Visit Guédelon: a medieval castle under construction
Have you decided to follow the wine route towards the Dijon region in Burgundy? This is the perfect time to visit Guédelon and immerse yourself in the medieval history of Burgundy and of France. The project, launched in 1997, seeks to build a castle fort using only the knowledge of that era. Real time travel, which will fascinate the young ones as much as the adults!
Guédelon: a return to the time of the chevaliers
The Works of Guédelon. The idea of its creator, Michel Guyot, was to understand the construction methods of medieval buildings. This immense work is therefore historic, scientific and above all, educational. Located in Treigny in Burgundy, in the heart of the Guédelon forest, each year it attracts thousands of curious visitors.
This project, unique in the world, uses at least 70 people, 40 of whom work on the construction of the building. Even though most of them are fully trained, some come to the Guédelon works to learn from their colleagues. Using the principal of the open air laboratory, the medieval works of Guédelon trains master artisans every day. To construct a castle fort from beginning to end using only ancestral methods is not something you see everywhere. As Anne Baud, archaeologist and professor at the University of Lyon explains: you have to unlearn, make mistakes, change your methods to finally arrive at the desired result.
Several ancestral trades are required for the proper construction of the castle fort. Each trade profession of the era is represented.
The quarry men have the mission of extracting the blocks of stone which are then sized. Their sense of observation and their expertise allow them to extract quality blocks, according to the use that will be made of them. e.
The stone sizers create works of art with the blocks of stone that are extracted. They size the stones using very precise tools, and that is how the castle is decorated.
The masons are experts who assemble the stones to form the walls, the arches, the domes, etc. Another important role on the worksite: the mason’s helper. They are the ones who prepare the mortar to assemble the stones.
The other trades that are indispensable to this non standard construction: the woodcutters and carpenters, who create the scaffolding and the framework.
The blacksmith primarily makes the tools required for the work: the nails, the railings, the hinges, etc. True experts, the tilers make the tiles that are needed to construct the roofs of a castle fort. Without them, it would rain in the lord’s lodging!
The completion of the colossal work of Guédelon is estimated to be in 2025.
Visit Guédelon, jewel of medieval times
Tours of the work on the castle of Guédelon are conducted during the opening hours. These guided tours are educational, since you will receive explanations on each step in the construction. Complete immersion in the time of the chevaliers, which will allow you to share in the daily life that seems very real: they work, they laugh, they become exhausted; quite simply, they live..
A walk through the forest of Guédelon will lead the visitor to the stone quarry and a windmill that produces flour. The visit to the worksite will lead both the little ones and the adults to the stands where the artisans work. You will be at complete leisure to observe their movements, down to the smallest detail. Take the time to talk to them and learn a bit about their know how and the ancestral methods. They will passionately explain their working methods as well as the tools and materials they use.
A presentation for children from 5 to 10 is presented so that they can become real chevaliers! Compose of three ordeals: the fortnight, crossbow shooting, and the horse lance challenge will let them be dubbed knights, as “future chevaliers of Guédelon”.
Still following this educational concept, workshops are organized to transfer the know how of the workers. Intended for both young and old, you can learn how to lay tile or to size stones, as it was done in medieval times. Participants can then take their creations home with them.
Visiting hours ans rates for this historic burgundian locale
Located to the southwest of Auxerre, the work site is easily reached by car. You will find ample space to park.
Guédelon is open from March 20 to November 5.
During the months of July and August, public visits are every day from 10:00 a.m. To 7:00 p.m.
During the months of April, May and June, visits to the medieval work site take place from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekends. During the months of September, October and November, the castle is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. During the month of September, on weekends, the site is open from 10:00 a.m. To 5:30 p.m.
Allow between 4 and 6 hours to tour Guédelon. Parking is free and an open air picnic area is available for visitors.
- Adults: €14
- Adolescents (14 to 17 inclusive): €12
- Children (5 to 13 inclusive): €11
- Free for children under 5
Reduced rates are available, upon proof, for students, the unemployed, large families and the handicapped.
Guided tours: €3 per person
- Stone sizer workshop: €6.50
- Tile workshop: €6.50
- Meet with the head of the works: €6.50
Special offers are available if you reserve your ticket on the Guédelon website