Part architectural experiment, part tourist attraction, Guédelon is a 13th-century castle being built from scratch in the 21st century. Using only medieval-era materials and construction techniques, construction started in 1997 and is set to be completed in 2023, with visitors following its progress each year.
Visitors to Guédelon can not only admire the castle through its various stages of construction, but also explore the working construction site. Watch craftspeople at work using handmade tools and horse-drawn carriages to transport materials, learn about the different trades, and chat with the team of workers. Highlights include a working hydraulic flour mill, a workers’ village with stables and live animals, and workshops where you can watch woodcutters, blacksmiths, and stonemasons.
Things to Know Before You Go
Entrance tickets include free guided tours (in English during July and August only), or you can explore at your own pace.
Guédelon is a working construction site, and exactly what you will see depends on the day and the stage of construction, so it’s worth revisiting each season.
Plan at least two hours to take in the park, but you could easily spend an entire morning or afternoon—last entrance is an hour before closing.
Visitor facilities include a café-restaurant, gift shop, picnic areas, and restrooms.
Guédelon is wheelchair-accessible, but some areas of the castle and construction site may be off limits.
How to Get There
Guédelon is located in northern Burgundy, around 31 miles (50 kilometers) or about a 50-minute drive southwest of Auxerre. There is no public transport to the site, so the best way to visit is to drive yourself or opt to join a guided tour.
When to Get There
Guédelon is only open for part of the year, typically from mid-March to the end of October. Open daily, the site can get crowded on weekends and during school holidays, especially during July and August. Aim for an early arrival to beat the crowds, and stay out of the midday sun—the site is mostly outdoors with little shade.
The Guédelon Project
An ambitious and completely unique project, Guédelon is being constructed using only natural materials (stone, wood, earth, sand, and clay), handmade tools, and techniques that existed in medieval times. What’s been described as "the world's biggest archaeological experiment" provides fascinating insight into medieval techniques that have previously only been written about or theorized, as well as potentially offering ideas for sustainable construction in the future.
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