Château de La Roche-Guyon

La Roche-Guyon, France

The present Château de La Roche-Guyon was built in the 12th century, controlling a river crossing of the Seine. In the mid-13th century, a fortified manor house was added below. Guy de La Roche fell at the Battle of Agincourt, and his widow was ousted from the Roche, after six months of siege, in 1419; she preferred to depart rather than accept Henry Plantagenet as her overlord. It came to the Liancourt family with the marriage of Roger de Plessis-Liancourt to the heiress Marie de La Roche; he was a childhood companion of Louis XIII, first gentleman of the Chambre du Roi, and was made a duke in 1643. He and his wife made great changes to the château-bas, opening windows in its structure and laying out the terrace to the east, partly cut into the mountain's steep slope.

The domain of La Roche-Guyon came to the La Rochefoucauld family in 1669, with the marriage of Jeanne-Charlotte de Plessis-Liancourt with François VII de La Rochefoucauld. The Château retained its medieval aspect of a fortress, with its moat and towers and cramped, dark living apartments. The Château was largely extended in the 18th century.

After D-Day in World War II, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel defended Normandy against the Allies in World War II from a bunker located here. The castle also was Rommel's headquarters.

Restorations and archaeological surveys undertaken after 1990 by the Conservatoire régional des Monuments historiques revealed new additions to the documentary history of La Roche-Guyon, undertaken in the 19th century by Hippolyte Alexandre and Emile Rousse.

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Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Erik Mannery (10 months ago)
The castle itself is beautiful and so is the surrounding village which is quiet and relaxing to walk around. The castle is built on huge chalk cliffs making the hike up challenging but well worth it. If you are going to Normandy or to Monet's garden in Giverny, La Roche-Guyon is well worth it and I liked it better that Giverny- much less crowded and history is more interesting than art anyway.
Rob Rich (12 months ago)
Marvelous old chateau, which was rommel's hq in WWII. Wish they had more of the original furniture.
Eduardo Vignon (15 months ago)
A great chateau to visit off the beaten path. Very few people so you basically have the castle for yourself. It is lovely and it's near Giverny.
Robert A (15 months ago)
Beautiful castle. You can climb up the rock face and you get a great view. We'll worth the visit
Arturo Marte (19 months ago)
Great outing ahead if you take the time to head over to La Roche-Guyon! Enjoy a nice stroll along la Seine before heading to the castle. Recommend the guided tour ! And make sure to take a good pair of walking shoes cause the troglodyte stairs up to the old dungeon are pretty steep (250 steps)! Enjoy
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Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

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