French Craftspeople Have Spent 20 Years Building a Castle with Medieval Techniques, and It’s Almost Done


You don’t need to be a fan of history or obsessed with the Middle Ages to appreciate the hard work and determination that went into this incredible project.

The Guédelon is a castle built over the past 20 years in Burgundy, France, with only technology and materials that were available during the 13th century.

That means stones are transported by cart, and specially designed cranes (13th-century style, of course) are used to get heavy rocks to the top of the castle.

The project began in 1997 with Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin, who spearheaded the effort to get the castle built. Final completion is expected around 2023.

During the lengthy construction phase the site drew 300,000 curious visitors each year. Guédelon even has a historically accurate backstory attached to it as well, which he uses to guide all the castle’s design and construction decisions.

The backstory begins in 1228, and with each year that passes, the researchers and volunteers who work on the castle must adapt to changes in technology that actually occurred. The backstory now places the castle in 1248.


One of the guides at the castle said that the backstory somehow needed a little extra something to get visitors excited:

“The rule is that only what we know from documents that existed at the time is allowed. Funnily enough, we found that even though we knew we were being accurate, somehow the castle lacked soul. So we invented a character – the owner – who would have likes and dislikes, wanting this and not wanting that.”

So the “owner” of the castle is Seigneur Guilbert, a middle-ranking feudal lord who was allowed to build his castle on the land because he sided with the French crown during a rebellion. Clever, isn’t it?!?!

What a wonderful project.