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Rouen is a medieval city in Normandy, notorious for being the site of Joan of Arc's trial and execution in the old market square. It is famous for its Notre Dame Cathedral of the XII-XVI centuries, over which there are 2 towers - Saint Romain in the style of fiery Gothic XII century and La Tour Haut Ber 1506.


Cathedral of Our Lady of Rouen. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen

It was this cathedral that inspired Monet to create more than 30 canvases with his image. Stendhal called Rouen "Athens of the Gothic style", and Hugo, who visited Rouen, repeatedly called it "the city of a hundred bells."


Cathedral of Our Lady of Rouen. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen. Oil tower


Cathedral of Notre Dame of Rouen. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen


The main symbol of Rouen is Gros-Horloge - a watch, a huge dial, which is a symbol of "unhurried" time. This cozy town is also famous for its narrow streets of fachwerk houses (in French Colombage style).


 Gros-Horloge of Rouen


The "Old Town" is listed in the French Michelin Guide as a *** tourist destination. The Chapel of the Virgin Mary contains the tombs of the Amboise cardinals. The majestic Saint-Ouen de Rouen abbey (136 m long, 26 m wide and 80 m high), the Gothic-style Palace of Justice and the half-timbered houses are also worth the attention of the curious tourist. This cozy town is famous for its narrow streets of half-timbered houses, the sharp roofs of which look picturesque against the background of the ordered sun.


Comombage style house

Rouen - the historical capital of Normandy, now the center of the Normandy region and the prefecture of the Seine-Maritime department. About two hours drive from Paris (135 km), from where our multi day trip Normandy - Brittany" starts. Nearby, west of Rouen, is the Normandy Natural Regional Park on the way to Le Havre. Visit of Rouen is included into other Experiences to Normandy starting from Paris.

Rouen is home to about 110 thousand people. The city was founded under the Romans on the right bank of the Seine. Thus, here, as in Paris, there is a conceptual division into right and left banks. In addition, tributaries of the Seine flow through the Rouen, in particular the Obett, Robeck and Kayi rivers. Once, the Robek rivulet was reputed to be the nurse of cloth makers and millers, but today it has turned into an obedient stream flowing along the pedestrian street.

For connoisseurs of half-timbered houses or the Norman style (colombage), which survived the Second World War, there is a hot-blooded quarter around the hospital, which is located in the eastern part of the long hau-de-Robeck street. The locals themselves love this area for the opportunity to enjoy the delicious kebabs in France.


Colombage style house 


Near the imposing Saint-Ouen Cathedral, with its hilly park, is the Place Saint-Marc: until noon, under the Art Nouveau awnings, a farmers' market unfolds, where you can get hold of the main treasures of Normandy - cheese and cider.

In the Middle Ages, when the city began to grow, shipbuilders began to settle on the left bank. There are noticeably fewer churches here, and there are no places dedicated to Joan of Arc at all. That is why, after the military restoration, this area has acquired a miserable appearance, where factories are separated from sleeping quarters by asphalt motorways. Despite this, you can visit the very pretty Botanical Gardens, which are surrounded by colonial-style mansions.


Église Saint-Maclou de Rouen.  


Today, the left bank is covered with a second wave of renewal: the pedestrian Saint-Sever street with a large shopping center is trying to imitate the atmosphere of the cobbled tourist areas on the other side of the river, and the embankments have been rid of cars and converted into a park with a wide promenade, picnic meadows and playgrounds. Now you can also find here museums of modern art, cinemas, climbing walls and the headquarters of the council of city deputies - a grand iridescent building that uses solar panels to generate more energy than it consumes.


Harbour of Rouen 


The port of Rouen has always attracted great interest from traders and conquerors, and to this day it is the main sea gateway to France for the delivery of agricultural goods. Port poetry manifests itself in the famous Armada - a show of historical sailing ships, which, since 1989, once every few years, solemnly climb the Seine to Rouen. Usually Armada takes place in summer, in June. Many ships gather on it, in total about 7 thousand sailors in full dress come ashore. There are also Russian ships here.

