• An authentic castle in St. Fargeau, France

    2010-07-14

    Europe travel affords travelers the ability to catch a glimpse of the continent's medieval history, but even the most authentic of experiences are marred slightly by modern upgrades such as gift shops, walkways and commercialization.

    Officials at the Guedelon Castle in France are looking to change that. They're busy reconstructing this medieval stronghold using only 13th century techniques, in order to make it as accurate as possible.

    It was an idea conceived by Michel Guyot, who discovered the ruins of the castle on the property of his 17th century chateau. In 1997, together with co-owner Maryline Martin, he embarked on a 26-year journey that is just nearing its halfway point.

    Yes, using these ancient techniques means that the castle won't be completed till 2023. But modern visitors don't care. They've flocked to Guedelon in droves - Guyot and Martin welcome 300,000 visitors a year.

    To accommodate this multitude, Guyot has added a parking lot, cafe and shop off-site. But nothing touches the castle itself except his team of 50 workers, who use outdated techniques like stone carving and clay tablets made in kilns to continue constructing the castle.

    Guedelon lies about 100 miles southeast of Paris. Visitors who make the trip will get a tour of the completed areas, where artisans will explain the skills used to build the various features.


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