Guedelon Castle

The Story of Guedelon Castle

Between 1995 and 1996, Nicolas Faucherre and Christian Corvisier presented their research of Michel Guyot’s Saint-Fargeau Chateau in France: The current red-brick walls of the 17th-century structure hid the stone walls of a medieval castle. They included a drawing depicting the castle that had stood on the grounds at an earlier age, and the last paragraph contains a sentence that sparked Guyot’s imagination – “Reconstructing Saint-Fargeau castle would be an amazing project.”

Guyot, who had experience in saving castles, gathered a small group of enthusiasts to create the project at Guedelon. Together, they have been in the process of building a 13th-century castle using the same tools and materials the lords of that era would’ve employed.

Getting Started at Guedelon Castle

Early in the project, they ruled out Saint-Fargeau Chateau. It didn’t make sense to reconstruct an existing building. Instead, they opted to find a new location and build a neighboring castle. They had to lay the financial groundwork to get the project going. The needed funds to purchase property, pay staff and construct an entrance barn. They found the right connections to secure the funds and the castle was ready to become more than just a great idea written in a report. The team chose Guedelon Forest as the site of the new castle because it could provide them with all the construction materials they needed.

Experimental Archaeology

Workers at Guedelon Castle

Guedelon Castle allows the scientific community a space to test their hypotheses about how castles were built.

 My normal work consists of carrying out research on existing ruins…In fact we mentally deconstruct the wall that we are studying.  This can take us so far, but it remains an intellectual activity.  Today, Guedelon is helping us to put ideas and research to the test.

Fanatics for a Fortress, Archaeologist and Lyon University Senior Lecturer Anne Baud

The construction is slated to continue for a decade or two, which is part of the appeal of the castle. It’s about the experience and not the completion.

Guests at Guedelon Castle

By 1998, Guedelon Castle opened to the public. It receives 300,000 guests a season, and their entry fees support the continued construction efforts and a workforce of 70 to 100 people. The site hosts various events throughout the year and has two restaurants. Visitors who want to learn more about medieval construction can volunteer to help with the effort.

In fact, education is a guiding principle for the site and its crew. The team engaging in the work is also available to explain the craft they are participating in. Coupled with hands-on learning in an immersive environment, Guedelon Castle provides a powerful and unforgettable experience that harkens back to the days when motors and electronics were unknown.

Guedelon Castle and Asgard Alaska

Learning about the success of Guedelon Castle is a boon to our own efforts in the Alaska frontier. With our sound business plan and our small but amazing team, we know that our Viking village will become a reality. Guedelon provides a roadmap and inspiration. Join us now and be a part of an educational, experimental organization looking to relearn old ways.


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