Sunday, 29 May 2016

France 1954 - Château Gaillard

Imagine you are travelling along the River Seine in a north-westerly direction from Paris. You enter the Eure département of historical Normandy. Then something catches your eye. A large circular castle standing on a huge mound. It looms some 90 metres over the commune of Les Andelys on the River Seine. You are seeing the stalwart medieval castle known as Château Gaillard.

Construction on the castle began in 1196. It was built for the King of England, Richard the Lionheart. At this time King Richard was also the Duke of Normandy. It was a massive castle with a considerably advanced design, employing the principles of 'concentric fortification'. Its complexity notwithstanding the castle was completed in the record time of just two years. It was built at the same time as the town of Petit Andely, which it overlooked. Today, the castle is in ruins, but it is still an awe-inspiring sight.


On 8 June 1954 France issued a set of seven stamps featuring French Monuments. The 8f value features Château Gaillard and Les Andelys on the River Seine. According to Phil-Ouest, Albert Decaris only designed this stamp. But I cannot find another name on the stamp, which usually, from what I've seen, means that it was both designed and engraved by the one person. So I'll assume Decaris engraved this stamp also. If anyone knows differently, I'd love to hear from you.

In this design, the River Seine sweeps through the centre of the stamp, drawing the eye towards the middle distance where the ruin of the medieval castle, Château Gaillard, stands proudly. Below the castle to the left is the commune of Les Andelys.

Until next time...

Stay Decaris Crazy!


  1. This has always been my Decaris landscape favourite: what a panoramic view of the valley highlighting the scenery with delicately rendered trees over the bend in the qietly flowing river, towering rocky slopes rising high above it, the castle ruins on the hill top and more hilly countryside planted with trees in the background, yet traces of cultured land everywhere as evidenced by the settlements along the winding road on the left and the fields on the right. The magic of fine stamp engraving ...


    1. Lovely description, Florian! I totally agree!