Upper Normandy Chateaux and Castles
Both Normandy regions (Upper and Lower) are full of Castles. The wealthy French built many castles here during the years, often trying to outdo each other in architecture. Here you'll find Chateau, Manoir, and Fortress.
Most castles are still in private hands, but often the owners allow occasional visits. Some organize visits of the castle grounds, while others open the castle doors several weekends per year. Several have been converted into Hotels.
- Château Gaillard: Think back to the fantastic life of Richard the Lionheart, the friend of Robin Hood, as Walter Scott related it in his novel Ivanhoe. Chateau-Gaillard is the very place where these romanticized stories meet History. For this fortress was dreamed of, skillfully designed and built by the fiery Richard I of England, feudal Duke of Normandy, better known as Richard the Lionheart. This nickname was given in recognition of his bravery in the Crusades.
Eight hundred years later, Chateau-Gaillard offers living proof that this celebrated ruler really existed. Its stones give an idea of Richard's nature. Like its creator, the stronghold of Les Andelys calls to mind strength, power, invincibility. Yet the virtually impregnable fortress would live only a few years, just like Richard, who was too confident in his talents as a warrior.
- Harcourt: Situated in the heart of the medieval city, it was built towards the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century and is the best preserved of Chauvigny's five châteaux. Almost rectangular in shape, it has high once castellated curtain walls flanked by solid cylindrical turrets. The entrance to the château has no draw-bridge but was defended by a portcullis and deadly murder hole. The rectangular dungeon with its flat buttresses, was modified during the 14th century. There is a vaulted prison on the ground floor, whose doors, when open, blocks that of the dungeon. From the donjon, the renovated logis now displays the exposition rooms. Many cultural events take place throughout the medieval town in July. The "Géants du Ciel" free-flying bird show takes place in the ruined Bishops' castle from mid-March to mid-November.
- Dieppe: The castle was founded in 1188, and was destroyed in 1195. The site was restored in the 14th century. The castle was later in large part reconstructed in 1433 by Charles des Marets. The castle is composed of a quadrangular enclosure with round flanking towers and a lower court adjacent. The large west tower dates perhaps from the 14th century, and served as the keep. Several architectural styles are represented, and flint and sandstone are used in the buildings. A brick bastion and various other buildings have been added to the original enclosure.
The town walls were built around 1360. The walls were extended between 1435 and 1442. Although the town was largely destroyed by an Anglo-Dutch naval bombardment in 1694, the castle survived.
Until 1923, the castle housed the Ruffin barracks. It was bought by the town in 1903 and today is home to the Dieppe museum with its collection of ivories (crucifixes, rosaries, statuettes, fans, snuffboxes, etc), maritime exhibits and the papers and belongings of Camille Saint-Saëns.
- Moulineaux: The castle was built during the 11th and 12th centuries. It stands on a hill which dominates the River Seine, the view extending over the whole Rouen region, making it a particularly strategic location.
It is known that the English King Richard I ('Lionheart') stayed here. His brother, King John ('Lackland') destroyed the castle during his struggle with the King of France Philippe Auguste. The latter rebuilt it. During the Hundred Years War, the people of Rouen destroyed the towers to prevent the castle being used by the English.
Half ruined, it is today furnished with various artefacts as well as reconstructed scenes of local history and life in the Middle Ages. The castle is listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
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