When we were invited to be part of living history at Guedelon Castle I didn’t really know what to expect, here are my thoughts of visiting Guedelon Castle With Kids
I mean, when someone tells you, you are going to visit a living working castle such a Guedelon Castle, which is being built from scratch, with medieval methods. You think that sounds great, yes, I would love to visit. The boys will love it! A working museum, we have visited a few of those and really enjoyed them.
But the reality is a very different thing, Guedelon is incredible, unlike any living museum I have ever visited.
Because but for the little matter of time, Guedelon is real
Not manufactured to show to the public. Every single stone, rope, door, tower and hinge is crafted using medieval techniques. The stone is mined from the quarry, sand dug from site and moved by horse. It is all made here at Guedelon and its remarkable, no more than that, its breathtaking.
When we arrived we met up with the wonderful Guedelon team and the lovely Ting and her family to spend a incredible day finding out what life building a medieval castle was really like.
Guedelon is the brainchild of Michel Guyot who discovered a medieval castle hidden within the walls of the very beautiful Saint-Fargeau Castle.
He wanted to re-create the castle but in its own grounds, create it in a glory of its very own. He called on the help of Maryline Martin to build a team to make the dream become a reality.
They decided from the start to not just create the castle as a replica. Building with modern techniques would be pointless. And went forward with the vision of re-creating the castle using only medieval techniques. Once you visit Guedelon you realise this is no quick process, construction started in 1997 and is projected to be a 25-year project.
The Guedelon Castle project relies on a full-time team and volunteers, all equally passionate about the project and travel from all over the world to be part of history in the making
The attention to detail and authenticity is just amazing. Every brush, tool, stone is manufactured on site. And the craftsmanship is mind-blowing, I know I have so many photos on this post, but all of this outstandingly beautiful work was created by hand.
As a result Guedelon has developed into the most beautiful little medieval village with a blacksmiths, stables, tilers, carpenters, rope makers, stonemasons, a tool foundry, iron works and colour house, yes even the paints are made from natural resources. It is crazy but wonderful. The beauty is you can come along and get involved; we took part in the stone-carving workshop, which the boys loved. In fact they all got a little competitive about carving the best stone.
We did a guided tour with an English-speaking guide and I would thoroughly recommend it, our tour guide Hein works in the quarry at Guedelon when he is not working as a guide and his passion for the project was just infectious. He was not just doing this as a job, he believes in Guedelon and knows the site inside out.
Hein was able to tell us the history from the ground up, how every part of the castle was made and constructed. What lessons they have learnt along the way. And what measures they took to correct any dating errors to ensure the authentic and the integrity of the build is always maintained.
I feel had we not taken part in the tour we would have still loved Guedelon Castle
But taking part in the tour meant we came away not just understanding the concept but also feeling it. Which is weird to say, but the passion of this project is catching. I think that is because it is not just about the build, it is about the people. Guedelon has a heart and soul and you can feel that in every inch of the project, you leave knowing you want to return and see the progress.
That is the beauty of Guedelon, it’s a work in progress, and every visit will be different.
There will always be a new wing, tower, and tiled floor to marvel at. I just know next time we visit we will be excited to see the progress the changes.
Hopefully see Guedelon in the sunshine. But quite honestly the torrential rain did not alter our enjoyment of our day at Guedelon. We wrapped up, donned our wellies and enjoyed Guedelon in the rain. Because being an authentic build means experiencing it in all weathers.
I could tell you about each and every section, about the stones, the progress of the build but honestly? You really want to experience it for yourself, because I would not do it justice like the incredible Guedelon guides would.
What I can say is that Burgundy is the most beautiful region of which Guedelon is a part, there is so much to see and do.
It is the perfect place to spend a week, taking in the atmosphere, meeting the people and feeling the passion of the region to make this project work. It really is like no other place we ever visited.
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11 thoughts on “Being Part of Living History At Guedelon Castle With Kids”
What a breathtaking place to visit, and I can imagine you felt a million miles away from the modern world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to revisit it when it was finally finished. Your pictures really tell the story of what a breathtaking place it is Sarah x
Oh Sarah, you’ve described Guedelon and our day so wonderfully well. It was such a great experience and fantastic being able to share it with you all too. Stunning photos too.
It was wasn’t it, we all had the best day and part of that was spending it with you guys xx
Absolutely incredible, it is such a fantastic thing they have decided to do out there and such an incredible experience for you all to be part of it.
Karen it was truly the most incredible experience, I know as travel bloggers the aim is visit new places all the time, but we all so want to go back x
This just looks incredible it really does! I love France and would love to take my children here. Beautiful photos Sarah xx
Julia it really was such a wonderful region to visit, we all loved it x
This is incredible – I have just read Nisbah’s post too and I’m sending them both on the my Mum, she’s planning on moving to France and I know she would love this. You have captured such beautiful photos and I just love that they are using all medieval techniques – what a different place to visit! xx
Hayley it was wonderful, we had the most amazing week, lots of new experiences and amazing people that made the trip so special x
You’ve described Guedelon so beautifully and your enthusiasm and delight shines through. I visited about 8 years ago and can see the progress in your photos. We adored it back then and would love to visit again. I run a monthly linky about France and would love it if you’d link up some of your posts next time, Thursday 7 July. #AllAboutFrance You can find out more in the sidebar of my blog.
Oh you must go back Phoebe you will be gobsmacked by the progress, it blew my mind such an incredible place x