Rouen the medieval capital of Normandy


At home for a Christmas vacation of four days I found time for a quick overview of the Capital of Normandy. I was very surprised  by the patrimonial of this old leading city of the Kingdom of France and have a little learn more about the legendary girl who have been judge there in the XV century…

More photos on my Flickr!

Family trip

For change I have not been travelling alone, neither with a friend. My cousin who actually also likes to travel has decided to join me during our family dinner the day before. Shared cost. Since I don’t own a car anymore we had use his, that is damn comfortable!

First contact and good weather

The northern part of France have been under a big large depression and lived a long storm (all  my staying) it has complicated my plane to land to Beauvais the first day I came… Surprisingly the day; the only I dedicate to visiting, was free from any clouds or wind. Good point for photos!

None of us have ever been to Rouen, we had talk about it as well as about Caen, but to make the move was too complicated. Yet we only had unclear idea of the city planing from what we remember of the maps we checked. It took a little less than 20 minutes to find a parking at the feet of the Cathedral. We could not imagine better location for walking tourism.

Religious side of Rouen

As far as I can remember we have seen the three main churches of the town. The important Cathedral that used to be the tallest building in the world and remains the third highest church of Europe. With the churches of Saint Ouen and Saint Maclou, it represent one of the earliest attempts of Gothic architecture. The oldest I have seen was in Senlis (Picardy), a lovely city nearby my home. Also Normand architecture is typical for the use of a lantern tower that brings light inside.

It is possible to see the old town from its centre by walking up to the Gros Horloge, a house that host a very old clock over a gate. From this terrace the Cathedral shows all its magnificence with its spire almost touching the clouds. The Saint Ouen church cannot be jealous since it is pretty large too. We saw in the city another church turn into a gallery and one in ruins of which the main tower is the last remaining piece, it used to be the church of Saint André.

Medieval looking

An important aspect of the city’s beauty is given by its old and well preserve centre that contains many elements telling about its past. The house are mostly using timber framing and the streets are still as they were to prevent invader to take the city to easily: tiny street not straight lined so soldiers can hide and fight from corners and hidden pockets.

Detail of the local architecture

Detail of the local architecture

On the central square is the oldest French hostel still running, it was facing a small Christmas market and the newly and beautiful church of Jeanne d’Arc. Local hero, Jeanne has seen her life ending in the Normand capital in 1431. Still today some monuments help to not forget her such the Grosse Tour or castle’s donjon.

 Tower of Jeanne d'Arc

Tower of Jeanne d’Arc

 Sunset and castle

The sun going down marked for us the end of the day. Next day I will have fly to Lithuania and did not start packing. We knew we had to drive hours to go home but we were not expecting to get lost due to construction involving closed streets. Our GPS was not prepared. Once the main road found all went easy and after few kilometres we noticed a castle on the side of the road. Parked the car, walked in cemetery and we try to get photos of it.

Church in Martainville

Church in Martainville

This trip have been for me very productive, I have seen an amazing town of France that need to be know more and I got some superb photos. I know that the next time I go to France I will look to similar places from the East and West.

Guillaume Speurt

Guillaume Speurt

French settled in Estonia, I have spent my last years in the Baltic States. I love photography and travelling in Eastern and Central Europe, I write this blog to relate my experiences.
Guillaume Speurt

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