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Pictures | Mon Dec 9, 2019 | 7:55pm GMT

Commoners buy fairytale French castle

A view shows the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at Les Trois-Moutiers, France. The chateau, a romantic ruin from the 13th century originally, standing on an island, has become a beloved place for its 25 000 co-owners, seduced by the elegant building ravaged by fire in 1932 and left to nature ever since, giving them the feeling of being a true "French chatelain".   REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view shows the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at Les Trois-Moutiers, France. The chateau, a romantic ruin from the 13th century originally, standing on an island, has become a beloved place for its 25 000 co-owners, seduced by the elegant building...more

A view shows the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at Les Trois-Moutiers, France. The chateau, a romantic ruin from the 13th century originally, standing on an island, has become a beloved place for its 25 000 co-owners, seduced by the elegant building ravaged by fire in 1932 and left to nature ever since, giving them the feeling of being a true "French chatelain". REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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For most of the year, Willy Nanlohij, a 62-year-old retired bank worker, lives with his wife Hilda in a comfortable yet unremarkable home in the Dutch city of Enschede.  
  REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

For most of the year, Willy Nanlohij, a 62-year-old retired bank worker, lives with his wife Hilda in a comfortable yet unremarkable home in the Dutch city of Enschede. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

For most of the year, Willy Nanlohij, a 62-year-old retired bank worker, lives with his wife Hilda in a comfortable yet unremarkable home in the Dutch city of Enschede. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
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But on Saturday night, the couple were trying out their new status as owners of a fairytale French chateau that dates back to the thirteenth century, and comes with turrets, a clock-tower and a moat. "It was a childhood dream," Nanlohij said. Surveying his property, his wife at his side, he added: "I feel something in my belly, excitement."   

REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

But on Saturday night, the couple were trying out their new status as owners of a fairytale French chateau that dates back to the thirteenth century, and comes with turrets, a clock-tower and a moat. "It was a childhood dream," Nanlohij said....more

But on Saturday night, the couple were trying out their new status as owners of a fairytale French chateau that dates back to the thirteenth century, and comes with turrets, a clock-tower and a moat. "It was a childhood dream," Nanlohij said. Surveying his property, his wife at his side, he added: "I feel something in my belly, excitement." REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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Their dream comes with a few caveats: they share ownership with 25,000 people who joined an innovative crowd-funding campaign (minimum contribution 50 euros), and the chateau is an uninhabitable ruin.     
REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Their dream comes with a few caveats: they share ownership with 25,000 people who joined an innovative crowd-funding campaign (minimum contribution 50 euros), and the chateau is an uninhabitable ruin. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Their dream comes with a few caveats: they share ownership with 25,000 people who joined an innovative crowd-funding campaign (minimum contribution 50 euros), and the chateau is an uninhabitable ruin. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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But none of that diluted the romance for Nanlohij when he joined 350 of those co-owners for a pre-Christmas party in the grounds, to get a taste of what it feels like to join the ranks of French chateau owners.  
REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

But none of that diluted the romance for Nanlohij when he joined 350 of those co-owners for a pre-Christmas party in the grounds, to get a taste of what it feels like to join the ranks of French chateau owners. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

But none of that diluted the romance for Nanlohij when he joined 350 of those co-owners for a pre-Christmas party in the grounds, to get a taste of what it feels like to join the ranks of French chateau owners. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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"As a little boy, I was fascinated by chateaux so today, to become a co-owner, is extraordinary," he said as guests gathered around a Christmas tree in the shadow of the ruined building, shared gifts, and drank mulled wine.  
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

"As a little boy, I was fascinated by chateaux so today, to become a co-owner, is extraordinary," he said as guests gathered around a Christmas tree in the shadow of the ruined building, shared gifts, and drank mulled wine. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

"As a little boy, I was fascinated by chateaux so today, to become a co-owner, is extraordinary," he said as guests gathered around a Christmas tree in the shadow of the ruined building, shared gifts, and drank mulled wine. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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The Mothe Chandeniers chateau, 185 miles south-west of Paris, is steeped in a history of wealth and privilege.     
REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Mothe Chandeniers chateau, 185 miles south-west of Paris, is steeped in a history of wealth and privilege. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Mothe Chandeniers chateau, 185 miles south-west of Paris, is steeped in a history of wealth and privilege. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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Built in the 13th century, Mothe Chandeniers was captured by English invaders in the Middle Ages.  
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Built in the 13th century, Mothe Chandeniers was captured by English invaders in the Middle Ages. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Built in the 13th century, Mothe Chandeniers was captured by English invaders in the Middle Ages. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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In 1654, Marquis Francois II transformed it into a lavish home with gardens and parks. Paris entrepreneur Francois Hennecart took it over in 1809 and restored it, and Baron Edgard Lejeune and his wife Marie Ardoin later transformed it into a neo-gothic structure.  
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

