Travel Guide: Destination Rouen
" The city of a hundred steeples "
If you’re planning a trip to Normandy, you shouldn’t miss the chance to discover the wonderful city of Rouen, commonly known as “The Capital of Normandy” or “The city of a hundred steeples”. With its exceptional historical heritage, the city is full of unmissable attractions, appreciated both by the locals and by international tourists.This travel guide will show you a city that is both historical and full of life, close to Dieppe and Paris.
Come and see an unforgettable event during your trip
The Armada - 6 June to 16 June 2019
The Armada is undoubtedly one of the most eagerly awaited major events for Rouen. This year it coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings. It’s a time for conviviality, meetings and exchanges, with the opportunity to see the biggest sailing ships still plying the seas – and the chance to experience the finest and largest maritime gathering in the world.
Photo : Association Armada Liberté
This year it’s the 7th edition and 30th anniversary of the Armada Liberté Association, and you’ll be able to admire more than 50 sailing ships moored along the banks of the Seine. Highlights of the event include firework displays, concerts, exhibitions, shows and parades, with opportunities to visit the ships and meet the crews. The Armada attracts around 700,000 visitors to the quayside every day. For more information, visit the official website of the Association Armada Liberté.
Rouen and its iconic monuments
1) Notre Dame Cathedral - the tallest cathedral in France
Photo : Mike Warner
Notre Dame de Rouen Cathedral is one of the emblematic monuments of the city. Located in the historic centre of the city, it is known as “Our Lady of the Seven Bombs”, commemorating its miraculous resistance to the intensive bombardments of the Second World War. Made famous throughout the world by Claude Monet, you have the opportunity to discover it in a different way during the “Cathédrale en Lumière” summer event, a magical moment when the majestic building is illuminated every evening until nightfall, transforming it into a spectacular screen of coloured light. To be seen from 1 June to 15 September, 2019 (Free).
Photos : @Arezki Aïtel
2) Le Gros-Horloge
Photo: Mrs Brown
The city's second emblem, the Gros-Horloge (“the Big Clock”), has the oldest clock mechanism in Europe. The presence of this astonishing Renaissance clock bears witness to the city’s importance at that time; Rouen was already a major centre for commercial exchanges with Paris and other capital cities such as London. It is located right in the middle of France's first pedestrian street, which bears the same name – la rue du Gros-Horloge.
3) The Old Market Square - Joan of Arc's stake - The Church of Saint Joan of Arc
Crédit photo : Vieux Marche rouen © A. Solter CRT Normandie
The Place du Vieux Marché (Old Market Square) is steeped in history, and full of old half-timbered houses. It is where Joan of Arc was burned alive during the Hundred Years' War. There is a monument marking the exact spot where she was burnt at the stake, as well as the Church of Saint Joan of Arc with its magnificent stained-glass windows.
4) Panoramic views of the city of Rouen
Photo: Panoramic view of Rouen from the Côte Sainte-Catherine by Célestes Images - Sephora Massere
The city of a hundred steeples enjoys extraordinary panoramas such as the view from the Côte Sainte-Catherine, from where Claude Monet painted Vue générale de Rouen. But there are also other unmissable viewpoints from where you can discover Rouen in a different way; notably, views from the Monumental Cemetery and from Canteleu.
5) The antique dealers' district
Photo : @call.me.la.nanas
The antique dealers' district and/or the Damiette district is a must for antique hunters.
Here, whether you are a fan of art galleries or of objects steeped in history, you will find happiness in the city which is recognised as third largest in France in this category. The picturesque medieval streets are ideal for strolling and discovering the typical half-timbered houses of Normandy. You will notably observe the distinctive and beautiful Saint-Maclou Church, with its 5 porches. This jewel of Gothic art is classified as a historical monument and is one of Rouen's most important attractions.
Crédit Photo : Philippe Roudaut
6) The quaysides of the Seine – “La place to be”
Photo : Rouen quais de Seine -© B. Collier - CRT Normandie
On foot, by bike or by rollerblade, the quayside walkways are a safe and free place for families to stroll around. Against the backdrop of the Gustave Flaubert Bridge, here you can enjoy 10 kilometres of quays on both sides of the river, ideal for a pleasant walk or ride in the heart of the city.
Photo : Pont Gustave Flaubert @Virginie-elle Photographie
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