Rouen (pop 520,000), the capital of Haut-Normandie (Upper Normanby), is a city of considerable charm with its signature half-timbered houses (timber frames infilled with various materials) , spired churches and it's Gothic masterpiece Cathédrale Notre Dame. 

But the version belies its turbulent past with the city leveled during the Middle Ages by fire, and more recently by firepower of Allied bombing raids during WWII.  A massive reconstruction after the war has restored Rouen to a destination that is worth the effort t to visit. 

Joan of Arc was burned here in 1431 after her key role in bringing Charles VII to power during the Hundred Year War (1337 to 1453) and her subsequent trial by English ecclesiastical court.

The contemporary city is a delight to visit in its own right as well as being a convenient gateway to the Normandy beaches.


NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME  Cathedral of RouenThe impressive Cathédrale Notre Dame (8am-6pm Tue-Sun, 2-6pm Mon) was constructed in the 12th and 13th Centuries but has been brought to public attention as the subject of Claude Monet’s most notable of his Series Paintings consisting of over 30 canvasses.  His multiple paintings of the same subject studied the ever-changing effect of light at different times of the day and the year to reveal the paradox of permanence and transience. .

Musée des Beaux-Arts 
(Place Verdel  +33 2 35712840 , €3)  This magnificent museum is a must-see for art aficionados … in fact, everyone … and houses one of  the largest collection of impressionist canvasses outside Paris. You can see pieces from Rubens, Caravaggio, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Poussin, Corot and Géricault (an entire room) as well as one of the famous Monet renditions of the Rouen Notre Dame façade.

Musée Le Secq des Tournelles (Rue Jacques-Villon,  +33 2 35884292, €3) has a huge inventory of over 14,000 historic Norman wrought iron pieces dating from the
NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME rouen église ste jeanne13th Century.The quaint Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock (dating back to the 16th century) located in the Gros Horloge street.

Musée Jeanne-d'Arc (33 place du Vieux-Marché,  +33 2 35880270 , €4) celebrates the life and death of the French heroine, martyr and Catholic saint.  The location of her execution is in a nearby square where a small, modern, flame-shaped church L'Eglise Jeanne d'Arc (Place du Vieux Marche)