View from the top of Château de la Roche Guyon donjon. ©2009 Deidre Adams.
One of our day trips while staying with ArtStudy was to La Roche Guyon, a short ride from Giverny. It’s a charming village whose main feature is a castle, the Château, which was built in stages over many years.
In visiting the Château itself, you enter through the courtyard and find yourself in the newer part of the complex, an addition built in the 18th Century. This building includes a succession of staterooms, one of which features 4 very large and beautiful tapestries representing the biblical story of Esther. There is also a room housing a collection of curiosities, with taxidermied animals, shells, rocks, and other artifacts of nature. Beneath the castle are a series of subterranean passages, including the “casemates” dug in 1944 by the German army for field marshall Rommel and his staff.
You can go up to the top of the old 9th-Century donjon (castle keep), if you are a hardy soul who can forge on past the dire warning signs and make the climb up 250 very steep steps carved into the rock of the cliff itself. Those who do so are rewarded with magnificent views of the village with the Seine beyond.
I also spent some time walking through the village, with its lovely shops and residences. At one end of the village, you can find a walking path that runs next to a beautiful field (maybe it’s wheat? I’m sorry I’m not really up on the grains). The skies in the morning were beautiful with patchy clouds, before the rain moved in for good later that afternoon.