a 21st-century medieval adventure
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, blacksmiths, tilers, carters and rope makers…are working together to revive heritage craft skills and to shed light on the world of medieval construction.
talk face-to-face with the master-builders
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.
Guédeon is a working construction site and demonstrations do not take place at set times. The team works according to the real demands on the construction site; if craftsmen is not in their workshop when you first pass, come back a little later, they may have been momentarily called to another part of the site.
A visit to Guédelon is different from season-to-season. Activity on site is never exactly the same from one day to the next. When visitors declare that they will return when the castle is finished, we tell them “that will be too late”! Guédelon is always changing; events which occur in one season may never be witnessed again.
A working medieval flour mill
Built in partnership with Inrap* as an example of experimental archaeology, this working medieval mill is now open to the public.
Deep in the woodland, the miller will explain how the mill was built and how it works. Be transported by the running of water in the millrace and the grinding of the millstones.
*Inrap = National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research
The mill is about 500 m on foot from the main construction site. It is reached along a woodland path; sensible shoes are advisable.
- The path leading to the mill is on the far side of the stables
- The mill is open from 10 am – 12 pm and from 2 pm – 5 pm (or 6 pm on public holidays and in high season)
- The surrounding forest is a protected environment, please stay on the paths and be sure to take all rubbish away with you
- The sluice gates are opened several times a day; in dry weather, we may be obliged to reduce or halt the release of water. The mill will remain open to visitors
- During periods of very bad weather, the mill may have to be closed to visitors