To all the English-speaking friends and people who support my project here at La Cour des Aulnays, there is a crowdfunding going on, which could be a of great importance for the future !
I took over this project alone 6 years ago, after having planned it and bought the place with 3 associates in July 2011. It seemed so crazy at the time, I knew nothing about living in the countryside, had no money whatsoever, and didn’t really know what I was gonna do. We had bought the place with no capital, so I didn’t have to buy the shares of the others, ther shares were only debt. But I had to take over the mortgage and pay it alone all suddenly.
After 6 years of struggle, quite a few obstacles but a lot of luck too and magic encounters with fantastic people, and the help of so many, the horizon isclearing up and the possibility ofmaking a huge step forward is in reach. I did what i could, with the help of all these people, and little by little it started to take shape, and my project became clearer. I started to rent a room, then another, then a bigger one as a dorm and the stable for parties, weddings, birthdays, family reunions, etc…
We started hosting concerts as well, one a month for 5 years, and musicians came for residencies as well, and other artists. The 5 hectars started to take shape little by little too, pastures for the animals and a vegetable garden thet gets better every year. The principles of permaculture and respect for life in all shapes became a golden rule for the whole site.
I also started to adopt a few animals, whereof farm animals, having always been a great animal lover, and now I had the space finally. As time passed they were more and more rescues, and they taught me to trust them and to let them as free as possible and as together as possible. We learnt to know each other and my family of 31 animals + me is surprisingly harmonious (apart from Konrad the crabby rooster and Zebuline the very provocative little goat…). I became a vegetarian of course and have almost completely stopped dairy as well. And the visitors today get to meet Mumin the cow, Boubou the goat, Simone, Nufnuf and Knacki the pigs and all the others.
I decided to write the project down 2 years ago, as well as the whole history of the place as I know it now after hours and hours of passionating research. It became 60 pages long, almost a book ! And right on time to take part in a sort of Heritage competition, launched by our president to help historical monuments in a new way. The purpose was to help historical monuments, but especially those that are usually forgotten, in the countryside, not as big and well-known as Versailles or Notre-Dame and with too little or no means at all (like me). Another factor they took into account was the project for the site.
That’s how la Cour des Aulnays got selected last year in the first edition of this campaign.
After having passed the different stages of the selection, La Cour des Aulnays was finally in the last batch of 269 monuments all over France, out of over 3000 candidates.
The award is a funding of renovation works, but of course it would have been too easy to just win an amount of money and start the work right away haha !
No, I had to find an architect, who agreed to work for nothing and take the risk of waiting to get paid until after I receive the funds. But nothing is sure yet. The funds of 80% of the 250 000€ euros in total for the work we plan, are still only possible, depending on if I can find a way to finance 10% myself. As I accepted to do a crowdfunding campaign, I can also get up to 10% more funding, each euro given by people will be doubled by the Loto du patrimoine(Heritage Lottery). So I need to find 25000 by December 31st ! If I do I will receive 25 000€ extra and then only will I receive the 80% (200 000€) promised.
The plan is to use half of the amount to renovate the former stable I already rent so that it has a solid roof, and windows and doors and a real floor. I will then be able to rent it not only in the summer anymore, but all year around, and raise the prices. It will also be much safer and convenient of course. The other half of the funding will be used to save different parts until next big renovation. That includes the three little towers (2 on the gatehouse and 1 at the back) + the top of the walls of the big round tower and the corner of the former « logis ».
Hopefully I have been clear, it’s already a bit tricky to explain in French so in English it’s worse… Feel free to ask me questions if you don’t understand.
Well, anyway, that is why you will see this link quite often by the end of the year
And if you want to help me in the big adventure you are warmly welcome to contribute by making a donation (even small amounts count) and by sharing the link and talking about it amongst your friends. I’m grateful for all the help I can get !!
Thank you for all your support until now already
If you want to donate but are experiencing any trouble on the website, as it’s only in French, let me know, I can help
Since being candidate in this competition a year and a half ago, the suspense has been ongoing, but the goal is now in reach. La Cour des Aulnays would benefit from funds for a total of 80% of the sum needed for the planned renovation works (only part of it, the buildings are many and big…) but crucial for helping the project continue and develop.
We need to collect 25 000€ that will get doubled and thus constitue the missing 20%, by the end of the year. If we succeed, we will then get the promised funds and the work can start. So far I haven’t received a single euro, it’s been a lot of paperwork and phonecalls to make it all come this far.
Half of the amount will be used to close and repair the former stable that I already rent out but only in Summer due to the lack of doors and windows. Once the renovation done it will be easier to rent and help fund the future works and development of the project.
A friend who works in self-sufficient and environmental-friendly energy will move his workshop here in the next few months and in exchange he will help La Cour des Aulnays become totally self-sufficient little by little. He also plans on setting up a bioclimatic greenhouse and plant hedges of fruit-trees.
So once the work is done, a new chapter can begin, with less struggle and anxiety, and a sunnier horizon for La Cour des Aulnays and all its inhabitants ! And so many more projects to make real
So can we count on you to help reaching the goal of this crowdfunding and start this new exciting chapter in La Cour des Aulnays?
If you want to know more about La Cour des Aulnays and my life here, you can watch the beautiful documentary by Emma Mari on Happiness,
You can also discover more on my youtube channel, like the playlist Unusual friendships
Or the Concerts à la Cour