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In the heart of the French region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the slumbering, overgrown ruins of the château de Lavauguyon are being restored and enhanced by the not-for-profit association Les Amis du château de Lavauguyon, while encouraging young volunteers to learn skilled artisan trades.
On the borders of the French departments of Haute-Vienne, Charente and Dordogne, a medieval square keep and fortress dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries are being restored as part of an educational programme steered by a team of volunteers. Part of France’s national Union Rempart network, Les Amis du château de Lavauguyon organises work experience for young people at the site, transferring artisan building skills, raising awareness of local heritage and introducing volunteers to a range of potential careers.
Steered by a compagnonmaçon-tailleur de pierre (a qualified stonemason and member of France’s ancient builders’ guild), young volunteers study the structure of one of the castle towers, and learn traditional stone-masonry and construction skills before building a restored section of wall. The experimental scheme aims to attract a broader range of volunteers over time, with the participation of school groups in particular. Working at the site helps introduce young people to a variety of skills and career options, from ancestral building techniques and artisan trades to heritage-sector professions and disciplines including architecture, history, art history and archaeology.
In the medium to long term, the association aims to establish an interpretation centre at the site exploring medieval architectural heritage, as part of an initiative to raise awareness among local young people and involve them in practical, hands-on schemes. The castle is located close to the Hermès leather workshops at Nontron. Its renovation is supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of the second edition of our H³ programme (Heart – Head – Hand).