Rouen is an easy day trip from Paris by train. Rouen is the capital of the Normandy area. It became the capital in the 10th century. Rouen has an amazing cathedral, Notre Dame Rouen, built in the 12th century. The town and cathedral have been under siege many times but most recently it was bombed during WWII. There were still restorations going on when I was there. There were boards around showing the restoration work happening to the church.They are trying to use the old fashion ways to rebuild like a large arch made of wood that fits into the tall gothic arches.
Other times the town was involved in conflict during Viking raids, the hundred year war, the war of religion, the Franco Prussian war, and WWII.
This cathedral has been made famous by Claude Monet. He painted the cathedral every hour with different light. There is a spot out front in the square with a plastic frame so you can see the same view Monet would have had.
Rouen is also known for its connection to Joan of Arc. She was burned at the steak in the ancient market square Place du Vieux-Marché. Now the church Saint Joan of Arc sits in the square. There is also the tower that her trial was held in. Now they have an escape room there.
Rouen is home to an astrological clock built in 1389 and known as Le Gros Horloge. It is one of the oldest clocks in Europe. An astrological clock not only tells time but it tells you the month, date, and day of the week. You can take an audio tour up the side of the building and behind the clock’s mechanism. You get to see the clock’s dial room, the clock maker’s room and workshop with tools, and the bells chamber. There was an art installation in the bell chamber when I was there. You can also learn about the local fountains as Rouen has one of the few remaining fountains from medieval times.
At the very top of the clock tower there is almost a 360 degree view of the city and surrounding areas. They have a basic map laid out on the railing so you know what you’re looking at.
There is alot of art in Rouen. All the museums were closed on the day I went. I made the mistake of not checking what day the museums were closed before I made the trip, but there was still a lot to do.
I ate lunch at an adorable tea house named Dame Cakes and had delicious rhubarb meringue pie. I also had a classic Normandy tart with medallions of fresh local goat cheese. I ate in the restaurant’s beautiful garden in the back courtyard.
There are alot of other churches and cathedrals in town. At least 13. I didn’t have time to go into every one, but I did see the front of a lot of them. You could spend a whole day seeing just that.
My next trip to Rouen will be filled with churches and art museums.