To fully grasp the singular charm of La Roche-Guyon, the village should be approached from the Seine. Several centuries of history race down its chalky cliff to the river, including the troglodytic habitats of its origins, a medieval dungeon and imposing castle from the Age of Enlightenment, traces from the Second World War, and a village influenced by both Île-de-France and Normandy. © Natalia Durango/hemis.fr
Just an hour from Paris, in the middle of the natural regional park of the French Vexin, La Rouche-Guyon is one of the Loveliest Villages in France. Its setting between Normandy and the Île-de-France region is apparent both in its architecture and its landscapes. Its origins hail back to the 4th century, when it was only made up of troglodytic dwellings, before its castle was built in the Middle Ages. The castle, for which the village is named, was modified many times throughout the centuries. Of the original structure, only the dungeon is still standing. Owned by the La Rochefoucauld family since 1659, it was where Renaissances kings converged in the Age of Enlightenment. In February 1944, it was taken over by Rommel’s troops, who were attempting to negotiate peace with the Allied forces. Set on the banks of the river, its 18th-century vegetable garden and orchard, which was designated “Outstanding Garden,” offers views from the castle’s ceremonial rooms. Between the castle’s white palisades, lighting effects on the water and the vegetable garden’s exuberance, la Roche-Guyon can also be discovered by way of the Seine, thanks to the recent creation of a river stop.