Updated on 15 October 2020
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The best way to explore the 500 years of medieval Normandy is to start with the key sites associated with the period: the Mont Saint Michel, the Bayeux Tapestry, the ruins of Jumièges Abbey, the Château-Gaillard, and the medieval town of Domfront. And while you’re here, why not peruse our selection of the many great medieval fairs in the Duchy of Normandy?
William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart and Joan of Arc
In the year 911, by the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, King of the Franks, the unfortunately-named Charles ‘the Simple’, was constrained to concede to Rollo the Viking all his lands ‘from the Epte to the sea’. Some decades later, the Vikings, now the ‘Normans’, set about reorganising their vast domain. The inheritance would fall to William the Conqueror, born in Falaise in Normandy. In 1066, the Duke, by trial of battle at Hastings, would become King of England. The story is told in stunning detail in the Bayeux Tapestry.
His great-great grandson Richard the Lionheart was king for ten years, and it is to him that we owe the great Château-Gaillard in the Eure département.
The history of Joan of Arc is tragically intertwined with that of Rouen. Her trial was held here, and she would be burnt at the stake in the Old Market Square. The Joan of Arc Historial Museum in Rouen is devoted to her story.