Anyone who reads fantasy stories or likes to watch movies that take place in the Middle Ages probably loves castles and the fantastical lives people lived back then. Because no one has invented a machine to travel back to that time (at least not one that we know of), we can only go back to the middle ages in our imaginations. While movies and books offer a great lifting off place to get our creative juices flowing, now there is a place in France where you can live the reality of the middle ages.
That’s right. For the past twenty years, people in France have been building a 13th-century castle using only medieval building techniques. If this sounds like a dream come true for you, keep reading to learn how you could perhaps get involved. And if you’re just curious, you’re in for a treat.
The Guedelon Castle in Burgundy, France is a one-of-a-kind project. Volunteers and researchers have gathered together, pooled their resources, and begun erecting a castle that could have existed back in the 13th century. But what’s most amazing about the project is that they’re using only building techniques and tools that would have existed back in the middle ages.
The masterminds behind the Guedelon Castle are Michael Guyot and Maryline Martin. They began the project back in 1997. And during the last few years, it has been nearing completion. As you can imagine, Guyot and Martin are incredibly excited.
While you might think that the Guedelon Castle is a superfluous project that offers no real value, you’d be wrong. It has created more than 55 jobs and drew upwards of 300,000 visitors every year. And those numbers are expected to rise as the castle gains more notoriety and is finally finished.
Not only is the castle construction fantastic, but the creators have also given the castle a medieval backstory. According to the invented legend, construction on the Guedelon Castle began in 1228. It is now 1248. That means the crew can only use things that existed in those years.
“The rule is that only what we know from documents that existed at the time is allowed,” says Sarah Preston, an English guide. “Funnily enough, we found that even though we knew we were being accurate, somehow the castle lacked soul. So we invented a character – the owner – who would have likes and dislikes, wanting this and not wanting that.”
When Seigneur Guilbert, a mid-ranking feudal lord, sided with the crown during the rebellion in 1226, he was granted the privilege to build the castle. So he did not hesitate and got right to work.
“At one point we realized the stonemasons were cutting the stones for the towers too perfectly, which just wouldn’t have been appropriate. It would have suggested he had a lot of money and therefore a small army in the chateau, which wasn’t the case.”
So when do they suspect the castle will be completed? Their best estimate is 1253. That corresponds to 2022 in our world.
Would you love to visit this French castle?