Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Medieval French castle will slowly take shape in Ozarks

Photo Courtesy Ozark Medieval Fortress

LEAD HILL, Ark. — Keep building it, and they will come. That is the philosophy of a French couple who are constructing a medieval castle in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas.

Michel Guyot and his wife, Noémi Brunet, broke ground on a 13th-century-style French castle last year on a site about halfway between Little Rock, Ark., and Springfield, Mo., and close to Branson, Mo. They estimate it will be 20 years before the Ozark Medieval Fortress is completed. And that’s just fine with them.

The stonemasons, artisans and other craftsmen working on the castle are using 13th-century tools and techniques, and Guyot and Brunet want the public to visit the construction site and watch workers in period dress make ropes, forge tools, quarry stone and build the walls, turrets and a drawbridge entry of the castle.

The foundation of the castle, which will be 1,000 feet around, was put in place last year, and the castle walls, which will be six feet thick and made from stone quarried on site, are beginning to rise. The castle will have six main towers, some as tall as 45 feet.

The site will open to the public seven days a week rain or shine from May 1 to Nov. 30, beginning this year.

Visitors will be encouraged to interact with the workers and ask questions. There will also be opportunities for hands-on activities to learn 13th-century skills such as rope making and basket weaving.
A committee of scientists will validate each stage of work to ensure the credibility of the building.
Guyot and Brunet purchased a 50-acre site for the castle from Jean Marc and Solange Mirat, a French couple who moved to the United States 20 years ago and whose home overlooks the site.

“I was skeptical when I first heard of this proposal, thinking it was yet another ‘castle-in-the-sky’ scheme,” said Joe David Rice, tourism director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. “But I’ve since visited the property where I met with both Michel and Noémi and saw firsthand what they’re doing. It will offer a truly unique and memorable experience for young and old alike.”

Rice said the couple started a similar project a dozen years ago in Treigny, France, and it now draws 500,000 tourists a year.