Château de Marmande

225 %
13,475€ Pledged out of 6,000€
Don contre don
171 Donations from 11 countries

To see the English version of the video

The Château de Marmande is the last witness of the medieval history of a strategic territory, a frontier zone between the Touraine, Anjou and Poitou regions of France.

To set the scene : Around the year 1000 A.D., Marmande found itself at the heart of a battlefield. The oldest of its walls date from this troubled era as does the network of underground passages and rooms burrowed under it, of which more than 300 metres still survive. After the turbulent periods of feudal wars, the barons of Marmande were among the most powerful families in the Touraine region. They held the fortress and held prestigious posts for the kings of France. It was during this time that the walls were reinforced. A watchtower more than 30 meters high was built with the help, so legend would have it, of the fairy Mélusine. By marriage, Marmande passed into the family of Sancerre, the King’s chamberlain, and then into that of the Bueil family. Jean V de Bueil, Baron of Marmande, nicknamed the scourge of the English, was a companion of Joan of Arc. He became Admiral of France. He reinforced the château’s defenses, undertaking wide-ranging construction work. 

His having no descendants, the château was bought in 1730 by the Count of Argenson, who laid waste to it, using the stones of it to construct his own château, leaving only the watchtower, the keep and the mediaeval curtain walls as a reminder of its past power. Rapidly sold on,  the site became an agricultural operation, forgotten by historians.

The architectural elements which survive to this day are of high quality and reflect the development of a fortress between  the 11th and the 16th centuries: the château is in original condition. 

The current owner, the grand-daughter of the  last farmer and sole heir of her generation, obtained the listing of the château as an historical monument (Monument Historique) in 2015.

Initial studies revealed the perilous state of the site. The château is in fact in a bad way. The owner and her partner, being both directors of documentary films within the fields of Science and History, connected with researchers in order to extend the breadth of knowledge about the archaology and the history of the castle. At the same time, the work needed to safeguard the site began, as well as the first public events taking place. 

Marmande then became a shared story!

Spontaneously, a small volunteer army began to form. Brushcutting, land-clearing, moat cleaning, were all organised with an enthusiastic team. Together, they felled some trees and planted others, took down roofs, and swept up everything that was cluttering up the site. Above all, the owners of the castle are no longer alone in their efforts to bring this place back to life!

What if Mélusine, the builder fairy, came back to help us?

What if the knights carved into the stones jousted again?

Join us in the continuing story of this unique site!

A chateau with aspirations!

 At the end of 2016, an association called “La Tour de Marmande”was created in order to offer to the general public a programme of events. For 2018, the association developed a programme of activities for children and adults such as events on heritage, workshops on traditional skills, and shows. Partnerships has been developed for several of the activities in our programme. The objectives of these partnerships include: developing social links, raising awareness of local heritage, and improving historical knowledge. We would also like to add to these a virtual tour of the site, mixing past and present, which would show how it has developed in successive phases of its history. 

The château is situated within a protected environment, a fact that also enables us to development activities  which help to preserve the biodiversity of the area. Natural history events have already been organised and we intend to extend them, targeting young people in particular with school visits, for example. A botanical trail which is open to all will form part of the programme. 

For all these plans to continue, the watchtower needs to have a new roof, the keep needs to be made watertight, the track in the moat needs to be made safe. These are essential projects if we are to be able to open up to a wider public.

In order to complete these projects, we need financial support. You too could become a sponsor for Marmande!

A château in danger!

Built on a promontory of brittle rocks mined by tunnels, the site as a whole is in an extremely worrying state. The historical parts were neglected for more than two centuries. In 2016, a diagnosis of the safety of the site was carried out, listing the numerous elements that are in a dangerous state and quantifying those works needing to be done as a matter of urgency.

The presence of a large network of established underground tunnels which date from the château’s origins, of unique historical and heritage interest, vertically below the cliff edge and under the buildings, further complicates the situation. There is a real risk of collapse, and work needs to be undertaken in zones where there are major cracks in order to avoid collapse as well as to strengthen  and stabilise the most fragile areas.

