Trees are growing out of what were once magnificent halls, and the bridge to the main entrance is overgrown with grass and bushes. Although the castle of La Mothe-Changeniers has been falling into disrepair for decades, the playful bay windows and the countless chimneys show what a jewel the now decaying building must have been.
Since the 13th century, not only has La Mothe-Changeniers changed hands, but so has the architecture. In 1870 the former castle was rebuilt into this moated castle in a romantic style. The building was doomed on March 13, 1932. The owner, Baron Robert Lejeune, had just successfully had central heating installed in the walls when a fire broke out. Antique paintings, a richly stocked library, centuries-old pieces of furniture – everything fell victim to the flames. After that there were a few new owners, but the jewel was not restored. And has been falling apart ever since.
Donations for the castle
Until 2017, when a fundraiser wanted to save the castle from complete decay. On the French side “Dartagnans‘, which raises money for listed properties, people donated to not only buy the castle but also to start the restoration. The new owners get shares that identify them as co-owners of the property.
In April 2019, the first “owners” were able to visit their ruins – at least from the outside. As reported by the French media, around 25,000 people have supported the castle financially, a total of 1.6 million euros have been raised. The restoration of the facility will now begin with the money. Therefore, the castle cannot be visited from the inside. There will also be a restaurant at the castle during the summer months, according to Logan Ballois, a guide at Château de la Mothe-Changeniers France3. The gardens of the castle are open to the public and can be visited. Visitors can take a guided tour for around 11 euros through the castle, if you want to discover everything on your own, you pay at least five euros.