Lyons-la-Forêt

On the List of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

An early mention of a ducal residence in Lyons can be found in 936, when William I, Duke of Normandy used to stay here.

In 1135 Henry I of England, also known as “Henri Beauclerc”, died at the Lyons castle, at the time called Saint-Denis-en-Lyons.

The town and the castle were occupied by King Philip II Augustus of France in 1193 but the following year, Richard I of England, back from captivity, obtained the restitution of Lyons; the king of England and duke of Normandy resided frequently here until 1198. In 1202 Philip II Augustus conquered back the city, and after him several French kings sojourned here, attracted by the Lyons forest and the good hunting grounds.

From 1359 to 1398 the castellan domain of Lyons was part of Blanche de Navarre’s dower after she became widow of king Philip VI of France. In 1403-1422 it was the dower of Isabeau de Bavière, wife of king Charles. In 1419, in the course of the Hundred Years War, the English took Lyons.

Sights

  • Roman theatre (private property)
  • Castle of Henry I of England (private property)
  • Covered market place (18th century)
  • Church Saint-Denis (12th and 18th centuries)
  • Town hall (17th century)
  • Houses built in typical Normandy style (17th and 18th centuries)
  • The forest is 10,700 hectares, the largest in Normandy and one of the largest Beech forests in Europe. It is renowned for the “cathedral-like” straightness and height of its trees’ trunks. One of its characteristics is its having so many open spaces and clearings among which lie small villages and hamlets. This makes a transition between the Vexin plateau and the Andelle valley

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