Sancerre, Guédelon and Briare

On our first long stay here (2013), we did a ramble to Bourges and some places around there, and we asked Mary and Gilles if we could go to Sancerre. Although we were not great white wine fans, we’d heard of the white wines of Sancerre. We went, we tried, we were hooked; the white wines of Sancerre are dry and flinty – they have a hint of minerality to them that we love. Fortunately, we can drive to Sancerre in about an hour and three-quarters, so Tuesday the four of us headed south, added a side trip to Guédelon, bought a little wine at a Sancerre winery, and stopped for a bit on the way back to see a favorite bridge.


Laurie and I saw a documentary about Guédelon a couple years ago and have wanted to visit since. Twenty years ago, someone thought it would be interesting and instructional to build a thirteenth-century chateaux, using thirteenth-century tools and techniques. Today Guédelon is maybe two-thirds complete, and has become quite the tourist attraction. Understandably so, as it’s very interesting and well done. There are workshops in which tiles and shingles and windows and furniture and everything else are made, stone for the building is carved and rock quarried, all as it was done 800 years ago. There is a working thirteenth-century mill on site, built only with techniques and tools that were available then.

The day we visited, hundreds of school kids were also there (it’s the end of the school year, a traditional time for school outings). We enjoyed watching the kids in  the workshops, carving stone and doing other educational stuff.

All the Guédelon workers are willing to talk about their work, showing how it’s done. There are something like 40 people working there, which explains why the chateaux rises slowly; in real life in the thirteenth century, there would have been hundreds of people working here.

An overview of Guédelon.

Building the walls, which are about ten feet thick.

The pieces of the arched window were cut and formed by hand on site.

We saw somewhere that they expect to complete Guédelon in twelve more years. But…I’ve been on a lot of projects and I know what happens to project completion dates. A better estimate is “TBD.”


Not much to say here: we bought a few bottles of great wine…

Madame prepares 24 bottles for us and a little less for Mary & Gilles  (who already had some in their cellar)

Gilles is going to need a trailer hitch on his car someday.

The 24 bottles doesn’t include the bottle Madame gave us as thanks for appreciating and buying their wine. Ever see anyone in Napa leave the winery with complimentary bottles? Nope.

Canal and Bridge

Y’all know that Laurie and I love visiting the canals of France, and that we also like bridges. So what could be better than a canal bridge? This canal carries the Canal Latéral à la Loire across the Loire River; a canal on a bridge. Pretty cool, we think.

The canal is a little over 2,000 ft long. While it appears to have nice sidewalks on each side, these were actually paths for the horses that pulled the barges.

Then, it was homeward bound. A nice ramble on a beautiful day.

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