The roof terrasse of the keep is no longer watertight. The external walls need to be secured: protection of the masonry, filling in of cracks, repointing of the stonework. The roof of the watchtower was taken down in January 2017 following a storm. A temporary roof has been installed while a decision is made on a permanent roof to replace the former one.

Our donations would enable the conservation of the mediaeval walls. €6000 equates to about 1 linear metre of wall preserved! 

And if we receive more than that?

The curtain wall on the Northern side is around 60 metres long, not including the towers. The first segment of the work, begun in 2018, was carried out on about 10 metres of this wall only. Were donations to exceed the target, the money would not go to waste: there is always more to be done!

The work needed has started, but it's just the start!

The schedule of works needed must continue into the curtain walls and the towers, with a global cost of 500, 000 euros. These curtain walls have been affected by rockslides and cracks, while some of the towers are unstable. Clearing the stairways would enable visitors to reach the arrow slits, as well as the sentry parapet walk.


Our support:

We have an active communication policy. As an example of this, our dossier was selected by Stéphane Bern for the 1st issue of a Heritage Lottery. You can see one photo at the Elysée Palace at an event concerning this lottery, with Président Macron! We are waiting to see what happens with this lottery, which takes place at the end of this year. 

A very popular French TV programme called “Des Racines et des Ailes” was filmed at the château recently, and will be broadcast early in 2019. The local press and regional magazines support us and report on what we do. Regional radio and television channels have already reported on our activities and will return to cover important events in the future. We are committed to sharing with others key elements of what we are doing. To this end, our internet site is updated regularly, along with a Facebook page and a You Tube channel. Using these communication means, those interested can watch videos of the work in progress, the different events and also the research carried out at Marmande. 

For us, it it important to share history, and those who support us are part of that history!

In return for your donation, we can offer various considerations. These have been designed to correspond to the expectations and requirements of our donors. As examples, we can render the site private for an event, suggest some entertainments, or organise guided visits of the work in progress.

contact: [email protected]




Pledge €10 or more
26 donations
Registration on the donor ledger

+ Access to the Marmande private chain to follow in
preview the news of the castle and the progress of the works

Pledge €20 or more
21 donations
Previous counterparts

+ a canvas bag in the colors of Marmande, yellow and black, with graffiti reproduction 'the knight to the assault'
Pledge €50 or more
Or 17€ after tax deduction
48 donations
Previous counterparts and
A choice
+ an invitation to a site visit and to secret places of the castle. Group visit of a dozen people. You can come with a person.
+ a mug with the graffiti of the knight on the assault and a DVD of 12 short films in French version only, one per month, on biodiversity in Marmande. The flowers bloom, the chicks come out of the nest ... an unknown life on our doorstep! (delivery costs not included)
Pledge €100 or more
Or 34€ after tax deduction
41 donations
previous rewards

+ a photo in medieval attire taken in front of a castle chimney , either alone or in couple.
Pledge €200 or more
Or 68€ after tax deduction
15 donations
A visit with the owner of the castle and its underground, snack.
Pledge €500 or more
Or 170€ after tax deduction
4 donations
A visit with the owner of the castle and its underground
+ photo in medieval attire
Unusual dinner based on nettles, meats and scented wines. All our products come from organic farming and local producers. We warn if allergies or special diet. Valid for 2 people
Pledge €999 or more
Or 339.66€ after tax deduction
0 donation
A visit with the owner of the castle and its underground
+ Photo
+ unusual dinner
+ an unusual night of your choice in the tower, in a vaulted cellar, under the stars ...
Pledge €2,000 or more
Or 680€ after tax deduction
0 donation
Company Donor
For companies that support us: logo and presence on all our communication media, provision of the site for an event to create with your teams, to specify according to the number of people.
Invitation to the annual evening of corporate sponsors.
Pledge without a reward
16 donations
Pledge an amount of your choosing