About Châteauneuf-sur-Epte Castle
The ruined castle of Châteauneuf-sur-Epte is in the commune of Château-sur-Epte in Normandy, France. Construction started around 1097 by William Rufus, King of England, to reinforce the frontier along the Epte river.
By the 16th century, the castle’s role had declined and it was ordered to be dismantled in 1647. Today, the ruins are private property. Châteauneuf-sur-Epte has been listed since 1926 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
Built from 1097 by the King of England and third son of William the Conqueror, William Rufus, Châteauneuf-sur-Epte occupied a site on the border between the Duchy of Normandy and the Kingdom of France. The castle was reinforced by the Plantagenets in the 12th century and again during the Hundred Years’ War.
In 1119, Châteauneuf-sur-Epte was besieged by Louis VI of France. The keep and entrance were restored and reinforced by Henry II of England in the 12th century, while further works were carried out in the 14th century.
The Châteauneuf-sur-Epte’s role declined throughout the 16th century, and Mazarin – chief minister to Louis XVI – ordered it be dismantled. The Ancien Regime then turned the castle remains into an agricultural centre, keeping the motte and stone keep with surrounding walls and barns.
Today, Châteauneuf-sur-Epte is owned by the Historical Heritage Association, but the castle offer the opportunity for volunteers to help revive the castle. Volunteers will help tend the garden, clear the ruins of rubble, repair the roofs as well as make drawing and illustrated plans of the site.
While you cannot freely walk the site, you can see a lot of the castle from the surrounding area, particularly along one of the many scenic walks.
Getting to Châteauneuf-sur-Epte
The Châteauneuf-sur-Epte is only an hour and 50 minute drive from Paris, along the A15 and D14 roads. Via public transport, take an RER A train from Chatlet-Les Halles to Cergy Saint Christophe, and then from St Christophe take the 95-04 to Bois Saint Clair. From there, the castle is a half hour 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.