Historic Village Is On Sale For $175,000 – But There’s A Catch
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 village is Baudin, located in the heart of one of France’s most beautiful states - the mountainous Jura near the Swiss border. Described as a picturesque, historic hamlet, the 5 1/2 acre town will go on auction for €150,000.
Nestled between the eastern communes of Sellières and Toulouse-le-Château, Baudin includes the remains of an old presbytery, the abbey of Baume-les-Messieurs, a museum, a fountain, various workers’ houses, artists studios and shops – most of them built in the 19th century.
Once a flourishing village known for its forging factories, Baudin was largely abandoned after the last of them closed in 1959. Local officials bought the place in 2013 for €300,000 and created an association intended to transform the hamlet into a tourist destination.
But the restoration costs of the project at a time of strained regional finances forced them to abandon the plan and again put the town up for sale. Here’s the catch: Full restoration carries a heavy price tag – some €20 million, with annual maintenance at least €250,000.
The property includes 22,721 square meters of land and about 5,000 square meters of housing, according to the internet auction site Agora Store, which is handling the sale.
Albert Wolff, a guide at the Baudin Museum and secretary of the association caring for the property in recent years, says the village is steeped in the history of Jura and a prime example of the commercial and industrial activity that blossomed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Several dozen people lived there at its peak, and it holds a spot in the national Inventory of Historic Monuments.
“Not everyone is happy about the upcoming auction,” The Local reported in a recent article. Wolff is one of them: “No one aside from the decision-makers was told that Baudin was being put up for sale. We found out via an ad,” he said, adding that many are now worried that a new owner might decide to tear some of the historic buildings down.
He is referring to an advertisement about the sale that appears in the publication of the real estate agency Bon Coin.
“What happens to the industrial heritage of Jura?” asks the local newspaper La Voix de Jura. “A rich history about to be sold for a few euros.”
The organization Urgence Patrimoine launched a petition opposing the sale: “The Forges and the Baudin Museum are about to be sold like a common garden shed on Le Bon Coin,” it warns. The president of the “Friends of the Forges Baudin” association has called for a less radical solution.
The auction is set to start on May 23 and will be open for five days. Plenty of time still to prepare your bid…