Just over an hour from Paris, Rouen is a pleasant city with a humane size that’s easy to visit.
After taking advantage of Easter to escape to Bordeaux, here comes May, with its many public holidays and extended weekends. For the first, I played the proximity card and went to Rouen, just outside Paris.
I chose Rouen because it’s a city I’ve visited and enjoyed in the past, but a distant past. My last stay there must have been in 1999!
The town’s proximity to Paris (130km) makes it an ideal destination for a long weekend.
In my opinion, the easiest way to get to Rouen is by train: there are many, and it takes about 1h30.
There’s also the car, but with Paris’s notorious traffic jams, it can take you a good hour longer to get there, especially on the way back from the weekend.
Please note: due to its proximity to Paris, Rouen is not served by mainline or TGV (High speed) trains, but by regional trains. That’s why it takes longer to get there than to Strasbourg or Lille, and not with the same level of comfort.
The only problem with the option I chose is that it makes it difficult to enjoy the surroundings and nice places in the area.
On site, you can do everything on foot, as Rouen is a “small” city and all the sights are close together.
With a view to my re-qualification with Marriott, I went to the only hotel they have in Rouen: the Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, in the Autograph Collection chain.
A beautiful place, in a listed building right in the center of town.
In this respect, it was more complicated than in my usual experience, even in cities of a similar size.
I’ll pass on the fact that, as some of the local restaurateurs also told me, there’s a lack of really high-end restaurants, at least in town. There are a few good gourmet restaurants, but no Michelin-starred ones, and only a few in the region. Surprising.
Then very few offer online booking. But when I say very few, I really mean very few. I had to disqualify at least ten restaurants when I was planning my trip!
But why be so adamant about it?
When I’m planning a trip I need to visualize the availability of all the restaurants I’m thinking of going to. Why ? Sometimes one is available on one date and not on another, and I can’t see myself booking and then calling back to cancel and change the date because a second is only available that evening. It’s simply a question of optimizing my planning.
Finally, some were closed for annual vacations. Surprising in the middle of May, when there are many public holidays and therefore a certain influx of tourists.
But don’t worry, I managed to find what I was looking for, even if it took longer and was more complicated than in other cities.
So I’ll be dining
– At Le Jehanne, the Radisson Blu’s restaurant, offers a creative and elaborate menu.
– Aux Nymphéas, a more bourgeois, gourmet restaurant;
– At Pascaline, a much simpler restaurant serving local cuisine.
As I said, most of the sites are within walking distance of each other and it’s a very pleasant city to walk around.
So I put together a two-day program, with highlights including the cathedral and the beautiful Museum of Fine Arts.
On the other hand, travelling by train limits the possibilities of going further. Deauville, Etretat and Honfleur are 1h30 away by train, so incompatible with the length of my weekend. Maybe another time.
This gives the following program, which I will cover in future articles.
The articles about this weekend in Rouen
|1||Diary||Planning a weekend in Rouen|
|2||Train||Paris-Rouen – SNCF TER Nomad – 1st class|
|3||Hotel||Hotel de Bourgtheroulde – Rouen|
|4||Restaurant||Le Jehanne – Rouen|
|5||Restaurant||Les Nymphéas – Rouen|
|6||Restaurant||Pascaline – Rouen|
|8||Train||Rouen-Paris – SNCF TER Nomad – 1ere classe (no review, not interesting)|
|9||Diary||Debriefing my weekend in Rouen|