The old city of Rouen is a continuous accumulation of unique sights, perfectly preserved from the Middle Ages. In the historic center of the city, everything revolves around the famous Rouen Cathedral. Its construction lasted for about three centuries, and during this time the building absorbed the features of a variety of styles with the dominant Gothic. Rouen Cathedral was immortalized by the Impressionist Claude Monet in a series of landscapes, and today anyone can compare the play of light and shadow on the walls of the cathedral and the paintings of the artist.
The big clock is another attraction of Rouen. The Gothic tower, the Renaissance gate and the classicist fountain are a familiar Rouen mixture of eras and arts. The watch mechanism is considered one of the oldest in Europe.
According to cachedhealth.com, the Church of Joan of Arc was erected on the site of the execution of the national heroine of France on the Old Market Square. Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920, and in 1979 a church was erected in her honor. Inside, it is worth looking at the magnificent stained-glass windows of the 16th century, which belonged to the cathedral that once stood on this site.
Another gem of the historic center is Saint-Maclou church, a magnificent example of the “flaming Gothic” style. To the left of the church there is a fountain of the “pissing boy” type, unexpected for such a place, and the boy is far from alone there.
A recognized masterpiece of French Gothic is Saint-Ouen Church, the only surviving part of the medieval abbey of the same name. It practically does not yield to the Rouen Cathedral either in size or in monumentality.
Fans of fine arts should visit the Art Museum, which contains an interesting collection of paintings and sculptures from different eras. The pride of the exposition is ancient Russian icons and magnificent works by Monet. The best examples of the famous Rouen faience and porcelain are on display at the Museum of Ceramics. Rococo ceremonial services and charming figurines are traditional French luxury.
Connoisseurs of the work of Gustave Flaubert and Pierre Corneille are unlikely to bypass the museums of the same name dedicated to the writer and playwright. The Sec de Tournel Museum of Ironwork is not only known for its extensive collection of wrought antiques. It is housed in a stately 15th-century Gothic former church and still has colorful stained-glass windows and other interior decorations.
After seeing the sights and walking around the exhibitions, you can go to the vicinity of Rouen. There is also something to admire: the picturesque castles and abbeys on the banks of the Seine are worthy of a separate excursion.
7 things to do in Rouen
- Wander through the central streets: you will not find more charming half-timbered houses anywhere else.
- Admire the Rouen Cathedral and compare what you see with the canvases of Monet.
- View the bizarre old mechanism of the Big Clock.
- Visit the places of imprisonment and execution of the legendary Joan of Arc.
- Taste the famous Rouenese duck cooked according to all the rules.
- Replenish your collection of home ceramics with an original white and blue specimen from Rue Saint-Romain.
- See a spectacular laser show: the walls of the Rouen Cathedral are lit up with hundreds of bright colors every evening from mid-June to mid-September.
Rouen for children
To make viewing the architectural beauties of Rouen a pleasure even for a child, you can give up hiking for a while and ride a tourist train. It leaves every hour from the square in front of the Rouen Cathedral and winds through the narrow streets of the old quarters for 45 minutes. The cost of the trip is 7 EUR, tickets are purchased directly from the driver.
But for real children’s entertainment, you will have to drive a little away from the city. 25 km from Rouen, the Bokass Park was built with many modern attractions for visitors of all ages. There are carousels for the little ones, water activities, and breathtaking roller coasters.
Despite the fact that Rouen is a small city, in total there are more than 3,000 rooms in local hotels. Most of the hotels are located in the historical center, close to the main attractions. Cheap hotels and hostels are open near the railway station. The closer to the center, the more expensive the hotel rooms, although in general the cost differs slightly. But experienced travelers do not advise settling on the left bank: there are fewer offers here, and there is practically nothing to look at.
Rates for accommodation in two- and three-star hotels – from 50 EUR per day. 4 * hotels offer more comfortable rooms, prices here start from 75 EUR per day. A night in the most luxurious boutique hotel with a swimming pool, fitness center and spa will cost from 165 EUR. But in order to feel the real atmosphere of a medieval city, we recommend staying in an old half-timbered house. Moreover, it costs not so much: from 60 EUR per day.