Another stop during our tour “Capturing Magic” is going to be in Rouen. It is located in the Seine Maritime department in Normandy. It is the capital of the “Haute Normandy” Region and has so much history, it would take me more than one post to tell you all about.
In the 10th Century Rouen became the capital of the Duchy of Normandy and the residence of the Dukes up until William the Conqueror established his castle in Caen.
In 1204 Normandy became part of the French Kingdom.
I grew up in Rouen until I was 9 years old. My childhood best friend still lives there and when I am in France, I always try to stop there. It has a special place to my heart. Fun memories, but also SO many beautiful monument and so many cute little street to walk in.
The beautiful Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame, which started being constructed in the XII century. It took over 100 years to finish but still had some reconstruction and upgrades throughout the centuries. While visiting the cathedral we can admire the beautifully Stained windows dating from the XIII Century to now, we can visit the sepulture of Ancient Normandy Duc such as Rollo (one of the first ruler of the Viking principality which later became known as Normandy), John Plantagenet (who oversaw Joan of Arc’s trial), William I (know as Willam Longsword) and many more. Richard the Lionheart heart is also in the cathedral as Rouen was his favorite city (His remain are actually in 3 different places).
It is mostly known to all french kids for the horrifying death of Joan of Arc who was burn alive by the English on May 30th 1431. She was fighting against the English invader during the “hundred Years War” and was capture in Compiègne by the Duke of Burgundy. She was kept in a jail until she was sold to the English Duke of Bedford who then trial her and sentenced her to be burned at the stake. (that’s the short story BTW, cause there is SO much more about Joan of Arc!)
Rouen is also a beautiful city to cruise in, admiring the Timber Framed houses while walking on cobblestone! Pass under the “Gros Horloge”( Astronomical Clock, also built in the middle ages with a mechanism from the 1300s mounted above a renaissance arch and passageway.
The Rue du Gros Horloge is a one of Rouen’s main shopping streets… so needless to say that if you are in Normandy and you want to shop. Rouen is a MUST stop!On the Old Market square you can admire half timber houses that dates from the Middle ages. One of the oldest Inn in France is now a restaurant : La Couronne and is located across the Church of St Joan of Arc. The church a “modern” style church is well known for it’s stained glass window and has been built next to the ruins of the 16th century church of St Vincent, which was almost completely destroyed in 1944 during the Bombardment of the city. The Church of St Joan of Arc is also next to a small garden that marks the exact spot of where Joan was burned at the stake.
You can also go to the farmer’s market which happen every Tue, Wed, Thur and Sunday between 7am to 1pm, Fri from 7am to 6pm and every saturday is host a “brocante”(Flea Market) from 7am to 6pm
This is only a small taste of all the thing that you can do in Rouen. It has Museum, Opera… Every summer there is a huge festival of the Normandy Impressionist where they project images on the Cathedral facade of Impressionist painting.
You can see a lot of those here