Chateau Gaillard – Richard-the-Lionheart’s castle

[wce_code id=1]

Chateau Gaillard, Castle of the Dukes of Nomandy

Chateau Gaillard overlooks one of the meanders of the Seine at Les Andelys from atop on a rocky spur.

The fortress is in ruins, however, it is still impressive!

The river Seine was an important fluvial transportation route during the Middle Ages, as it indeed linked Paris to the Norman coast.

Les Andelys enjoyed a prime strategic position; it commanded the river and the surrounding countryside.

It stood on the land of Richard the Lionheart, King of England and Duke of Normandy… and vassal of the King of France Philippe-Auguste.

Richard was one of the sons of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England, and therefore the descendant of William the Conqueror.

Richard and Philippe-Auguste signed a bilateral treaty in December 1195.

This document stipulated that Andeli (Andelys), a territory belonging to the diocese of Rouen, was to remain neutral and therefore couldn’t be fortified.

Richard, however, broke up the agreement!

He built Chateau Gaillard in order to protect Rouen from the attacks of Philippe-Auguste, who was trying to reconquer the Duchy of Normandy.

The conflict between the French and the English was once more revived!

Chateau-Gaillard, an almost impregnable fortress

Richard built Chateau Gaillard in record time, in just two years, from 1196 to 1198!

One of the first fortified castles with machicolations, it was also one of the first to be built with a system of concentric fortifications.

Chateau Gaillard is therefore composed of three enclosures, separated from each other by a dry moat that protect a central keep.

Impressed by this apparently impregnable fortress, Richard would have exclaimed:

Que voilà un chateau gaillard’ – what a mighty castle!

This impressive system of defense, however, did not prevent Philippe-Auguste from capturing it in 1204.

This occurred, though, after a lengthy siege during which many soldiers and inhabitants of the village Petit Andeli died of hunger and cold!

Chateau Gaillard changed hands many times during the Hundred Years War, but was definitively integrated to the Kingdom of France in 1449.

Abandoned, it became a den of thieves and highwaymen bandits.

It eventually fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1599 on the orders of King Henri IV.

The ruined fortress was fortunately classified Historical Monument in 1862.

Chateau Gaillard is easily accessed from Paris as it is only 85kms to the west; the road that leads to it follows the valley of the Seine.

Department of Eure
Coordinates: Lat 49.237690 – Long 1.402538
Photos Wikimedia Commons: header FortressSeen from top of the hill

Normandy – Latest content

Beny-sur-mer Canadian war cemetery - Stone of Remembrance during the 75th Anniversary commemorations

Beny-sur-mer Canadian War Cemetery near Juno Beach

Beny-sur-mer Canadian War Cemetery, the burial-place of the soldiers who fell on Juno Beach and in the first days of the Battle of Normandy Continue Reading Wreaths laid on the occasion of D-Day 75th Anniversary Commemorations

D-Day 75th Anniversary Commemorations – We were there!

We had the immense privilege of attending some D-Day 75th Anniversary Commemorations in June 2019 and are delighted to share these special moments with you Continue Reading La Cambe German war cemetery - Jardin de la Paix - Peace Garden - Friedenspark

La Cambe German War Cemetery

La Cambe German military cemetery contains the bodies of over 21,000 German soldiers who died in Normandy between June and August 1944 Continue Reading Kieffer Monument and Stele dedicated to Cdt. Kieffer's 177 Commandos of the Free French Forces who landed on Sword Beach on June 6, 1944 - Juno Beach War Memorials

Sword Beach War Memorials

Sword Beach War Memorials pay tribute to the British 3rd Infantry Division and Commander Philippe Kieffer’s French Commandos who freed Bella Riva on D-Day Continue Reading

Sign up to our newsletter

Travel France Online will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates via our newsletter. By selecting the boxes on the form you confirm your acceptance to receive our newsletter.

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at

We will treat your information with respect. For more information please visit our privacy policy page

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Normandy – Latest content