Date: 27th September 2023
Travelled: 0 kms from Rouen
Stayed: Rouen Marina Aire, €14.50, N49.44810, E1.05830
Budget: 128 days @ €96 per day
After yesterday’s long drive we were just glad to have a spot in the marina aire, we plug into power, take the scooter off the back so where set to run into the city in the morning. Other than that, we relax the afternoon away and chat to a couple of our neighbours.
P4N comments all state it’s a 45 minute walk to the old town but the scooter should do that in 5 minutes.
First however Pam leads us in a forced march along the River Seine.
The scooter has us safely on the edge of the old town, we lock it and go exploring.
Rouen is the capital of upper Normandy. Originally a Roman settlement being a convenient point to bridge the River Seine. Rollo (brother of Ragnar), first Duke of Normandy laid out the city in 911.
Pictured above and below, Place du Vieux-Marché. This open space is surrounded by lovely old houses most of which are now cafes and bars.
Rouen like several other French town and cities lays claim to Jeanne d’Arc or Joan of Arc. As a 17 year old pheasant girl, she spoke of her visions of the Dauphin becoming King and ridding France of the English. She would go on to lead the French Army breaking the siege of Orléans . She was later captured, The new King refused to pay a ransom, she was given to the English and tried as a heretic (twice). The icing on the cake, the clerics who made up the court were predominantly French.
It was here in Place du Vieux-Marché, following her second conviction for heresy that Jeanne was burnt at the stake, the year was 1431. Her ashes thrown in the Seine. Jeanne became Saint-Jeanne in 1920 and became the Patron Saint of France.
Yes, The Messenger: the Story of Joan of Arc is in my top 10 movie list.
We continue to walk streets of half timber houses towards Rouen’s Cathédral de Notre-Dame. The painting of this church was one of Monet’s favourite subjects. The spires and towers are a bit of an odd mixture, but the front portal is finely decorated.
There is of course a chapel dedicated to Saint-Jeanne.
The crypt has the heart of Richard the Lion Heart but it was closed from 12-2pm.
Pictured above: The Palais of Justice was magnificently restored after being severely damaged during WWII. However one section of front facade was left as a reminder.
Pictured below: According to our guide book Rouen has more than two thousand half timber houses, more than 100 date back to 12-13th century. An information panel describes them as Jettied houses, but I’m not sure if that’s just here or a French term. They are amazing.
Our last interesting find is on Rue du Gros Horloge. This beautiful one handed clock stands above an intricately carved arch. Like most things in France it’s closed from 12-2pm so we don’t get to see its workings.
So that’s it our visit to Rouen is done, we scooter back to the marina and relax. More driving tomorrow as it’s our last day in France and Europe.
Michael + Pam