The 10 Best Things to See in Rouen


Rouen: A City Full of History

Normandy will always be my favorite region of France. It's where my family comes from. So my love of Rouen is biased because of it. As a kid, we would always go to Rouen every time we were in France. It's a cute, old city with a lot of history, making it my favorite city to visit in Normandy. So here are the top ten things to do in Rouen.

10. Musée des Beaux-Arts: this art museum houses a collection full of great artists. Works form Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Delacroix are displayed among many others, both French and international artists. If you're an art enthusiast, then this is a good museum for you.

St. Ouen

9. St. Maclou: right behind the cathedral, this gothic church is not to be overlooked. It is surrounded by the traditional timber houses of Normandy, and it's a little more flamboyant in style than the rest of the churches from the time period, making it an interesting contrast.

8. Vieux Marché: this beautiful square is filled with some dark history but it is surrounded by the beautiful timber houses of Normandy. This was the square where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Today there is still a market area, though I tend to avoid it because of the very fishy smell.

7. Palais de Justice: this gothic building from the Middle Ages is beautiful. I remember that walking by this building was always a stop on our list of things to do. And even though you can't go in, it's worth a quick detour to admire its beauty.

6. Jardin de l'Hôtel de Ville: any big city appreciates a large green space. Rouen is no different. Its garden just behind the town hall is a great break from the city with its manicured plants and elegant statues.

The site where Joan of Arc was burned

5. St. Ouen: The abbey is enormous beautiful. Made in the 13th and 14th centuries, it was named after a bishop from Rouen. Inside its organ and stained glass windows are to be marveled at.

4. Church of St. Joan of Arc: on the square of the Vieux Marché is a new church built for Joan of Arc at the same location where she was burned. It's more the history of the location that attracts people than the church itself. The church is very modern, but its stained glass windows tell the story of Joan of Arc.

3. Le Gros Horloge: this 13th Century clock attracts people from all over the world because it is one of a kind. It only has one hand, showing that time wasn't as important back then. It stands tall about the street on an arch and is impossible to miss.

The Rouen Cathedral
2. Vieux Rouen: wandering around Rouen, you'll notice that many of the streets are pedestrian and surrounded by timber houses. Its easy to lose yourself in these streets, but you won't get lost as it seems they all lead to the cathedral. Look inside the store windows for cute knick knacks or some shopping as Rouen is a modern city within an old city.

1. Cathedral: this cathedral seems to be the focal point of the city as there is a large square in front of it and every road seems to lead to it. Its beautiful gothic style is to marveled at for its attention to detail and its size. While it did suffer a lot of damages during the war, today it has been repaired and always seems to be under restoration. This church is hands down one of the best churches in France.

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