The official start of the Armada is given in the morning, when the middle section of the Gustave Flaubert bridge rises 55 m from the water. Not surprisingly, this unique structure was built in 2008 specifically for sailboats and cruise ships.


From the history of Rouen

The history of the city goes back to the reign of Octavian Augustus. At this time, an urban settlement appeared on the right bank of the Seine, which became the second largest city in Gaul after Lugdun. At the dawn of this Gallo-Roman city, in the 3rd century, an amphitheater and large baths were built. And during the period of the raids of the Germanic tribes (mid-IV century), the first cathedral was built in the city and the first bishop of Rouen was named

During World War II, despite heroic defenses, Rouen was occupied by German forces from June 9, 1940 to August 30, 1944. During the war, the city was destroyed more than once: the entire historic quarter between the Cathedral and the Seine, the Rouen Cathedral and the Palace of Justice were significantly damaged, during the bombing of the Americans in June 1944, the Cathedral and the adjacent historic quarter were on fire again. After the war, the city center was rebuilt and reconstructed for 15 years according to the project of the French architect Jacques Grebe.


Top 7 attractions in Rouen


Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen


  1. Rouen Cathedral
  2. Palace of Justice
  3. Old Market Square
  4. Jeanne d'Arc Tower
  5. Large clock of Rouen Gros-Horloge
  6. Museum of Fine Arts
  7. Church of Saint Maclu


 Église Saint-Maclou de Rouen


In the vicinity of Rouen there are several castles of outstanding beauty and history, which are open to the public in the summer. Castle of Robert the Devil (Château de Robert-le-Diable), which is located 22 km southwest of Rouen (about 20 minutes by car). It is one of the closest castles to Rouen, located in a place called Moulineaux.

The castle belonged to Robert de Montgomery, known throughout France as Robert le Magnifique ("Robert the Magnificent"), who is also the Duke of Normandy and the father of William the Conqueror. Although there is no reliable evidence that the castle was just his. According to another version, the castle belonged to the Moulyneux family, associates of William the Conqueror. Today the castle is privately owned and closed to the public.

In the vicinity of Dieppe, you can also see the elegant castle, built in 1590. Miromesnil Castle was rented by the Maupassant family in the middle of the 19th century. On August 5, 1850, the famous writer Guy de Maupassant was born in the castle. Despite the fact that the writer left the castle at the age of 3, he wrote a short story about the "meeting" where he named the street Miromesnil, where Madame Haggan and her lover, Count Martele met. The castle is located 59 km north of Rouen, about 45 minutes by car.

Half way between Paris and Rouen, in the vicinity of the city of Verona, there is a small but very cute typical Norman town - Giverny. This provincial town is notable for the fact that Claude Monet spent many years of his life here, starting in 1883. Today Giverny is a world famous place of artistic pilgrimage. Even during Monet's life, Renoir, Matisse, Cezanne, Pissarro walked along the streets of Giverny at one time.


Where to eat and Rouen's cuisine


Famous Restaurant La Couronne


Rouen's restaurants are mainly concentrated in the vicinity of St. Jeanne d'Arc. They are designed for tourists, so most are open on Sundays. Rouen's traditional dishes include main dishes typical of Normandy.



We advise you to try the most delicate goose liver pate - foie gras (most often served with crispy toasts and onion jam), as well as Rouen-style sheep legs. In winter, French onion soup is also popular with the inhabitants: a warming soup made from caramelized onions sprinkled with croutons and cheese.

And for connoisseurs of delicacies, we suggest trying the Rouen duck (Canard à la rouennaise) - Rouen's signature dish, the creation of which is credited to the hotel owner from the city of Douclair. The dish consists of different parts of duck, served in a blood and bone marrow sauce, which is extracted using a press. Among French gourmets, such a dish is considered "the height of elegance."


Rouen. Normandy cuisine. A gastronomic Dinner. 


Normandy Cuisine


Also popular among the locals are pancakes traditional for the north, better known as Breton pancakes - very thin, made from wheat or buckwheat flour. They are served with cheese or ham fillings.

