Rouen is the historical capital of Normandy, France. It is a popular day trip destination from Paris because it takes less than 2 hours to get there from the City of Lights. Imposing churches, remarkable architecture and impressive museums are the biggest attractions in the…
Rouen is the historical capital of Normandy, France. It is a popular day trip destination from Paris because it takes less than 2 hours to get there from the City of Lights. Imposing churches, remarkable architecture and impressive museums are the biggest attractions in the area. If you are a history enthusiast or passionate about arts, expect to have a great time exploring the city and the treasures it offers.
A walking tour of Rouen will take you along the banks of the Seine River and charming cobblestone streets lined with gorgeous structures. Start your stroll at the magnificent Rouen Cathedral at Rue des Bonnetiers. The grand Gothic building is one of the most recognizable cathedrals in the world, thanks to the genius of Monet who immortalized the cathedral’s facade in a series of paintings. Check out the cathedral’s stunning doors and marvel at the bible scenes exquisitely carved on their surface. Of course, the interior is also worth exploring for its impressive sculptures and superb adornments.
From there, follow the streets of Saint Romain and Gros-Horloge and enjoy the medieval charms of wooden houses along the way. Rue du Gros Horloge is also home to the massive one-handed clock tower – be sure to look for the carved stone angels and observe something interesting if you are paying close attention.
Continue down to Vieux Marche from Gros Horloge to follow the footsteps of Joan of Arc on her way to execution. At Place du Vieux-Marche, you will experience several attractions dedicated to the city’s beloved heroine because it marks the area where she was burned at the stake for heresy. The interior of the church here is also worth exploring especially for those who cannot get enough of gorgeous stained glass windows. There are also plenty of restaurants nearby, so you might want to grab a bite before you head to your next destination.
Museum-hopping is also a must when exploring Rouen. Visit Musee des Beaux-Arts and bask in the glorious masterpieces of the great masters such as Monet, Rubens, Poussin and Caravaggio, among others. The Museé de la Ceramique is also worth checking out for its impressive collection of ceramic objet d’art, especially the remarkable 17th century Rouen faience. Of course, there is the Museum of Joan of Arc at the Place du Vieux-Marche where you will experience her life depicted in striking wax sculptures.
If you are intrigued by the author of the novel Madame Bovary, then you might also want to visit the museum dedicated to Gustave Flaubert – located just a stone’s throw away from the Museum of Joan of Arc. And, if you are interested in amazing wrought iron work, there is Musee Le Secq des Tournelles where thousands of extraordinary pieces are on display.
If you are an avid shopper, then go to Place Saint Marc on weekends and have fun navigating through the cornucopia of antiques, fruits, vegetables, flowers and many other knick-knacks for sale in the area. Vieux Marche is also a good place to stock up on fresh produce and mouthwatering cheeses.
Finally, if you want to go on a short excursion out of the city, the charming village of Les Andelys makes for an ideal destination because it is only a few minutes drive south of Rouen. The site is a haven for history enthusiasts because it is where the ruins of Richard the Lionheart’s Chateau Gaillard is located. A romantic walk along the Seine is also a must for the picturesque views of the famed fortress, the sweeping valley of the Seine and the charming old houses of Petit-Andely.