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Having spent a significant amount of time in Paris over the past decade, some day trips were a must for my last visit. Located in Normandy, Rouen was a short train ride away and made for an easy escape from the city.
As a self-proclaimed nerd, I wanted to visit Rouen for its historical significance in the life of Joan of Arc. Specifically, Rouen is that it is famed as the city that imprisoned Joan of Arc, as well as the city that burned her at the stake.
In addition to the draw of history were the architectural gems Rouen has to offer, located all over the city! Situated in the middle of Old Town sits this humongeous, magnificent (and just a little bit intimidating) cathedral – Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen. The cathedral has evolved considerably over the course of its history with additions, destructions, renovations, etc.
The choir of the cathedral contains the tombs of the Dukes of Normandy and the heart of Richard the Lionheart. The cathedral is free to enter and you can find the hours here.
Gothic architecture at its finest, the cathedral towered over me as I stood in her shadow. Actually, for a brief moment in history, the Rouen Cathédrale was the tallest building in the world (151 m) from 1876 to 1880!
This is the city where Joan of Arc spent the last five months of her life on trial for heresy. The castle of Philip Augustus imprisoned her. Burned at the stake in the Old Market Square, Joan of Arc died on May 30, 1431. You can read more about her life (and death) here.
In the city centre you’ll find le Gros Horloge (above), an iconic image of Rouen. The clock was built toward the end of the 14th century and sounds the bells on the hour, half-hour, and quarter-hour. You can read more about the history of the clock here.
rouen, france: a photo diary
full disclosure –
I visited Rouen, France before I’d given any thought to starting a travel blog or needing a photo. Some of these churches and buildings… I have no idea what they are! I’ve searched the internet high and low for information, but I can’t seem to find or verify some of the buildings pictured. Still, I thought the town (though somewhat unremarkable) had its charming moments.
Looking for other day trips to take from Paris? Tour the famed Champagne houses and the Musée de la Reddition in Reims, where Germany surrendered to the Allies in WWII! Amboise is a charming town on the banks of the Loire River that boasts some impressive castles!