Sunday, 16 May 2010
A couple of weekends ago I went to see the Chantier Medeieval at Guedelon in Burgundy, where a 13th century chateau is being built using the materials, tools and techniques of the age. Work began in 1997, and they aim to be nearing completion around 2025, though in a way this is a project without end. Far from being an exercise in romantic Luddism, it's a remarkable insight into the ingenuity of master craftsmen in an age long before power tools, CAD and the hydraulic ram.
The ever increasing number of visitors to the site have allowed the project to become self-funding, and since all the materials are quarried, felled or dug from the site, the only real costs are labour. The infrastructure around the site is as authentic as the chateau itself, with the surrounding forest being dotted with the workshops, forges, sawpits and kilns of the tradesmen. A building site like no other, and well worth a visit. See www.guedelon.fr for more details.