Crowdfunding for Castles: Strangers Rally to Save 13th-Century French Chateau

A group of strangers have banded together to keep a fairy tale alive.

That’s the idea behind a crowdfunding campaign to preserve the Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a 13th-century castle that looks as if it was taken out of a Disney movie.

Rather than see developers destroy the building, backers have raised more than $1.3 million to save the historic home — complete with turrets, towers and a sizeable moat – located roughly 200 miles southwest of Paris in Les Trois Moutiers.

As little as $60 will entitle contributors to a share in the company that owns Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers. So far, more than 13,000 donors from at least 100 nationalities have become part owners, which offers them a say in the chateau’s development and the chance to be among its first visitors.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of the free cowdfunding platform, said nonprofit organizations have only begun to scratch the surface to crowdfund historic projects centered on restoration and renovation

“This crowdfunding project demonstrates the power of the internet to rally many people to unite behind a good cause,” she said. 

The oldest sections of the chateau were built in the 1200s. Since then, the building has survived two English occupations during the Middle Ages as well as an upheaval amid the French Revolution.

Major restorations, in 1809 and 1870, helped incorporate the original building into a more Romantic style home. The structure was already in a state of disrepair when a math teacher acquired the building in 1981. The owner did his best to preserve the site, but not enough to prevent nature from sprouting greenery from windows and rooftops.

Organizers of the crowdfunding campaign say another €500,000 is needed for essential work to make the building safe. The goal is to reach 50,000 visitors by 2021 and 70,000 by 2022. The chateau will also host exhibitions and historical re-enactments and seek extra funds by renting out the property to film and production companies.

Do you have a historic preservation project? How about using Uhelp, the free crowdfunding platform.

About the Author: Staff Writer for