Friday, June 3, 2011

Richard The Lionheart's Castle: Chateau Gaillard

It was a rainy, misty day when we arrived in the village of Les Andelys in Normandy. However, we didn't allow the weather to dampen our enthusiasm for a visit to the imposing landmark sitting 90 metres up on the hill above: Chateau Gaillard.

Today there are just ruins so the castle is but a shadow of its former self - a once glorious and incredible piece of medieval architecture, brought to life by none other than King Richard 1st. Having done some reading on the subject, we understand that it was Richard's experiences whilst on crusade that inspired the building of Chateau Gaillard. He had seen some mighty walled defences and noted their architectural style which helped afford more defence.

Construction of the castle began in 1196 and, when complete just two years later - an incredible feat for such a build - it was arguably the most formidable castle in all of medieval Europe. It was also one of the first castles in Europe to ever use machiolations.

It's glory under its patron King Richard, however, was to be short-lived for only a few years after his untimely death in 1199 AD, the castle was captured by King Philippe II of France. As mentioned in our dedicated page on castle defence and attack Chateau Gaillard was ironically breached through no more than an unguarded chapel window.

We will revisit the subject of Chateau Gaillard again in our Medieval Castle Blog and share more of our photographs. In the meantime, you can read more on the Wiki page on Chateau Gailard

The French themselves have a great passion for their castles or Châteaux de France as they call them. Although the text is in French, there are some great photographs on the following Chateau Gaillard page.

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