About Gaillard Castle
Gaillard Castle is a ruined medieval castle, located above the commune of Les Andelys in Normandy, France.
History of Gaillard Castle
Construction began in 1196 under the auspices of Richard the Lionheart, who was simultaneously King of England and feudal Duke of Normandy. The castle was expensive to build, but the majority of the work was done in an unusually short period of time. It took just two years and, at the same time, the town of Petit Andely was constructed.
The castle has a complex design, and uses early principles of concentric fortification; it was also one of the earliest European castles to use machicolations. The castle consists of three enclosures separated by dry moats, with a keep in the inner enclosure.
Captured after a lengthy siege by Philip II of France in 1204, Gaillard Castle came into the control of the French monarchy. In the mid-14th century, the castle was the residence of the exiled David II of Scotland.
The castle changed hands several times in the Hundred Years’ War, but in 1449 the French captured the castle from the English king definitively, and from then on it remained in French hands.
Henry IV of France ordered the demolition of Gaillard castle in 1599; although it was in ruins at the time, it was felt to be a threat to the security of the local population.
Gaillard Castle Today
The castle ruins are listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. The inner bailey is open to the public from March to November, and the outer baileys are open all year.
Getting to Gaillard Castle
From the centre of Paris, the castle is a 2 hour drive via the A13 road. Equally, from the centre of Amiens, it’s an hour and 45 minutes via the A16.
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.