€59 to own a slice of an iconic French Château

Château de Boulogne-la-Grasse. Image: Patrick via flickr.com under CC BY-SA 2.0
Château de Boulogne-la-Grasse. Image: Patrick via flickr.com under CC BY-SA 2.0

Château de Boulogne-la-Grasse is an iconic French Château only an hour from Paris, and if you have a spare €59 (less if you’re a French citizen), you too can become a co-owner of it.

The château was built in the late 19th century by Count Charles de Boulogne, a wealthy Belgian landowner, and features innovative architecture for its period. Postcards from when the château was at its prime show an eclectic design, with medieval turrets placed next to minarets. Even at the time of construction, the building was an architectural curiosity.

However, the Count had unknowingly built it his castle in a risky location. During the First World War, the château was situated very close to the front lines, and became an important strategic location for both French and German soldiers throughout the war. Unfortunately, the building did not survive the numerous bombardments during the war, and was left in ruins by 1919. A restoration project was undertaken for over 20 years after the war, but the building was never fully restored.

Nowadays, you might even mistake the château for the set of a horror movie with its ruined spires and abandoned gardens.

This unique setting has attracted French crowdfunding platform Dartagnans, who specialise in crowdfunding heritage conservation and restoration projects. Dartagnans is similar to platforms such as GoFundMe.com or Kickstarter.com, where individuals can invest small amounts of money in return for a reward when the project is completed. In this case, the reward for €59 is becoming a castellan, or rather, a co-castellan, of the château.

The title is, however, only ceremonial. When the restoration project is completed, those who have pledged the money will be entitled to free lifetime entry, the right to vote at future meetings, and volunteering opportunities at the site. The other reward, of course, will be seeing iconic heritage safeguarded and restored.

This is also not Dartagnans’ first project: the start-up has already funded the collective purchase of three castles, and claims to have over 40,000 château co-owners from across the world.

For those who want to buy into heritage properties and live there too, there are other options: in Italy, buyers might only have to pay a single euro for a house in a historic village, and in 2021 French property blog Dream French Properties listed a 14th century priory for the low cost of €70,000. Of course, most of these properties are uninhabitable without renovations, and buyers are required to plan and pay for the construction themselves, likely in the tens of thousands of euros.

€59 might not get you a historic roof over your head, but it will save you from the headaches of cultural heritage management.

Find out more about the project at Culturez-Vous and the official crowdfunding page (Both French).

This article was originally published in English. Texts in other languages are AI-translated. To change language: go to the main menu above.