Visit a 21st-century medieval adventure
In the heart of France, in northern Burgundy, a team of fifty master-builders have taken on an extraordinary challenge: building a castle using medieval techniques and materials.
In the heart of Guédelon forest, in an abandoned quarry, a team of master-builders is building a 13th-century castle from scratch. Quarrymen, stonemasons, carpenter-joiners, woodcutters, clay puddlers, potters, dyers, blacksmiths, tilers, carters and rope maker are working together to revive heritage craft skills and to shed light on the world of medieval construction.
All materials are sourced locally and no electricity, gas or steam engines are used. Just donkeys and man-power. The only concession to the C21st is the steel capped boots and goggles that the stone masons wear. All clothing is middle ages, as is the way of life.
It’s sited here, in a quarry, in a forest, and near a lake so all the raw materials are at hand. They’ve even built their own mill on the lake so they can grind their own corn to make the bread that you will eat.
It’s an amazing visit to see how a castle was built. Over the last 35 years 70 employees with very many volunteers have got this far. The last 3 years have seen a couple of towers and walls built – no mean feat. Only another 30 years to go . . .
The fruits of their labour that can be seen this year . . .
It’s unique experiment in the world, nothing like this has been attempted before. This season carpenters will lift one by one 265 pieces of oak that will form the pepper frame in the tower of the chapel. Each is more than 16 meters long. For the first time, a tower of Guédelon will be wearing it’s ‘hat’!
The quarrymen, stonecutters and masons will continue the finishing of the door between two towers which constitutes the main access of the castle.
In 2018, the workers of Guédelon open a new file of experimental archeology to answer the many technical questions that visitors have : how was a window closed in a castle in the Middle Ages? with interior shutters? outside? with glass? or just cobwebs ?
When you visit, stay and break bread with the workers
In agreement with our the local producers who are, for the most part organic, we have 2 cafe/restaurants ‘the Bread on the Board’ and the ‘Mistembec’ Here we offer good, simple and healthy cooking accompanying the bread that’s baked on the spot.
Set in over 7 hectares of woodland, the world of Guédelon is made up of three large areas:
- the castle and building crafts
- the village with the tile makers’, house of colours, stables and animals
- the forest and mill
Explore the eleven different trades on the construction site, the castle and the hydraulic water mill. Watch the craftsmen and women at work; take time to talk with them and discuss their work.