1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gisors

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GISORS, a town of France, in the department of Eure, situated in the pleasant valley of the Epte, 44 m. N.W. of Paris on the railway to Dieppe. Pop. (1906) 4345. Gisors is dominated by a feudal stronghold built chiefly by the kings of England in the 11th and 12th centuries. The outer enceinte, to which is attached a cylindrical donjon erected by Philip Augustus, king of France, embraces an area of over 7 acres. On a mound in the centre of this space rises an older donjon, octagonal in shape, protected by another enceinte. The outer ramparts and the ground they enclose have been converted into promenades. The church of St Gervais dates in its oldest parts—the central tower, the choir and parts of the aisles—from the middle of the 13th century, when it was founded by Blanche of Castile. The rest of the church belongs to the Renaissance period. The Gothic and Renaissance styles mingle in the west façade, which, like the interior of the building, is adorned with a profusion of sculptures; the fine carving on the wooden doors of the north and west portals is particularly noticeable. The less interesting buildings of the town include a wooden house of the Renaissance era, an old convent now used as an hôtel de ville, and a handsome modern hospital. There is a statue of General de Blanmont, born at Gisors in 1770. Among the industries of Gisors are felt manufacture, bleaching, dyeing and leather-dressing.

In the middle ages Gisors was capital of the Vexin. Its position on the frontier of Normandy caused its possession to be hotly contested by the kings of England and France during the 12th century, at the end of which it and the dependent fortresses of Neaufles and Dangu were ceded by Richard Cœur de Lion to Philip Augustus. During the wars of religion of the 16th century it was occupied by the duke of Mayenne on behalf of the League, and in the 17th century, during the Fronde, by the duke of Longueville. Gisors was given to Charles Auguste Fouquet in 1718 in exchange for Belle-Ile-en-Mer and made a duchy in 1742. It afterwards came into the possession of the count of Eu and the duke of Penthièvre.