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Monday, October 3, 2011

Château de Guédelon

Patrice and I took advantage of the gorgeous weekend weather to take an excursion to visit the Chateau de Guédelon about 200 km south of Paris. But this isn't just another castle -- it's a 13th century castle currently under construction -- being built from the ground up using medieval building techniques.

Work began on the project in 1997 and will take some 25 years to complete. In the meantime, the public is invited to visit the construction site. All of the building materials are found nearby and the castle is being built using only hand tools which are also produced and maintained onsite.

Here is what the site looked like in 2005:

And here's what it looked like when we visited on Saturday:

The chateau will require about 60,000 tons of stones which must be split

And shaped

And lifted into place

Without using any modern machines.

Can you see the two guys in the "squirrel cages" who turn the wheels that lift the load?

The blacksmith keeps the tools in shape

Using a foot pedal to turn the sharpening wheel

And the rope maker creates all sizes of ropes from the hemp and linen that grow nearby

Guédelon is surrounded by an oak forest. The woodcutters use hand saws to fell the trees, then transfer the task to the carpenters who fashion everything from the timbers supporting the roof, down to the wooden tool boxes, interior doors, and cart wheels.

When finished, the château will look like this:

Here is the website so that you can plan your own visit.

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me a great deal of the wonderful historical novel, Pillars of the Earth. While the setting of the story was during the 12th century in a fictional town in England, munch of what you describe resonated with me. How amazing that you got to visit such a site!