If you’ve always wanted to own a picturesque French village, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has just emerged: the village of Baudin, near the border with Switzerland, is going up for sale via auction. The starting price? €150,000, or about $175,000. Potential buyers be warned; the 5.5-acre site requires heavy restoration work that could cost up to €20 million, with annual maintenance costs of at least €250,000.
The town includes the remains of various 19th century buildings, including an old presbytery, the abbey of Baume-les-Messieurs, a museum, a fountain, workers’ houses, artists’ studios and shops. The town was abandoned in the 1950s after its forging factories shut down, and lay empty until 2013, when it was purchased by local officials with the intention of transforming it into a tourist destination. Unfortunately, the cost of restoration was simply too high, and the plan had to be scrapped.
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Not everyone is pleased with the idea of an auction. Locals have started a Change.org petition that gathered about 2,000 signatures at time of writing protesting the sale. The worry is that, rather than put in the time and effort to preserve the historic buildings, a new buyer might simply choose to tear them down. What will become of the property remains to be seen. The auction opens May 23, and will run for five days.
Images via Agora Store