Château de la Roche Guyon, a troglodyte castle in the Val-d'Oise with a breathtaking view over the Seine valley

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Published by My de Sortiraparis · Photos by My de Sortiraparis · Published on June 11th, 2024 at 11:11 p.m.
Have you heard of Ile-de-France's only troglodyte castle, nestled in the only village in the region to be named one of France's most beautiful villages? We'll take you on a tour of the Château de la Roche Guyon, an unusual castle in the Val-d'Oise, with an eventful past that also inspired the adventures of Blake and Mortimer.

We take you to the Vexin region, 70 km from Paris, to discover an exceptional château . Château de la Roche Guyon is located in the 95 region of France, near Giverny and Vetheuil. The village of La Roche Guyon, which boasts the distinction of being the only village in the Ile-de-France region to have been awarded the " Plus Beaux Villages de France" label, is atroglodyte village . And its château is no exception.

Originally, this village consisted entirely of troglodytic dwellings. It owes its name to the Gui family, owners of the medieval fortress from the 12th to the 15th century. Even today, the "boves" dug into the cliffs serve as sheds, art studios and shops, adding a special charm to this historic site.

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  vue façadeLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  vue façadeLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  vue façadeLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  vue façade

When you reach the bottom of the hill, you can see that the château reveals two different eras. The first Château de La Roche-Guyon was invisible, carved entirely out of the rock. In the 13th century, a main building was erected at the foot of the cliff, while a sturdy stone keep stood at the top of the hill. Protected by a double spur-shaped enclosure, the keep was linked to the manor house by a secret passage. The dungeon and its impressive secret passage, over 100 metres long, are the only remaining vestiges.

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  escalier Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  escalier Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  escalier Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  escalier

Over the centuries, the château has undergone many changes, from medieval turrets to Renaissance pavilions and terraces. Frequented by the kings of France and the intellectuals of the Enlightenment, it became the property of the La Rochefoucauld family in 1659. In February 1944, the château was taken over by German troops under the command of Field Marshal Rommel, who set up his headquarters here and negotiated peace with the Allies.

The château also bears witness to the Age of Enlightenment, when the Duc de La Rochefoucauld and his daughter, the Duchesse d'Enville, undertook major renovations. These transformations included a monumental entrance, stables, pavilions and terraces that blend harmoniously into the medieval fortress. The château attracted intellectual figures such as Turgot, Condorcet and Young, who met in the Grand Salon, the Library or the Petit Théâtre, the château's secret jewel.

The tour begins in the Salle des Gardes, where a magnificent, untouched ceiling immediately captures the attention. The Salon Rouge and Salon Jaune follow, each with its own distinctive character, testifying to the luxury and elegance of the premises. The Grand Salon, majestic in size and décor, is a true masterpiece, often used for grand receptions. The visit continues with the beautiful Library, where we'd love to see real books on display.

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  salle des gardesLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  salle des gardesLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  salle des gardesLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  salle des gardes

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  salonLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  salonLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  salonLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  salon

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  bibliothèqueLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  bibliothèqueLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  bibliothèqueLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  bibliothèque

Once you've visited the "classic" part of the museum, where some fine temporary exhibitions await you, such as the Monuments Men at the moment, you can move on to the hidden part of the iceberg. To the right of the entrance, just before the model, you can access the path that leads to the troglodytic part, the chapels in the rock and the famous dungeon.

The Duchesse d'Enville had a chapel built in the Cour aux Cerfs, consecrated in 1770 by Cardinal de La Rochefoucauld, Archbishop of Rouen. However, in 1806, after the French Revolution, the Cardinal-Duke of Rohan re-established the use of the troglodytic chapel. Between 1816 and 1819, he undertook conversion work, enlarging the original chapel by excavating three parallel naves, adorned with four terracotta bas-reliefs illustrating the life of Saint Pience and two episodes from the life of Christ.

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelle

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelle

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  chapelle

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 - chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 - chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 - chapelleLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 - chapelle

We then stop at the dovecote in the rock, to discover a view that's well worth the detour.

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  pigeonnierLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  pigeonnierLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  pigeonnierLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  pigeonnier

Climbing to the very top of the tower is going to take some effort. If you have trouble climbing the steps, skip it. If you're prone to vertigo, think again, as the slope is steep. There are no fewer than 270 steps at varying heights. You might as well say that you'll be working your glutes on the way up and your adductors on the way down. It's an athletic session, but well worth the effort, asthe panorama you'll discover at the top is truly breathtaking.

