Post by kerouac2 on Sept 11, 2017 22:12:24 GMT
I had been wanting to visit Guédelon for a long time, but it is more or less in the middle of nowhere in the region of Burgundy, one of several regions of France to which I am generally not attracted. The concept is fascinating, and it is regularly in the news, though. The project began in 1997, and the purpose is to build a castle using exclusively the techniques of the 13th century. After a few years, when there was some visible progress to be observed, it opened to the public between mid-March and the end of October. The workers make their own tools and use only materials available in the virgin forest surrounding the project. One of the purposes of the project is to rediscover lost techniques of daily life in the 13th century, and it is unknown how long it will take to complete construction. The original hope was to complete the castle in 20 years, but it has become clear now that at least another 10 years will be necessary and quite possibly more. 40 workers are employed on the site for all of the necessary trades -- rock cutting, masonry, logging, blacksmiths, basket weavers, rope making, potters... There are also people to cultivate the medieval kitchen garden, take care of the farm animals and other such things.
Naturally, there are another hundred people for the needs of tourism (restaurant, maintenance of the dry toilets, gift shop, ticket sales...). However, incursion of the modern world is limited as much as possible and regarding the workers mostly consists of wearing safety shoes, protective goggles and hard hats where necessary.
No need for me to tell you more -- you can find most of the answers to any questions on the internet.
Anyway, I followed the road in the misty morning using a good Michelin map, because there are not even any big signs to direct you to the place.
I arrived slightly ahead of opening time and waited inside the "stable" where there is a very brief audiovisual presentation and some written information.
This model of the project was built by 10 year old schoolchildren last year.
This was just one of several car parks, but during this season it did not look like the place would fill up, even though it was the weekend.
At 10 a.m. the first visitors were able to enter the site.
About the only "modern" things that you see are the informational signs, in French and English. I must admit that I did not see a single English speaking visitor. Absolutely everybody was French or German, it seemed.
Most of the workers were arriving at the same time, and most of them bring their dogs to work with them. Even the dogs are medieval since they are led exclusively on hemp ropes or leather straps.
The fires were just being lit, which means that you have to wait to see certain people at work.
All of the tools and some of the items that have been made are on display, though.
I got my first glimpse of the construction site, but I did not rush over there immediately. There were so many other things to see.
I skirted the walls as I wandered on to whatever I might discover.