve prices for each "adoptable" chateau are set at 250,000 euros, and when the funding ceiling is met at 500,000 euros then a company will be formed and each of the multitude of donors can officially call themselves a "chatelain" as part of a shareholder group.
Much like Kickstarter, if the goal is not reached, then donors are not charged. Current fundraising projects can be viewed under "Projets" at AdopteUnChateau.com (we call out a list of favorite current projects, below), and 1 euro per month supporter memberships are also available.
According to the organization's page on Teaming, "Adopt a Chateau is a network of 40 castles in peril for which restoration problems are immense...and further [we] decided to make heritage an economic force, creating jobs, local development and mobilization." My French is extremely rusty, but it seems as though groups of university preservationists and other local volunteers and craftsmen will be called upon to begin restorations once each property is purchased or each project is fully funded.
Londoner turned Parisian blogger and preservation advocate Vanessa Grall, author of Don't Be a Tourist in Paris, featured an in-depth discovery of the organization this week on her blog, Messy Nessy — including her own efforts working to petition Dartagnan to save personal favorite fairytale properties, like Château du Duc d'Epernon in Fontenay-Trésigny (featured in the video above). Grall happened upon and fell hard for the chateau just 30 minutes outside Paris during a road trip this past May, and quickly found it already has a 900-member Facebook group trying to save it.
"As shareholder [through Adopte un Chateau], you would be part of the castle's future, making decisions at annual meetings, working with a management board and more– depending on how many shares you buy!" Grall writes on her blog.
Here are just a few of the chateaux currently available to "adopt" around the French countryside, with links to their Adopte un Chateau information pages:
- Château de Pisy
- Château de Meauce
- Château de Montbrian
- Château de Cercamp
- Château de Lévis
h/t Messy Nessy Chic