With its soaring Gothic cathedral, beautifully restored medieval buildings, Rouen is one of Normandy’s most stunning destinations.
I spent a day here and I have to say it’s a beautiful place. It’s like stepping back in time with the cobbled streets and all the buildings restored to their medieval glory.
Firstly when I arrived I was feeling peckish so I made a beeline for one of the markets, which was full of fresh fish, so fresh the lobsters, crabs and whelks were all still moving around. Lots of cheeses and fresh fruit and veg. If you were staying airbnb self catering it would be cheap to buy your own ingredients here. I didn’t have time for that so I carried onward on the look out for a baguette I could eat & walk at the same time. Just behind the market is the Church of St Joan Arc, It’s a rather strange boat like looking place in the middle of the square.
I decided to stop for a beer at Cafe Rouen, It was gorgeous sat in the sun, that was until the waiter dude appeared with a massive wooden mallet and started hammering the s**t out of the trees. I still have no idea why, maybe the intention was to scare birds, though I hadn’t noticed any. What I do know is, shortly after all these tiny bugs were appearing on the table and on me. I know it was probably just the time of year and not a regular occurrence, but still I drank up and got out of there and made my way to the other side of the city.
Not that far, just a couple of blocks is the Gros-Horloge, a fourteenth-century astronomical clock.
Just passed the clock you round the corner and come face to face with the huge soaring gothic cathedral. The details on the walls are quite magnificent and it’s free to enter so I thought I may as well check out the virtual tour.
I would of liked to spend more time here if i could it’s a very interesting city and It’s a university town, so I imagine it will have quite a vibrant night life.
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When Vikings settled and became Normans in the 10th century, Rouen became Normandy’s capital.
It was devastated by fire and plague several times during the Middle Ages, and was occupied by the English during the Hundred Years War.
People from Rouen are known as Rouennais.
Rouen was also home to the French Grand Prix, hosting the race at the nearby Rouen-Les-Essarts track sporadically between 1952 and 1968. In 1999 Rouen authorities demolished the grandstands and other remnants of Rouen’s racing past. Today, little remains beyond the public roads that formed the circuit.
In 1970 Rouen was the first city in France to have pedestrianised streets.
- Airbnb, Right in the centre of town from £14 (€16) a night for an entire flat with 1 bed. An entire flat with 5 beds from £118 (€134) a night. Airbnb would be my recommended option.
- Hostel. EcoLodge prices start from £22 (€25).
- Camping, Nowhere in the city, you’ll have to stay on the outskirts and travel in.
- B&B & Guest Houses, There are loads to choose from, probably best to look at the reviews on tripadvisor. Prices start from £43 (€49) a night.
- Hotel, Again there are many from the budget Hôtel ibis, Hôtel Morand and then the luxury 5 star hotel like Hotel de Bourgtheroulde. Prices start from £47 (€53) – £209 (€237) a night.
Here are some noticeable things I came across. It was shame i didn’t have time to go in & see the Panorama XXL.
- Gros-Horloge (fourteenth-century astronomical clock )
- Rouen Cathedral
- Church of St Joan of Arc
- Tour Jeanne d’Arc (Rouen Castle remains)
- Panorama XXL
- Museums, (There are loads, but most are free)
- Petit Train (land train) a 45 min tour. every hour, €7 adult, €4 child.
- The timber-framed houses
- The antiques district
Many restaurants and on street stalls to choose from. I stopped at a few and all were very nice with good service. If you like your beer then i recommend Affligem Elixir.
- Cafe de Rouen
- JM’s Cafe
- Les Antilles
- Walk, The city center is compact and all sights can easily be seen by foot
- Bike, Rent a bike for €1-2 a day. The city has a scheme where you can rent from one location and drop it off at another.
- Car, Being mostly pedestrianised the nearest car park is on the outskirts at Place du Boulingrin or EFFIA gare de Rouen.
- Bus, There are city buses as well as a tram line
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Have you been to Rouen? What was your favourite thing to see or do? Share your thoughts
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