In 1654, Marquis Francois II transformed it into a lavish home with gardens and parks. Paris entrepreneur Francois Hennecart took it over in 1809 and restored it, and Baron Edgard Lejeune and his wife Marie Ardoin later transformed it into a...more

In 1654, Marquis Francois II transformed it into a lavish home with gardens and parks. Paris entrepreneur Francois Hennecart took it over in 1809 and restored it, and Baron Edgard Lejeune and his wife Marie Ardoin later transformed it into a neo-gothic structure. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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But in 1932, fire destroyed the interior and the roof. Since then, the chateau has stood abandoned with trees growing inside it.  
REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

But in 1932, fire destroyed the interior and the roof. Since then, the chateau has stood abandoned with trees growing inside it. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

But in 1932, fire destroyed the interior and the roof. Since then, the chateau has stood abandoned with trees growing inside it. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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The crowd-funding initiative, launched in 2017 by a French company that aims to use new funding models to preserve historical monuments, raised 1.6 million euros, from 25,000 people in 115 countries, including Cuba and Burkina Faso.  
REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The crowd-funding initiative, launched in 2017 by a French company that aims to use new funding models to preserve historical monuments, raised 1.6 million euros, from 25,000 people in 115 countries, including Cuba and Burkina Faso. ...more

The crowd-funding initiative, launched in 2017 by a French company that aims to use new funding models to preserve historical monuments, raised 1.6 million euros, from 25,000 people in 115 countries, including Cuba and Burkina Faso. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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The cash allowed work to start on shoring up the building. Scaffolding is in place. The objective is not to restore it to its previous state, but to keep it from falling down. 
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The cash allowed work to start on shoring up the building. Scaffolding is in place. The objective is not to restore it to its previous state, but to keep it from falling down. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The cash allowed work to start on shoring up the building. Scaffolding is in place. The objective is not to restore it to its previous state, but to keep it from falling down. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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British couple Robert and Suzanne Powell who run a nearby bed and breakfast, are also co-owners. "It's really good to have an investment and that interest in the property, to be able to go along and see how progress is being made in bringing it back to life," Robert Powell said.   
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

British couple Robert and Suzanne Powell who run a nearby bed and breakfast, are also co-owners. "It's really good to have an investment and that interest in the property, to be able to go along and see how progress is being made in bringing it back...more

British couple Robert and Suzanne Powell who run a nearby bed and breakfast, are also co-owners. "It's really good to have an investment and that interest in the property, to be able to go along and see how progress is being made in bringing it back to life," Robert Powell said. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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The grand staircase is seen inside the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The grand staircase is seen inside the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The grand staircase is seen inside the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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Co-owners watch fireworks during the Christmas party at the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Co-owners watch fireworks during the Christmas party at the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Co-owners watch fireworks during the Christmas party at the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers.  REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at night in Les Trois-Moutiers, France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at night in Les Trois-Moutiers, France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at night in Les Trois-Moutiers, France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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Co-owners attend the Christmas party organized at the Chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Co-owners attend the Christmas party organized at the Chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Co-owners attend the Christmas party organized at the Chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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A detail of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A detail of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A detail of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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Sunrise inside the Chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers.  
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Sunrise inside the Chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Sunrise inside the Chateau de La Mothe-Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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French co-owners and volunteers install the Christmas tree for the Christmas party. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French co-owners and volunteers install the Christmas tree for the Christmas party. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French co-owners and volunteers install the Christmas tree for the Christmas party. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers.  
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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Pigeons fly over the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Pigeons fly over the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Pigeons fly over the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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A road sign at the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A road sign at the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A road sign at the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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A French co-owner prepares for the Christmas party.  
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A French co-owner prepares for the Christmas party. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A French co-owner prepares for the Christmas party. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers.  
 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A view of the Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at Les Trois-Moutiers, France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at Les Trois-Moutiers, France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Chateau de La Mothe Chandeniers at Les Trois-Moutiers, France. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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