The Viking Spirit departed Rouen at 6:30AM, so we were able to have breakfast and watch the ship depart. These
river cruising ships do not require a large "shore crew", they have a few guys to handle the ropes and to
insure that nothing gets snagged by the ship, the ship casts off and away we go.
Our destination today, was Les Andelys, where Richard I of England, feudal Duke of Normandy, better known as Richard the Lionheart, constructed Château Gaillard to block the French King and Army from coming up the River Seine to attack Normandy. Richard constructed ithigh on a hill overlooking Les Andelys.
Richard started construction of Château Gaillard in 1196, and it was completed in two years. This was remarkable construction speed, considering that it sits high on a hill, and everything had to be hauled up to the site, everything including; blocks of stone, cannon, other weapons for the troops stationed there, food for the troops, gun powder, etc, etc..
Château Gaillard was attacked (and seized) by Phillip II in 1204, which meant that it did not have much of a useful life for the English King. Small reward for King Richard, who thought that Normandy could remain an English possession, as long as Château Gaillard blocked the French from marching up the River Seine valley. By the end of 1204, Phiilip II had subjugated all of Normandy, Rouen took the longest to fall requiring 40 days of siege by the Army of France.
Hiking up to Château Gaillard
We wound up walking through the Parc du Petit Andelys and then on to the
Parc de repos because we assumed that we would see a sign that identified a trail
up to the Chateau. We eventually found a trail, but found out later that there was a substantially simpler
walk if we had gone up the Chemin du Château de la Gaillard.
Click here to view a map of the Château.
Remains of Château Gaillard
As you can see in this picture, it is now in ruins, as it was destroyed a number of times
by the French Army.
This picture also gives you a better idea of how steep the trail was to get up there !
View of the Seine from Château Gaillard
This picture (taken from the ramparts of the Castle), gives you a better idea of the commanding view of the
River Seine from the Castle. This picture was also taken, because it shows the Viking Spirit
moored at Les Andelys.
This view is also utilized by various Viking brochures, so it might be familiar to any of you who have any of them.
Hiking to Les Andelys from Château Gaillard
After we hiked back down the Castle trail, we strolled about Les Andelys village, as it was a neat example of a French village. A number of small shops, pubs, and various stores offering various types of merchandise.
View of Château Gaillard from the Village
As we started to walk through the village, Celeste turned around and saw what a great picture of the castle was waiting to be taken!
Meeting Good Friends on the Cruise
Before I forget to mention, this is a picture of some very nice people (Bernie and Joanne) who we met onboard
In an extreme example of "weird coincidence", when I told Bernie that I used to hang out in Philadelphia when I was in the Navy, he asked me where, and when I told him the location, it turned out that Bernie grew up not two blocks away! In fact, he attended the same church that my good friend's family attended - just an amazing coincidence !
- The Viking Paris & the Heart of Normandy Overview & Guide Our Viking River Cruise from Paris to Rouen, with various ports of call, click here to read more.
- Day One in Paris The first day in Paris was a bus tour to some of the world famous locations, click here to read more.
- Vernon, France The town of Vernon is home to the famous artist Monet, click here to read more.
- Day Four on the River The shoreline along the Seine is beautiful, and we passed the Viking Neptune returning to Paris, click here to read more.
- Rouen, France Since the Viking Spirit arrived in Rouen at mid-day, we had free time the remainder of the day to explore. Very walkable and historic and we had a fantastic dinner there. click here to read more.
- Tour of the WW2 Invasion Beaches This day trip tour was very interesting to me, and if you are a history buff, this tour would be in your wheel-house, click here to read more.
- Les Andelys, France Quaint little village with a historic castle high above the village and the Seine River. click here to read more.
- Versailles, France The Palace of Versailles is a beautiful and historical site, and we enjoyed the tour. Click here to read more.
- Paris, France The Viking Spirit arrived back in Paris at 7PM, so we headed off to have a nice dinner ashore and show my in-laws some additional Paris sites, click here to read more.
- Our Thoughts on Viking River Cruises Our perspective on Viking River Cruises, plus a few pros & cons to consider. Click here to read more.
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