The build: Chateau Gaillard was constructed by King Richard I in the late 12th century. Otherwise known as “Richard the Lionheart”, this legendary English ruler engineered the castle to counter French attempts on England’s holdings in continental Europe. His castle builders turned this vision into an unparalleled stronghold in less than two years. Perched high above the River Seine, its knife-like keep, arced-stone wall and multiple baileys speak to its military purpose and its King’s fiery character.
The siege: This castle was attacked by Richard’s archenemy, Philip II of France. Bolstered by medieval weapons like the mangonel Phillip Augustus led an army through Normandy in 1203, arriving at Chateau Gaillard in the latter part of the year. He attacked a river fort and the adjacent town of Petit Andely, before even reaching Chateau Gaillard. The gruesome battle went on through the winter, claiming many lives and intensifying the historical struggle between English and French.