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  escalier dans la rocheLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  escalier dans la rocheLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  escalier dans la rocheLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  escalier dans la roche

From here, you can enjoy a view of the Potager-fruitier, a remarkable garden also worth a visit, as well as the entire Seine valley, testifying to the château's strategic importance over the centuries. What's more, you'll discover an astonishing toilet opening into the void.

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  donjonLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  donjonLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  donjonLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  donjon

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  vue Jardin potagerLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  vue Jardin potagerLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  vue Jardin potagerLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  vue Jardin potager

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte du Val-d'Oise à la vue imprenable sur la valléeLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte du Val-d'Oise à la vue imprenable sur la valléeLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte du Val-d'Oise à la vue imprenable sur la valléeLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte du Val-d'Oise à la vue imprenable sur la vallée

We continue our tour in the basement. If it's hot, the advantage is that the temperature is cool whatever happens. A little surprise for comic book fans: the Château de La Roche-Guyon is home to Edgar P. Jacobs'"Chronoscaphe", discovered in the album "Le piège diabolique" in the Blake and Mortimer series. A copy of the time machine, built by students at Lycée Le Corbusier in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, is now on display. This is logical, given that Blake and Mortimer's comic-book adventures take place mainly at the Château de La Roche-Guyon.

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  sous-terrainsLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  sous-terrainsLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  sous-terrainsLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  sous-terrains

Le Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  Chronoscaphe - Blake et MortimerLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  Chronoscaphe - Blake et MortimerLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  Chronoscaphe - Blake et MortimerLe Château de la Roche Guyon, le château troglodyte dans le Val-d'Oise - 95 -  Chronoscaphe - Blake et Mortimer

That's all there is to it. If you like the troglodyte part, be sure to visit the troglodyte Church of the Annunciation, also carved into the rock, 4 minutes away.

How do I get to Château de la Roche-Guyon?

  • By car: Take the A15 freeway from Paris towards Cergy-Pontoise. Continue on the A15 until exit 17 for the D14 towards Magny-en-Vexin. Follow the signs for La Roche-Guyon. The journey by car takes about 1h30, depending on traffic.

  • By train: From Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris, take a train to Vernon. From Vernon, take a cab or local bus to La Roche-Guyon. The train journey takes about 45 minutes to Vernon, followed by about 20 minutes by cab or bus.

  • By bus: Bus no. 95-11 runs from Cergy-Préfecture to La Roche-Guyon. You can take the RER A to Cergy-Préfecture, then bus 95-11. The bus journey takes around 1h20.

Food and drink

The village offers several terraces and restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the château. A delight for bikers who like to stop off in the area.

Exposition Monuments Men au Château de la Roche-Guyon - les photos -  A7C3911Exposition Monuments Men au Château de la Roche-Guyon - les photos -  A7C3911Exposition Monuments Men au Château de la Roche-Guyon - les photos -  A7C3911Exposition Monuments Men au Château de la Roche-Guyon - les photos -  A7C3911 Monuments Men, the exhibition at Château de la Roche Guyon that pays tribute to art officers
We're off to the Château de La Roche-Guyon to discover the "Monuments Men" exhibition, which runs from May 18 to November 24, 2024. The exhibition pays tribute to the "art officers" of the Second World War, who worked to protect, safeguard and restore Europe's cultural heritage. As part of the celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the Liberation, this exhibition offers a fascinating journey through history and art in a place steeped in memory. [Read more]

Château et potager de la Roche-GuyonChâteau et potager de la Roche-GuyonChâteau et potager de la Roche-GuyonChâteau et potager de la Roche-Guyon Tourism: Val-d'Oise village named one of France's most beautiful villages retains its title
Did you know that there's a town in the Paris region that's on the prestigious list of France's most beautiful villages? And the good news is that this year, it has retained this famous label. So which village is it and where exactly is it located? We've got the answers! [Read more]

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Did you know that in the Val d'Oise, the Church of the Annunciation at Haute-Isle is the only troglodyte church in the entire region? Carved directly into a chalk cliff and listed as a historic monument, it's an unusual nugget to discover. [Read more]

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Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
From June 11th, 2024 to December 31th, 2027

× Approximate opening times: to confirm opening times, please contact the establishment.

    Location

    1 Rue de l'Audience
    95780 Roche Guyon (La)

    Route planner

    Prices
    6-12 ans: €5
    tarif réduit: €6 - €8.5
    Plein tarif: €9.5

    Recommended age
    For all

    Official website
    www.chateaudelarocheguyon.fr

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