A few weekends ago, a colleague of T’s offered to take her and I on a trip to Guédelon, a castle located about 40km west of Clamecy. What makes this castle so unique is that its’ construction started in 1997 and has been constructed (and it still being constructed) using only medieval methods.
In case you were wondering what inspires someone to think, “hmm, I want to make a medieval castle in the middle of France like they did during Medieval times.”, here is an insert from the pamphlet explaining just that.
“Michel Guyot first had the idea for Guédelon following an archeological study at Saint-Fargeau castle. This study revealed that a medieval castle was hidden within the 15th-century red brick exterior.” (Guédelon pamphlet)
“The idea of building a castle from scratch, using medieval building methods, was born. It is impossible to visit castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages without wondering how these buildings were constructed, where the materials came from, how they were transported, which tools were used, or how such heavy loads were hoisted. Guédelon sheds light on the secrets of medieval master-builders.” (Guédelon pamphlet)
The architecture plans were created after a methodological study of various 13th-century castles, medieval illuminated manuscripts and stain-glassed windows, and an analysis of historical building accounts.
The castle itself is set in the early 13th century, so every method of construction for this castle is borrowed from that time. Surrounding the castle, they have various sites–a quarry, stonemasons, carpenters, woodcutters, etc.–where you can watch them work on all the different pieces of the castle, in addition to the smaller details like pottery, paint, and ropes.
It was really cool to watch so many people come together for such an interesting and unique passion project.
There is so much to explore both inside and outside the castle, it makes for a perfect afternoon activity!
Unfortunately, the castle is now closed for the season but it will open back up again mid to late-March. If you are ever in the area (or if you are a medieval history buff with a passion for architecture and castles), I would highly recommend a visit!
Until next time,