A medieval adventure in the 21st century!
Guedelon is absolutely unmissable, an extraordinary feat that is both thrilling and lavish in scale. I have been visiting Guedelon precisely twice a year for ten years now, always with friends and children, and I love seeing the astonishment in their faces. The magic begins immediately after the ticket office in the semi-darkness of the huge barn, where there is just enough light to enjoy the wonderful animated drawings which show the start of this construction, bringing the dreams of the founders to life.
The tempting shop window always make me want to stop, then on arrival at the site there are discoveries to be made one at a time by following the arrows and letting yourself be led on foot to the various wonders on show – because this is exactly what they are, no one can be unaffected by all that there is to be seen during the two hour visit. If your children get involved in any of the activities on offer then you can easily spend half a day there without realising it.
Here in this timeless place we learn how they built a fortified castle in the Middle Ages. We watch the builders working in front of us, labouring with huge energy and effort because Guedelon is a working site and it would be wrong not to acknowledge this: cutting, building, drawing, sawing, calculating, dyeing, lifting, moving, repairing, baking, weaving, undoing, redoing…. narrating and explaining patiently to all the visitors amazed by this unique and heartwarming undertaking. This is history being built before our eyes, slowly and unrelentingly. Each stage discovered over the course of the visit wakens the spirit and opens our consciousness, so much so that we cannot go home unaffected. It resonates so deeply in each one of us that we can only conclude that our roots, our traditions, our heritage, everything we pass on to our children, is here.
We are all part of a structure or links in a chain and nothing can be built responsibly and lastingly without each one supporting the other. Time is a unit and a value which Guedelon allows each of us to appreciate fundamentally. No one can remain indifferent to an experience like this and children will be spellbound.