Château Gaillard, a 12th-century fortress in the Seine Valley, France
© Francis Cormon/age fotostoc
Ruins near Rouen. A silent witness to history
If you leave the French city of Rouen and travel about 25 miles southeast, on the way to Paris, you’ll see for yourself the ruins of Château Gaillard, still standing over the Seine River. King Richard I commissioned the castle in 1196, when England occupied portions of modern-day France. The English and French fought for control of the castle for roughly 250 years, a span including their conflict in the Hundred Years War. France finally wrested control of it for good in 1449, but by the late 1500s, Château Gaillard was uninhabited and falling into ruin. Henry IV of France ordered it demolished in 1599. Today, the outer walls—called baileys—are open to the public year-round, while the inner baileys are open during summer months.