Of course, before starting to stroll in Gisors's streets, you will have looked at the amazing heritage of Gisors made up of a fortified medieval castle and a church "cathedral". If it is not the case, discover them quickly cliking on their respectives links.
The Church "Cathedral"
Indeed, the purpose of this walk is to discover the heritage spread inside the city, not very well known and yet as well prestigious.
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Probably built in the second half of the 15th century, the Wash place is fed by the Epte River. This emblemetic 117km river marks the historical and geographical border of Normandy. Today, the Epte valley is a conservation area.
From the Wash Place, you will travel along the 12th century wall, built to protect the city. From the moat, you will appreciate the extensive view of the castle walls and on the many towers which mark it out: The Prisoner's Tower, the Blue Door, the Trembling tower, the unnamed Tower, the Devils Tower, the Field Door, the Square Tower and the two pentagonal towers.
One of the principal roads of Gisors which bears the name of the town of Vienne in Isere (38) in order to honour the support given by this town during the Second World War. The top end of the street still shows, in spite of the bombardments of 1940, a great number of half-timbered houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. You are invited more particularly to discover the “Passage of the Monarque” referring to Philippe Auguste. During the 12th century, this “Passage” was the principal entrance to the castle. At No. 8, was located the old court of the bailiwick and the prison of justice. Lastly, No. 6 was the home of the Sir Grainville, where Henry IV stayed several times.
The remains of the Garden Pavilion of Douet de Graville, dates back from the end of the 16th century and is located within a French garden, surrounded by three hectares of parkland. The Garden Pavilion or Gloriette contains decorative components of the park. The wrought iron grids were welded by the pupils from Gisors secondary school in 1980 based on a drawing by Gendreau, architect of the French Building Institute, and following a 17th century model.
Water, the frontier symbol through the river, was also the symbol of the economic activity of Gisors until the Second World War. Initially in the Middle Ages it was with the tanners and shoemakers, then in the 17th and 18th centuries it was under the influence of Colbert with cloth manufacture, lace and tapestries. Finally in the 19th and 20th centuries it was with the spinning and weaving industries, and cotton washing and dyeing.
This statue is the work of Michel Poix. This stainless steel, contemporary work is very unusual. It tells a story, as well as talking about truth and honesty.
The story: On September 28th, 1198, Philippe Auguste broke through the barricades established by Richard Lionheart, and entered the city. In his passage, a bridge gave in and he fell into the water, the weight of his armour carrying him to the bottom. On the way seeing a statue of the Virgin, the sovereign promised to gild it if he succeeded to escape. That is why the Virgin took the name of the Golden Virgin.
The artist's message: the body of the sculpture is not uniform but "torn" in the top of the bust. On one hand, it concerns the symbolic expression of the opposing forces that divide all men, or more precisely, the mother torned by the death of her son. On the other hand, it is also a symbolic expression of the necessity of breathing and of opening fully to the world. As you can see, the head of the child coincides with the left breast, the last point of carnal union between a mother and her child, who does not belong to her any more. Finally, Michel Poix had chosen to gild the inside more than the outside to interiorize this wealth. Much more than an overt demonstration, it is the internal spiritual brilliance that is important.
The vault is the last testimony of the Leper-house founded in 1210 by Jean de Gisors. This vault dedicated to Saint-Lazare was ranked as ancient monument in 1992. In 1996 an important work of consolidation and restoration was completed. Decorated with mural frescos painted by Dado, the vault is only accessible on national heritage open days.
From 1930 to 1936, Boisgeloup, a small gisorsien hamlet, welcomed the Emperor of modern art: Pablo Picasso. In Boisgeloup he created many sculptures.
His workshop then was full of fantastic animals and big heads. We find the influence of Boisgeloup in his works “Boisgeloup Under the Rain” (September 1932) a small oval painting representing the place which bears today the name of the painter, “Naked Woman in a Red Armchair” (July 1932), “Minotaur and the Girl”(June 1933) and “The Murder” (July 1934). Lastly, it was Boisgeloup that was the background for the masterpiece of the century, “Guernica”.
The story of this property is a part of the various steps of Gisors's expansion. As the family it shelters, it plays an important urban part. In 1610, the duchess of Orléans-Longeville has the first stone of the Recollects house laid (a men monastery) at Gisors. At that time, the monastery is situated "rue des fontaines". In 1788, an assembly gathering all the department deputy of Gisors took place there and it was chaired by Pontecoulant, the Marshal of the king Louis XVI's armies. Then, it was reorganized under the reign of Louis XVI, by Louis-françois Passy (1760-1834), the controller-general of finances.
Some friends of Louis-François Passy buy for him the property so that they can give him a civism patent. Thus, the Recollect's monastery becomes for 190 years the property of the Passy's family. During the 19th century, this family bring distinguished servants of the state and more particularly the first Nobel Peace Price in 1901. This possession, then, belonged to Mrs Marie Françoise Louise Adelaide Passy, countess De Bueil, after being inherited in her father's succession Sir Louis Paulin Passy, then to the consort De Bueil, her descendants.
Nowadays, the park plan enables to make this sector of Gisors noble again. To promote the living environment and the sustainable development of the city, the plot of land was purchased by the municipality in 1997. This environmental park's plan is part of a preserving process and it aims at promoting a blue and green framework. Thus its purpose is to equip the city with a real green core, with the ambition, on the long-range, to create continuity through an already existing country road network that need to be prepared, converted and landscaped..
The environmental park is opened from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm from november 1st to january 31th , from 9 am to 6 pm from february 1st to march 31th and from 9 am to 7:30 pm from april 1st to october 31th.
Download the map of environmental park