The most dramatic sight anywhere along the Seine has to be Richard the Lionheart's Château Gaillard, perched high above LES ANDELYS. Constructed in a position of impregnable power, it looked down over any movement on the river at the frontier of the English king's domains. It was built in less than a year (119697) and might have survived intact had Henri IV not ordered its destruction in 1603. As it is, the dominant outline remains. Visits to the Château are permitted between mid-March and mid-November only (Mon & ThursSun 10amnoon & 26pm, Wed 26pm; €3). On foot, you can make the steep climb up via a path that leads off rue Richard Coeur-de-Lion in Petit Andely. The only route for motorists is extraordinarily convoluted, following a long-winded one-way system that starts opposite the church in Grand Andely.
The tourist office for Les Andelys is at 24 rue Philippe-Auguste in Petit Andely (AprilSept MonFri 9.30am12.30pm & 2.306pm, Sat 9.30am12.30pm & 2.305.30pm, Sun 10amnoon & 25pm; Oct to mid-Dec & mid-Feb to March MonFri 25.30pm, Sat 9.30am12.30pm & 2.305.30pm, Sun 10amnoon & 25pm; tel 02.32.54.41.93). Both the nicest hotels are on the banks of the Seine, and have good dining rooms: the eighteenth-century Chaîne d'Or, opposite the thirteenth-century church of St-Sauveur at 27 rue Grande (tel 02.32.54.00.31; €5570; closed Jan, Sun evening & Mon, restaurant also closed Tues lunch), and the Normandie at 1 rue Grande (tel 02.32.54.10.52, www.hotelnormandie-andelys.com; under €55; closed Wed evening & Thurs, plus all Dec), where a couple of rooms are much cheaper than the rest. There's also a lovely riverside campsite, far below the Château, the Île des Trois Rois (tel 02.32.54.23.79; closed NovMarch).