Barge Connection Blog

A Castle In The Making

b2ap3_thumbnail_Castle.jpgDid you ever wonder how those French medieval castles were built? How did they get the materials to those remote areas? How did they achieve those magnificent results and where did they find the craftsmen? A group of builders and historians is seeking to answer those questions by constructing a new castle in the forests of Burgundy using 13th century methods and materials. The result is Guedelon Castle.

About Guedelon Castle

Begun in 1997 and expected to be finished in 2025, Guedelon is a new castle, constructed using only the engineering, tools and raw materials available during the Middle Ages. Stones and other materials are brought to the site via horse-drawn carts, not trucks, and hoisted into place via pulleys, not cranes. There are no power tools on the site, nor are there mobile phones. Measurements are made with knotted ropes instead of electronic instruments. Even the workers' dress and food mimic the 13th century.

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French Wines to Go

One of the best things about visiting France is sampling the excellent food and wine you find virtually anywhere you go. It's all, but impossible to get a bad meal in that country. And, of course, all that good food is accompanied by good French wine. Fortunately, unlike many French food items, you can take most wines home to the United States. However, before you start buying wine to take home, it's best to know the customs regulations and other logistic issues.

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Toulouse Lautrec Still Intrigues Art Lovers Today

Toulouse Lautrec
Though he died young, at just 36 years old, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec left a body of work that still intrigues art lovers today. His paintings, illustrations and drawings give life to turn-of-the-20th-century Paris, and thousands of visitors flock to Albi, his hometown, each year to visit the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum and the collection of his works displayed there.

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Delicious Calvados Brandy from Normandy

They say that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s doubtful that was the philosophy behind the creation of the apple-based brandy called Calvados, produced in the Normandy region of France. But something had to be done with all those apples lying about. Why not create something truly delish? The Lord de Gouberville answered that challenge and is credited with the first distillation in 1554.

It’s all in the Apples
Bite into the typical apple used in Calvados and you’ll most likely find your face puckering. Think persimmons or even lemons and you’ll get the picture. These apples are not apples for eating, but have the necessary proportion of sugar, acidity and tannins to produce quality cider.

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Most Memorable Towns of the Languedoc

A few months ago I had the great opportunity to travel to France for a hotel barge trip down the Canal du Midi in the Languedoc region. Having never been to the region before, I envisioned a quaint countryside with farms and the occasional café in the more populated areas. What I found however was so much more.

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