Exceptional fundraising for the repair of the collapse and the rehabilitation of the attic

The incident of 7 September 2022

On 7 September 2022, during the filming of a France 2 programme on Camille Claudel in the attic of the château, the floor gave way under the feet of three members of the team, causing them to fall more than four metres. Five beams, each weighing 600 kilograms, collapsed when a supporting beam broke, dragging down the other four. The three people involved in the accident were taken care of by the fire brigade and taken to various hospitals for examination. Fortunately, this incident, which shocked us at the time because we thought there were serious injuries, had a favourable outcome, as all the people involved came out that evening with only superficial injuries.

Immediately, measures to secure the collapsed area were considered and implemented in the following days to prevent the beams across the room from slipping and causing further material damage.

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Once the room had been cleared of rubble and the beams placed on the floor, the gaping hole above our heads made us realise the extent of the work to be undertaken.

This collapse revealed an unsuspected fragility of the structure, making the site now forbidden to visit (order of 26 September 2022 by the Mayor of Cheillé).

To ascertain the condition of the remaining beams supporting the loft floor, we removed the floor made of clay blocks ourselves (8 tonnes removed). This revealed that a total of 13 beams were severely damaged! A parasitic survey also revealed the presence of merula, making the work even more urgent. 

It is therefore imperative that we proceed with the treatment of the merula, if its presence is confirmed, and above all with the almost total repair of the attic floor. The preservation of the building, the durability of our project to open it to the public and the safety of both visitors and people working at l'Islette are at stake.

The works envisaged

1°) Urgent repair work following the collapse of 7 September 2022

The primary objective of this fundraising campaign is the repair of the attic floor (collapse and replacement/reinforcement of beams) which amounts to 118 743,26 , plus the treatment against merula:

  • Analysis of the structure by a design office and a parasite diagnosis (€12,168)
  • Masonry and stonework at the ends of collapsed beams (€16,005.12)
  • Structural work: removal and disposal of beams that cannot be reused, supply and installation of new beams, reinforcement (€80,960)
  • Other items of expenditure: electricity, painting, architect's fees (€9,610.14) 

2°) Restoration work on the attic with a view to opening it to the public

The repair work following the collapse is an essential prerequisite for our project, which is so dear to our hearts and which we do not want to abandon, of opening the attic to the public. Our wish is to share the remarkable character of the castle's roof structure. 

To achieve this objective, which requires major restoration and enhancement work, we need financial support, without which it will not be possible to succeed. Indeed, the budget established by Mathieu Julien, heritage architect in Tours and project manager, amounts to 396 866,65 €.

The breakdown is as follows:

- Masonry work, stonework and tiling of the western part116 861,67 €
- Work to create a floor with joists in the central and eastern parts of the attic, supply and installation of doors, revision of joinery and windows136 279,61 €
- Carpentry repairs: removal of struts, installation of headers, repair of fractured fillets29 616,49 €
- Electricity: lighting of the roof structure and replacement of two electrical panels31 680,00 €
- Locksmithing: installation of handrails in the two staircases leading to the attic and other safety measures34 650,00 €
- Other expenditure items and architect's fees47 778,88 €

This project, which far exceeds our financing possibilities, could be broken down into four stages:

  • Level 1: Zone A (see map) of 195 m²
  • Level 2: Zone B (see map) of 47 m²
  • Level 3: Zone C (see map) of 76 m²
  • Level 4: Zone D (see map) of 53 m²

The achievement of these different levels will depend on the means we manage to mobilise. 

About us

We are a family of six with our four children, Adrien, Pierre, Louise and Jeanne. In 2010, we took over this family property and made l'Islette both a home and a project. A house, to live in as a family. We live in the château for seven months of the year, from October to April. But from 1 May to 30 September, we move to the neighbouring farm to allow our visitors to discover it. We could not envisage maintaining and restoring such a building without a project to bring it to life. And the opening to the public, for 12 years now, has been an opportunity for us to share in a constantly renewed and very gratifying way. Each season of opening has had its share of events, surprises and beautiful encounters, and we hope that the seasons will continue to follow one another for many years to come, for - this is our objective and will be our joy - the greatest pleasure of our visitors. September 2022 was an emotional month. Of course, the attic accident has destabilised us; however, two of our children, Pierre and Louise, have announced that they want to join the adventure of l'Islette, bringing their ideas and a new breath of air, and thus offering all the hopes of perpetuating this exciting family business.

How to help us

We therefore propose that you help us and become a patron of l'Islette in order to carry out this important restoration project. A sponsorship agreement signed with the Demeure Historique will allow you to benefit from an income tax reduction of 66% of the amount of your donation, which can be made :

- online on the page dedicated to Islette on the website www.demeure-histoire.org

- by post, by sending your cheque (made out to "Demeure Historique - Château de l'Islette"), to Demeure Historique, 57 quai de la Tournelle, 75005 Paris.

This tax advantage also applies to corporate sponsorship; businesses can also benefit through tax reductions on their donations, as granted by article 238 bis of the CGI.

Our generous contributors

Thanks to the generosity of our many donors, we raised €34,875 between December 2022 and the end of January 2023! We thank them warmly! These funds will contribute to the repair of the attic which we hope to start as soon as possible!

