About Chateau de Gisors
Chateau de Gisors is a castle in the town of Gisors in Normandy, France. The castle was a key fortress of the Dukes of Normandy in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was intended to defend the Anglo-Norman Vexin territory from the King of France.
Chateau de Gisors history
The first fortress dated to about 1095 and consisted of a motte, which was enclosed in a spacious courtyard or bailey. Henry I of England, Duke of Normandy, added an octagonal stone keep to the motte. In 1193, while King Richard I was imprisoned in Germany, the castle fell into the hands of King Philip II of France. After Richard’s death in 1199, Philip conquered much of the rest of Normandy and Gisors thereafter lost a good part of its importance as a frontier castle.
The castle is also known for its links with the Templars. Put into their charge by the French king between 1158 and 1160, it became the final prison of the Grand Master of the Order, Jacques de Molay, in 1314.
In 1419, during the Hundred Years’ War, Gisors Castle was taken by Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence, for the English. They were expelled for the last time in 1449. After that, the castle lost its military importance and was gradually neglected until it was finally decommissioned in 1591.
According to some legends, the castle would be the hiding place of the treasure of the Knights Templar. This led to some digging in the mid-20th century which damaged the ruins. Nothing was found.
Chateau de Gisors today
Since 1862 Château de Gisors has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. The castle of Gisors is a public park with the inner castle upon its motte as the centre. The interior of the castle is not currently available to visitors.
Getting to Chateau de Gisors
The Chateau is an hour and a half drive away from Paris. The nearest station is Gare de Gisors which is around 15 minutes walk away.
As one of the great historic regions of France, Normandy is bursting with a number of stunning castles with equally compelling histories to match. Here's our pick of 10 of the best.