Normandy is a country of peaceful rural landscapes, green meadows, beautiful Gothic castles and ancient legends. This is the land of the famous William the Conqueror, who practically laid the foundation for the history of neighboring England as a state. In Norman Rouen, the legendary Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc, was tried and executed. Nowadays, an elegant temple rises near the place of its burning.
The streets of Rouen are a real museum of Gothic architecture. Several hundred houses were built here in the magnificent "flaming gothic" style. The exquisite facades and spiers of the Palace of Justice, decorated with fine stone lace, and the incredible stained-glass windows of the Rouen Cathedral delight even people who are indifferent to architectural beauties.
What to see and where to go in Rouen?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
- Vieux Marche Square
- Rouen Cathedral
- Abbey Saint-Ouen
- Church of Saint Maclou
- Abbey of Saint-Georges-de-Bocherville
- Church of Saint Joan of Arc
- Joan of Arc Tower
- Palace of Justice
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Blacksmith Museum
- Panorama XXL
- Museum of Ceramics
- Street of the Big Clock
- Botanical garden of Rouen
- Gustave Flaubert Bridge
Vieux Marche Square
The legendary Joan of Arc, the heroine of the Hundred Years War, canonized by the Catholic Church in the 20th century, was burned on Vieux Marche Square. Many buildings surrounding this place are somehow connected with her name. On the square there is a museum dedicated to the memory of Jeanne, as well as a monument surrounded by flower beds and marking the place of her execution. Along the perimeter of the square are elegant half-timbered houses that adorn the urban landscape.
The cathedral is one of the most striking monuments of Gothic architecture in France. It was erected in the 13th century on the foundations of a Romanesque church from the 11th century. The archbishop's palace adjoins the temple, which forms a single architectural complex with it. The bell tower of the cathedral reaches a height of 151 meters. The architecture of the temple made a strong impression on the artist C. Monet, who created a series of paintings dedicated to the cathedral.
The abbey was founded in the 6th century and gradually became the most influential monastery in Normandy. The monastery existed until the 9th century, until it was destroyed by the pagan Normans. Restoration took place in the XI century under William I the Conqueror. The first temple of the monastery was erected in the Romanesque style, later in the XIV-XVI centuries. the building was rebuilt in accordance with the canons of the Gothic style.
Church of Saint Maclou
The temple was built in the picturesque style of flaming gothic. Its spiers really resemble tongues of stone flame reaching for the heavens. The church was built in the period 1437-1521. on voluntary donations of patrons. The temple is decorated with bright skillful stained-glass windows of the 15th century and elegant decorative elements. During the Second World War, the temple was partially destroyed, restoration was completed in 2010.
Abbey of Saint-Georges-de-Bocherville
Benedictine monastery of the XI-XII centuries, which was badly damaged during the religious wars between Protestants and Catholics. Some buildings had to be rebuilt, so there are buildings from both the 12th century and the 17th century on the territory of the abbey, and there is some mixture of architectural styles. Around the monastery there is a picturesque French park with hedges, an orchard and a garden of medicinal plants.
Church of Saint Joan of Arc
The temple is located on Vieux Marche. In the 16th century, a Gothic cathedral stood in its place, of which only stained-glass windows remain. St. Joan's Church was built in a modern style, using asymmetric architectural forms and interesting engineering solutions. The roof of the structure symbolizes the flames in which Jeanne died. The complex of church buildings also includes an indoor market.
Joan of Arc Tower
The tower is the only surviving building of the Rouen Castle, which was erected for Philip II Augustus. Local limestone was used to build the fortifications. The building was destroyed during the religious wars. The donjon tower is known for the fact that here in 1431 the trial of the Maid of Orleans took place. However, Joan was kept imprisoned in another tower, now destroyed.
Palace of Justice
The palace is considered one of the most picturesque buildings in Rouen. It was erected in the 16th century according to the design of R. Le Roux and R. Ango and was used for meetings of the city council. The building is a vivid example of secular Gothic. Nowadays, the local court sits in the palace, there are also two museums and a library. The palace facade resembles a fancy stone lace, its decorative details are so skillfully executed.
Museum of Fine Arts
The gallery is one of the largest in Normandy, its permanent exhibition is located in 60 rooms. The collections of the 17th and 19th centuries are considered especially significant and complete. The collection contains works by Modigliani, Renoir, Lancret, Moreau, Monet and other masters. In addition to paintings, the museum's collection includes sculptures, graphics, jewelry and furniture. The museum constantly hosts temporary exhibitions of famous and recognized artists.
The museum has existed since the 19th century, it is located in the building of the church of the 16th century. Initially, the exposition was located in Paris, later it was moved to Rouen. The museum's collection contains artistic forgings from the Roman period to the 20th century. Many exhibits were brought from Arab and Asian countries, as well as from Russia. In the museum you can see forged gratings, utensils, decorative railings, signs and much more.
An interactive exhibition that immerses visitors in the atmosphere of different eras. "Panorama" is a huge metal cylinder 34 meters in diameter and 35 meters in height. Inside this cylinder is a circular three-dimensional fresco, which reproduces the chain of events of a certain historical period. In 2015, it was the year 312 - the time of the adoption of Christianity by Emperor Constantine, in 2016 - the panorama of Rouen from the time of Joan of Arc.
Museum of Ceramics
The collection is housed in a historic 16th-century mansion. Here are collected exhibits relating to the period of the XVI-XIX centuries. For the first time in France, the secret of making faience was revealed by a resident of Rouen. Until that moment, only Italian masters owned the secret. By the 17th century, Rouen became famous throughout the world for its ceramics. During a guided tour, you can learn about the technology of making ceramics.
Street of the Big Clock
Pedestrian street located between the Market Square and Rouen Cathedral. Along the street are city houses with half-timbered facades. Its name comes from the old astronomical clock, which is located on a stone arch of the 16th century. A few centuries ago, they even hired a special caretaker who monitored the serviceability of the mechanism and lived not far from the arch.
Botanical garden of Rouen
The garden was founded in the 17th century. At first it was a private territory, once even Napoleon Bonaparte owned it. In the 19th century, the garden became the property of the city and became available to everyone. Some parts of the park are closed to the public, as research activities are carried out within them. In the city botanical garden there is a large rose garden, where varieties grown by Normandy specialists grow.
Gustave Flaubert Bridge
The bridge of 2008, equipped with lifting structures and having a large capacity. The spans are specially placed high above the water so that large ships can easily pass under them. The supporting columns of the bridge rise 91 meters above the Seine, the length of the spans is more than 1 km. The structure was designed by engineers E. Zublen and M. Virlojo. The cost of construction work amounted to 155 million euros.