The contributors:

Sylvie Adjedj-Reiffers, Eve Alleaume, Baptiste d'Aubigny, Clémence d'Aubigny, Karine Allouchery, Isabelle Austry, Isabelle Barbier Montembault, Josiane Barrois, Corinne Barrois, Lise Le Bars, Gwenaël Le Bars-Drouault, Véronique Bartholomé, Martine Bassereau- Régnier, Caroline Basset-Chercot, Marine Baudouin, Michelle Bazin, Arielle Beaucamps, Pierre de Beaumont, Claudine Bedouet, Anne de Bejarry, Aure de Bellaing, Antoine and Isabelle de Berranger, Alexis Beresnikoff, Nicole Berthier, Thierry Bohin, Francine Bonnet, Nathalie Bouché, Lucie Boudin, Olivier Bourdin, Jocelyne Boureau, Nicolas Bouviala, Claire de Breon, Michel Brethenoux, Michel Brethenoux, Marc Le Bris, Stéphanie Brochand, Patrice Brudieu, Birgit Brux, Annie Buffet, Jean-Charles Le Bunetel, Susan Campagne, Laurent Canches, Serge Carrillo, Gaétan Carroué, Henri Carvallo, Diane Cauffet, Chantal Cebron de l'Isle-Roy, Laurent Chapelle, Chantal Charron, Catherine Chaumier, Sylvain Chauvet, Isabelle Chevallon, Guy Chevrot, Michèle Chianelli, Gael de Christen, Fabienne Colboc , Christine Colmet Daage, Martin Cordelle, Amélie Cordier, Thibault Coulon, Philippe Cros, Béatrice de Cugnac, Daniel Danguillaume, François Daumont, Loïc David, Francis Decamp, Dominique Dekeyser, Stéphanie Delorme, Alain Demarti, Michèle Demeneix, Philippe Denain, Bruno Depierre , Laure Derbin, Maryse Deridder, Gaelle Desigaux, Amaury Desolages, Antoinette Desportes-Davonneau, Vincent Deubel, Cécile le Dez, Nathalie Dhennin, Michèle Diallo, Jean Dignat, Antoine Dignat, Simon Dignat, Anne C Dollard, Valérie Doré, Ginette Doucet, Monique Douriez, Romane Dubois, Claudie Dumont, Mylène Dunouau, Sylvie Dussert, Frédéric Dutertre, Eric Duthoo, Marie-Christine Duvigneau, Astrid Duvivier, Els Eversdijk, Guy Faugère, Monique Favelle, Anne Favereau, Guillaume Ferrand, Odile Feutrie, Carine Floquet, Gérard Flores, Annie Fontaine, Florence Fontaine, Nathalie Fontaine, Barbara Frauel, Sylvie Fremont, Fabrice Freon, Antoine Fruchart, Justine Gaillard, Marcel Galland, Alain Ganteil, Colette Gauthier, Hubert Giblet, Jean-Claude Giron, Stéphanie Gourichon, Martine Gouron, Foulques Granboulan, Alexis Grimaud, Rose Guerin, Marie-Claude Guerrée, Philippe Guicheteau, Franck Hamieau, Monique Hemery, Hubert and Christine Hiss, Dominique Horrière, Virginie Iaria, Loïc Jarlégant, Nicole Julien, Noelle Jure, Yannick Kerhervé, Céline Khansa, Hubert de L'Espinay, Evelyne Labaume, Jérôme de Lavergnolle, Aymeric de Lavergnolle, Jean-Paul Lebrun, Sylvianne Lechat, Anne and Norbert Lefebvre Cassini, Anne Lefebvre-de Cassini, Christian Lelievre, Cathy Lemaire, Sylvain Lemosquet, Christine Lenoir, Sylvie Leroux , Dominique Leroy, Francis Letellier, Eric Leveilley, Luc Libourel, Monique de Linares, Laurence de Livois, Corinne Longuet, Mireille Mabire, Xavier de Maillard, Louise Malagoli, René Marchand, Bruno Marié, Nicole Mars, Jean-Paul May, Gwendoline Ménager , Sylvie Mesrine, Brigitte Meunier, Marie-France Michel, Benoît Minot, Jean-Paul Monchau, Béatrice de Montferrier, Sandrine Mounot, Thierry Oger, Jade Olivier, Michel Orsat, Andrée Pasquier, Jean Michel PAUMIER, Robert Pawlowski, Bernard Perrot, Muriel Pibaleau, Daniele Pilorget, Agnès Pirrat, Thierry Poirault, Bernard Poncet, Pierre Poupardin, Audrey Prost, Dominique Rachline, Sandra Regina, Sylvie Renault, Laetitia Rey, Georges Richoux, Georges Richoux, Joëlle Rieutort, Nathalie Rivière, Jean-Yves Robert, Chrystelle Robin, Philippe and Ghislaine Robin, Michel Robisson, Patrice Roger, Marie Rousse, Christine Rousselet, Gérard Roux, Virginie Rouxel, Élisabeth Ruf, Pierre Saint Ellier, Elodie Saussereau, Claude Savoie, Bernard Savornin, Ghislaine de Sazilly, Michèle Segalas, Isabelle Seguin , Philippe Smette, Jean Manuel de Solages, Bertrand Soudans, Sabine Soury-Poussard, Marie Christine Sé, Anais Szyman, Sylvie Taugourdeau, Pascal Tessier, Marie Annick Thebaud, Pierre Thibault, Yves Thilmany, Olivier Tiberghien, Guillaume Tirand, Christian Travieso, Adélina Valbon, Martine Violet, Claude Voland, Aline Waem, François Wauquier.

Companies that have donated to us:

THEODORA, Châteaux & Histoire, SELARL Pharmacie Picot-Pavy, SARL Beaufils, EARL DOMAINE PAGET, Auberge Pom'Poire, Ercg, Hotel de Biencourt.

We sincerely thank you for your support.

Pierre-André & Bénédicte Michaud