Just over an hour from Paris, Rouen is a pretty, pleasant town whose architectural heritage is well worth a visit. What’s more, it can be visited quickly and easily.
Stendhal called it “the Athens of the Gothic genre“, but it’s also famous for its half-timbered houses, and its fine arts museum is one of the most interesting in the french province. So, Rouen has everything to please, all the more so as it’s a medium-sized city that can easily be visited in one or two days.
- Rouen Castle and Jeanne d’Arc Tower
- Rouen Museum of Fine Art
- St Ouen abbey church
- St Maclou church
- Aitre St Maclou
- The big clock (Gros Horloge)
- Notre Dame de Rouen Cathedral
- Rouen Law Courts
- The old Rouen
- Rouen Museum of Natural History and Antiquities
- Museum of Ceramics
- And also…
- Bottom line
- The articles about this weekend in Rouen
Rouen Castle and Jeanne d’Arc Tower
The castle, built in the 13th century, played a role in the Hundred Years’ War and the Wars of Religion. Dismantled in the 16th century, all that remains is the keep, also known as the Jeanne d’Arc tower. The latter was in fact imprisoned in an adjacent tower, later called Tour de la Pucelle, which was destroyed in the early 20th century due to its poor condition.
You can visit the keep, the only remaining part of the castle. But don’t expect too much…
The only thing it houses is a set for an escape game about Rouen during the 2nd World War.
Rouen Museum of Fine Art
From what I’ve seen, it’s one of the richest in France outside Paris. On the other hand, I don’t find it easy to get around if you want to keep a certain logic and visit the rooms in the right order.
On the other hand, as someone who tends to be drawn to the Impressionists, I found plenty to please me, but could it be otherwise in the region to which Claude Monet’s name is eternally attached?
At the time of my visit, the museum also housed a temporary exhibition on the Normans and another on contemporary Norwegian photographers.
St Ouen abbey church
This is a former Benedictine monastery, of which only the 14th-century Gothic church remains. Its great size often makes it mistaken for a cathedral.
A lengthy renovation began in 2021 and will not be completed until 2024, so the architecture is only partially visible.
St Maclou church
Another Gothic church, dating from the 16th century. Unfortunately, it was closed during my first visit and occupied by a service during my second.
Aitre St Maclou
It’s an ancient aitre, a charnel house, dating from the 16th century, one of the last ossuaries of this type still visible in Europe.
The big clock (Gros Horloge)
This iconic building in the city of Rouen is a belfry with an astronomical clock, built on an arch spanning a street in the old town.
Notre Dame de Rouen Cathedral
First built in Romanesque style, then completed in Gothic between the 11th and 16th centuries, it is the town’s best-known monument.
Rouen Law Courts
Another of the town’s emblematic buildings, the Palais de Justice was originally intended to serve as a parliament for local notables in the late 16th century, before assuming its current function after the French Revolution.
The old Rouen
Along the way, you can admire the buildings of the old town, famous for their half-timbered facades. Superb.
Rouen Museum of Natural History and Antiquities
As far as I’m concerned, it interested me because it housed part of an exhibition on the Normans organized jointly with the Museum of Fine Arts and for the antiquities section.
Museum of Ceramics
For those who don’t know, Rouen was a stronghold of the earthenware industry from the 16th to the 18th century. With over five thousand pieces, the museum offers a complete panorama of Rouen’s earthenware throughout its history.
Provided you stay longer than two days and ideally have a car, there’s plenty to do around Rouen.
To start with, a visit to the many abbeys of Normandy, starting with the Abbey of Jumièges, but also those of Graville, Valasse, Fontelle and Boscherville.
You can also take a trip to the lovely seaside towns of Honfleur, Deauville or Deauville.
You can even try to get as far as Etretat and its famous cliffs.
In a nutshell, Rouen is a typical and very pleasant city that is easy to visit, with a rich heritage that would be a shame to miss.
And all this just 1h30 from Paris!
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|