Looking for a destination for your next quick getaway? Less than two hours from Paris and an easy flight from London, the city of Rouen is ideal for a city break full of history, art, culture, and sightseeing.
Once and future capital
The capital of Normandy was once one of medieval France's richest cities along with Paris and Orleans. Today, Rouen is one of France's many Villes et Pays d'Art et d'Histoire, a label that seeks to promote French culture and heritage. Victor Hugo nicknamed it the city with a hundred bell towers, and even after sustaining damage during World War II, Rouen has managed to preserve its cultural, historical and architectural heritage.
A legendary labyrinth
When you first arrive, the first thing on your itinerary is just walking Rouen's medieval streets. Retrace the steps of French figures of history like Joan of Arc. Start your visit at the Place du Vieux Marche where she was accused of witchcraft on May 30, 1431 and burned at the stake. Then, lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets between the half-timbered houses dating back to the 16th century.
Cultural heritage at every turn
Discover the city's historic monuments like the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Parliament of Normandy, the Church of Saint-Maclou, the Tour des Archives, and the famous Joan of Arc Tower, the last remaining piece of Rouen Castle. The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen is also worth a visit, bringing together the works of impressionist artists inspired by the city such as Monet and Pissarro, and paintings from masters such as Caravaggio and Delacroix.
Walking through history
The heart of the city is entirely pedestrian. On Rue Saint Romain in the antiques district, you'll discover another era. By browsing the many small pedestrian streets, you will have the pleasure of finding shops from major labels and brands, but also those of local craftsmen and creators.
Don't forget to plan downtime
Did you know that Rouen is the city with the most bars per capita in France? It would be a shame not to take advantage, so take the time to enjoy the city with a drink on the terrace of one of its many drinking establishments.
Finally, if you want to enjoy the most beautiful panorama in the city, don't hesitate to climb to the top of Sainte Catherine Hill east of Rouen either on foot or by car. Immortalized by Claude Monet in his painting "la Vue Générale de Rouen", the view is splendid, especially at sunrise and sunset.