Begun in 1196, Château Gaillard went up at staggering speed, being completed by 1198, although the story goes that it was built in just one year. It certainly contained the very latest military elements. Richard died in 1199, however, and his hapless brother and successor, King John, would see the castle taken from him by Philippe Auguste. During the Hundred Years War, Château Gaillard would be occupied by English troops for some time, but after that period, the fort was no longer suitable for new warfare.
Down below the castle, the two villages of Le Grand Andely and Le Petit Andely grew and merged into one. France’s most famous 17th-century artist, Nicolas Poussin, was born in these parts. He was taught by an itinerant artist, Quentin Varin, but Poussin would find his greatest inspiration by heading off to Italy. That said, the area around Les Andelys is quite beautiful and has been declared a Zone Natura 2000 to protect its special environment.