The charming town of Rouen is the capital of Normandy, and it is located on the Seine River in France. It was one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries.
Rouen sustained extensive damage during the War but it has been lovingly reconstructed.
Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. The House of the Exchequer was built at the beginning of the 16th century and currently houses the Tourist Office. It was on the first floor of the edifice of this building where Claude Monet created his Cathedral Series in the late 1890s.
I love the Picturesque facades of the half-timbered houses.
Here are some of my favorite attractions in Rouen:
- Rouen is known for its Notre-Dame Rouen Cathedral, with its Tour de Beurre (butter tower) financed by the sale of indulgences for the consumption of butter during Lent. The 12th century construction was built on the foundations of a 4th century basilica. It was destroyed during the Viking invasions in 841 and partially in 1944 by allied bombardments.
The choir of the cathedral houses the tombs of the Dukes of Normandy including Rollo who founded the duchy in 911. You can also find the recumbent statue of Richard the Lionheart, King of England and Duke of Normandy.
2. Hop on the tourist train for a scenic ride through town.
3. At 10:30 in the evening, there is an incredible light show projected onto the imposing facade of the Cathedral. The amazing show tells the story of William the Conqueror and the Vikings.
4. The Old Market Square is the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake on May 30th, 1431. A large cross marks the spot. The young French heroine was held as a prisoner here and sentenced to be burned at the stake after a lengthy church trial. She was burned at the stake for heresy when she was 19 years old.
The Saint-Joan of Arc Church is a modern church designed by Louis Arretche. The stained glass windows were preserved from the Church of Saint-Vincent from the Renaissance Period.
5. The Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock dating back to the 14th century. It is located in the Gros Horloge street and was fully restored in 2006. The belfry houses the city bells and one of the oldest clock mechanisms in Europe.
In the evening, have a Vino con Vista drink at the Delirium Bar connected to the clock tower.
6. Pay tribute to Joan of Arc, a symbolic figure in Rouen at the Rouen Castle. The tower is known as the tour Jeanne d’Arc, where Joan of Arc was threatened with torture. Joan’s condemnation was pronounced in 1431 and a retrial would take place in 1456 nullifying the first.
The dungeon, (Joan of Arc Tower) is the only remaining element of the Philippe Auguste château where the she was imprisoned and judged. On the Place du Vieux Marché, the stake and the Joan of Arc Church receive thousands of visitors every day.
“In the middle of the Hundred Years War, the young woman marked the history of France forever. From Domrémy to Orléans, her route was full of success until her fall in Rouen in 1431. From the Tour de la Pucelle, via the Place du Vieux Marché and the Cathedral, a trail retraces Joan’s last hours through the streets of the town.” Sign up for the Joan of Arc Tour at the Tourism Office.
7. The Basilica Church of Saint Ouen (12th–15th century)
The Bishop’s body was buried here in 684.
9. The 15th century Flamboyant Gothic Church of St Maclou (Eglise Sainte-Maclou) is dedicated to Malo of Aleth. He was born in the Gwent region in Wales in the 6th century and sailed to Aleth (Saint-Malo) where he founded several monasteries. Some of his relics are in this church.
The western facade has 3 portals. The medallions on the main door show the circumcision and baptism of Christ.The best preserved stained-glass embellishes the transept windows. In the rose window above the Renaissance organ, God is shown surrounded by angels. The Passion Window (number 114) was made between 1470 and 1505.
10. The Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics (Musee des Beaux-Arts) has a nice collection of faïence and porcelain for which Rouen was renowned during the 16th to 18th centuries. Founded in 1801 by Napoleon I, its current building was built between 1880 and 1888 and underwent a complete renovation in 1994.
The Museum of Fine Arts boasts one of the most prestigious collections in France. Paintings, sculptures, drawings and objects of art produced by all schools, ranging from 15th century to the present are on display in a chronological order: Perugino, Veronese, Rubens, Caravaggio, Velázquez, Ribera and Poussin. The 19th century is the other key period of the collection of the museum, with works of the greatest painters: Ingres, Géricault, Delacroix and others.
In 1909, the Depeaux donation made the Fine Arts Museum the second largest Impressionist collection in France, with painting by great masters such as Monet, Sisley, Caillebotte, Pissarro, Degas and Renoir. There’s also a Bookshop and Restaurant.
Here’s the link:
Check out their video: https://en.rouentourisme.com/arts-antiques/musee-des-beaux-arts-2246-en/
For a spectacular Vino con Vista, dine at La Couronne for an incredible Michelin-rated meal. It is in the heart of the Old Town square and you can gaze at the Joan of Arc Church right in front of you. La Couronne was founded in 1345 and it is the oldest Inn in France. The restaurant is on the first floor.
Try some local delicacies
Tourist Office Information:
Parking Cathédrale – Office de Tourisme
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com