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The battle to save the Château de Monte-Cristo

Ben McPartland · 9 Mar 2015, 11:54

Published: 09 Mar 2015 11:54 GMT+01:00

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The château in northern France has fallen into disrepair and is threatened by damp.

The current managers of the estate say €921,000 ($1.0 million) is needed to get it back in shape.

The municipal association that runs the estate is looking for public contributions to help with the restoration. If they can raise five percent of the funds, they will get further help from the national Heritage Foundation.

“It’s imperative we save this architectural jewel for future generations,” the château’s director Frédérique Lurol told The Local. “We cannot just let it fall victim to old age.

“The château was created by Alexandre Dumas for Alexandre Dumas. He’s one of the great French authors and is still extremely widely read today.”

“Even if the château cannot be compared to the likes of Versailles it is still a hugely important place in French culture and must be saved,” she said.

Having made a fortune from his literary successes, Dumas had the castle built in Port-Marly in 1844 and named it after one of his most popular novels, 'The Count of Monte-Cristo'.

He called the three-floor, neo-Renaissance château "a paradise on Earth".   

A small manor on the grounds, in which Dumas used to work, also requires a complete overhaul.

The manor, called Château D'If, is named after the prison in which Edmond Dantes, hero of the "The Count of Monte-Cristo", spent six years in solitary confinement.

According to Lurol the most vital work that needs to be done is to create a new drainage system around the castle that would help protect the building.

Story continues below…

The château's windows also need replacing.

Currently fundraising efforts have been slow, with almost €3,000 having been raised so far.

“Even a chateau like Versailles, which brings in enormous amounts of visitors has trouble raising enough money, because the cost of the works are so expensive,” she said.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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