Crowdfunding Conservation

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The ruined castle of La Mothe-Chandeniers in central western France. The crowdfunding site Dartagnans organized an effort to buy the chateau for 500,000 euros. Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images

Thanks to National Public Radio (USA) for this signal that trust, the cement of civilization, is alive and well in some quarters:

7,500 Strangers Just Bought A Crumbling French Chateau Together

It’s late 2017. By now, crowdfunding has been used to finance filmsboard gamesclassical musicscientific research and infertility treatments.

Dart.jpgAdd this to the list of things bought with collective purchasing power: A chateau in the French countryside, complete with moat.

Mais oui!

The platform used to raise the funds announced on Friday that the castle had been purchased by milliers d’internautes – that is, thousands of Internet users, who each paid at least 50 euros (about $60) to “adopt” the chateau and help restore it. In just 40 days, the site raised the 500,000 euros it needed to buy it.

“It’s done, it’s historic!” it said. “The Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers now belongs to thousands of Internet users. Through this collective purchase, we believe in the preservation and development of the heritage of tomorrow and prove that civic strength is always the greatest.”

According to the campaign’s organizers, the chateau dates to the 13th century, and it was looted and abandoned during the French Revolution. In 1809, a rich Parisian entrepreneur bought and restored it; later, a squire of Emperor Napoleon III undertook a massive, Romantic-style reconstruction. In March 1932, a fire broke out, destroying the roof and causing the chateau to be abandoned once more.

Sweeping aerial video of the castle (with requisite dramatic music) makes it look both amazing and decrepit. Trees grow where the roof would be, and the stone walls are mottled with moss. The building is almost entirely open to the elements.

Read the whole story here.

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