90 Meters Above Les Andelys

Le Chateau looms

OK, back to  medieval king-of-the-hill. Really, this involves a king (several actually) and a steep hill (goes up one foot for every 5.6 feet walked, roughly two paces average — parts were half that, and parts were twice that).

Chateau Gaillard, sited on this  hill outside Petit Andely, was built for Richard Cœur de Lion, or Richard 1 of England. We tend to think of him as English. He and just  about all with whom he interacted thought of him as French. The historical record places him in England all of six months total in his life.

Richard was less inclined to govern than he was to fight, and so his approach to governance was to let a Regent deal with it. He viewed the territory, people and commerce governed as a source of funds for his fights. Control of river commerce (fees and taxes) was a significant contributor.

While Chateau Gailllard’s siting did have some defensive merit, it was more about controlling the flow of revenue into Richard’s Ducal coffers than anything else. It is believed he was the chateau’s actual architect and had incorporated features of Holy Land castles that resisted his assaults.  Richard died before it was completed.

Then the king-of-the-hill started and lasted until Henry IV of France (Henri-Quatre) ordered its ruins destroyed (a bit redundant, that).

This was an arduous tour for many of our fellow cruisers. We were glad we had the first week of cruising to limber us up. The walk around town was quick and quaint — another holiday (Whit Monday) underway. The gallery below with the links above tells the story.


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