The most persistent can start their meal with the traditional French aperitif Cyrus or the traditional Pommeau aperitif, a special Normandy drink made from unfermented apple juice, which is then mixed with Calvados. Calvados alcohol stops fermentation. The result is a refreshing and sweet drink perfect for snacks. Round off your meal with a local Calvados digestive.



For dessert, we advise you to order a cheese platter, which is very popular throughout France and goes well with wine. For sweets, you can try macarons from Rouen (Macarons de Rouen - macaron de Rouen), puff pastry baskets stuffed with almonds (Mirlitons de Rouen - Mirliton de Rouen), tears of Jeanne d'Arc - Larmes de Jeanne d'Arc (larmes de Jeanne d'Arc) - oval-shaped, stuffed with roasted almonds with a layer of caramel, and all this under a thick layer of dark chocolate, Cadran du Gros Horloge - the name after the clock tower of Rouen.

Inside the chocolates - a mixture of apples and Calvados that melts in your mouth. And finally - Les paillardises (le paillardises) - a world-famous dessert from Rouen, created according to a secret recipe from nuts and chocolate.

Visiting Rouen don’t forget to taste the local Cider, which is the most popular drink in Normandy. In the 19th century, Henri Monier said: "Thanks to nature, which allows apple trees to grow so freely in Normandy, where cider has become a drink for everyone." The recipes for making cider have been passed down from generation to generation in this area.

 Les Maraîchers - traditional restaurant in the city center of Rouen


Top 3 inexpensive restaurants in Rouen:

  • COSY LUNCH 8, place de la Calende
  • CROQ’SAISON 76-78, rue du Général Lecler
  • FLUNCH 60, rue des Carmes

Mid-range restaurants in Rouen:

  • L’Orangerie, 2 Rue Thomas Corneille 76000 Rouen — traditional French cuisine
  • Le p’tit Paul, 5 place de la Cathedrale — in the south of the square near the cathedral

There are also several gourmet restaurants in Rouen that have been awarded Michelin stars. True connoisseurs usually come here to enjoy the works of art by French chefs. It is unlikely that you will be able to fill up with such dishes, but creativity and unexpected combinations of ingredients are provided. Among the Michelin-starred restaurants we can single out L'Odas and Origine, where the average price of a la carte is from €28 to €40.



Shopping in Rouen



When shopping in Rouen, it is worth remembering that, as in all of France, sales periods last a month in winter, after the New Year, and a month in summer, from the first days of July. You will find a large number of different international brands in the shops. Rouen also has many traditional handicraft products such as porcelain. It is also important to remember that shops in France are usually closed on Sundays and holidays.

If you are interested in brand names, then we suggest taking a look at the Lafayette Gallery, which is located near the Rouen Cathedral. Printemps department store (Prantam) is also located in the heart of Rouen, near the cathedral.

  • Antique enthusiasts tend to visit the Galerie de l'Astrée, where they can buy 19th century items and furniture. It operates at 8, 10 et 23, rue Damiette 76000 ROUEN from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm, closed on Sundays and Monday morning.
  • The René Lernon Gallery sells paintings and sculptures. Opening hours: 10:30 - 13:00 and 14:30 - 19:30, also closed on Mondays and Sundays. Address: 7, rue Damiette 76000 ROUEN (www.galerie-lernon.com)

Near the cathedral from Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 to 19:00, you can find many objects from the 18th century: mirrors, lamps, paintings and other decorative items. Address: 25, rue Aux Ours 76000 ROUEN.

Finally, for connoisseurs of antique toys - Les Jouets Anciens De Caroline - which can be visited at 20, rue Saint-Nicolas from 10:00 to 19:00 Tue-Fri.


Additional information about Rouen

For more information on the history and geography of Rouen, you can see on the official website of Rouen https://en.rouentourisme.com


Rouen. Normandy.



We offer "Étretat — Normandy" Day Trips by Minivan with visit of Rouen, Étretat, Honfleur with Cheese & Calvados Tasting in Small-group or as Private Experience starting in Paris. Join us !


Map of Rouen


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