In France, castle Guédelon being built to medieval standards





When my niece, Sarah, was little, she returned from a long trip to Europe with her parents and announced she never wanted to set foot in another museum. Children who travel abroad are lucky, but on another level you have to pity the poor kids dragged through ancient ruins, art galleries, cathedrals and castles, until they're ready to drop, when all they really want is a Game Boy and a hot dog.

But in the Burgundy region of France, there's a castle that fascinates children — and it isn't another Euro Disney. It's Guédelon, about 100 miles southeast of Paris, where history is in the remaking at a medieval stronghold being built with only 13th century materials and techniques. The idea comes right out of one of those marvelously illustrated children's books by David Macaulay — "Cathedral," "Castle," "City," "Pyramid" — that explains how great historic monuments took shape. Only Guédelon is real.

The project was the brainchild of architectural historian and conservationist Michel Guyot, owner of a 17th century château, also open to visitors, in the nearby village of St.-Fargeau. While restoring the complex, Guyot discovered remnants of a medieval stronghold. Et voilà: the seed from which Guédelon was born....


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