Gisors has a large history as the main military stronghold between the two vexins, the French and the Norman ones. Since the late of the 11th century, a great mound of earth and stones strengthened by internal wooden stakes was built by the second son of William the Conqueror. Above this mound, a first fortification called jacketwall and a huge wooden tower are put up.
In the 12th century, the Plantagenet dynasty will improve the area with imposing fortifications. The main stone elements appeared. The castle is endowed with a lower courtyard which is above 800 meters long, in the middle of which there are the mound and an octagonal heavy stone donjon.Some great walls are built and they are embellished with watchtowers of various shapes which are still visible today. These are quadrangular billed towers, towers shaped in "u" or circular towers made up of several window level.
From the 13th century, the king of France will conquer Gisors with sweat and blood. Then, they will enlarge the castle with the building of imposing towers.The prisoner's tower is put up at the top of the plateau. It concerns the main circular tower composed of three levels.
During the Hundred Years War, the castle becomes an essential stronghold, the stake between the English and the French parts. In the middle of the 15th century, after a seat of three weeks, the castle will even be occupied for a while by the proud Englishmen. Then, the stronghold gets back to the French king's hands and it will undergo important changes allowing to adapt itself to the artillery evolution and to modernize. It is surrounded by a clod that forms a new battlement face to the barrel and arquebus attacks. An ace-of-spades shaped bastion is created on the plateau with an underground room and a bunker. A first rempart is built on one side of the battlement: it is a covered gallery which allowed the castle's soldiers to protect themselves from the attacks. The castle becomes a royal residence with the construction of outbuildings and even a seigneurial dwelling in the lower courtyard. The cellars still exist today. They are located under the flower-bed, in front of the entry from the Blanmont's place.
In 1605, Sully decided to dismantle Gisors's castle following the example of the french military areas: Since then, gisors has no longer a strategic interest as it was the case of many feodal castles in the 17th century. A part of the outbuildings is destroyed, some buildings become linked with Gisors's bailiwick. The royal dwelling falls into ruin: the stones are stolen. During the french revolution, the castle becomes communal.
Currently, the castle remains the emblematic building of Gisors. On site, during guided tours, you can travel all over the monumental fortification, even through the watchtowers and the prisoner's tower. Outside the castle, you will cross the dry-moats called "bannetons". This shaded walk between watchtowers and clod will allow you to see the various military constructions.
Inside the castle, the lower courtyard became a park within which there is the mound and its vestiges which, also, invite you to go for a walk in the shade of its hundred-year-old trees. From its east extremity, you can admire the medieval houses of the city, situated at the foot of the strengthened plateau. During guided tours, we offer to you the possiblity to climb up to the mound, to see the kitchen's vestiges and also those of the plantagenet's chapel. Then, you will be allowed to reach the top of the donjon and to go into the underground cellars, searching for lost treasures.
The castle's park is accessible freely and for free from 8 am to 5 pm from october to march and until 7.30 pm from april to september.
Guided tours conditions :
Be careful, the department of Heritage informs the tourists that, for reasons of safety, the guided tours would only take place in the public park. It is impossible for the moment to climb up to the donjon or to climb down to the cellars.
If you want more information, you can call the 02 32 55 59 36 or the 02 32 55 52 32
At least 3 persons are required for starting a tour
Length of the tour : 1 hour
Admission rates : 5 € full fare / 3 € reduced fare
The castle's closing :
Closed on Tuesday (no guided tours but you can have access to the park)
Closed yearly on December and January (no guided tours but you can have access to the park)
Closed on the third weekend of May (neither guided tours nor access to the park)
Closed on the last weekend of August (neither guided tours nor access to the park).
Guided tours hours :
From april 1st to september 30th: every day at 10 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 3.30 pm and 5 pm.
On october, november, february and march : the weekends at 10.30 am, 2.30 pm and 4 pm.
For more relevant information, you can visit the city of Gisors's website at the section culture category patrimoine.