NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME  Cathedral of RouenRouen (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.

The 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.

NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME rouen église ste jeanneMusée 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).

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 13th Century.
The quaint Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock (dating back to the 16th century) located in the Gros Horloge street.

  (12 rue Beauvoisine, +33 2 35 71 35 86 , €29) Sphinx hotel in rue Beauvoisine near the Musée des Antiquités has good clean and tidy accommodation for under €30.

Hôtel du Palais  (12 Rue du Tambour,  +33 2 35 71 41 40      ‎,  €30 shared bath, €42)  This is a decent option for budget travelers in a central location.

Vieux Carré ( 34 rue Ganterie, +33 2 35 71 67 70 ,  €58)  This cosy half-timbered 18th-century hotel wrapped around a peaceful courtyard prompts rave reviews regarding its atmosphere.   Cathedral views are available from some rooms, while others overlook the courtyard.  Management is particularly convivial.  There is an attached bistro and breakfast is served in the courtyard. 

Hôtel Du Québec (18-24 rue Québec,  +33 2-35-70-09-38      , / €60)  In the historic core, this budget hotel stands close to the cathedral and its surrounding antique shops. It is a very typical Norman city hotel, without any grand design, but offering affordable comfortable rooms. Bedrooms are generally small, but each is well kept and many open onto a view of a garden. Suitable for families, some units have both a double bed and a single bed.

Cathédrale   (12 rue St-Romain, St-Maclou, +33  2-35-71-57-95 , €69)  This lovely hotel is exquisitely decorated in traditional 17th-century Norman style and represents good value for its supercentral, yet quiet, location, obviously just near the Cathedral.

Hôtel de Dieppe  (Place Bernard-Tissot, +33  2-35-71-96-00 ,  €97)  This is a good choice for its centrality and quality.  A traditional French hotel established in 1880, the original proprietors, the Gueret family, still retain management (though it is now a Best Western asset).  Double glazed windows is mostly successful in reducing city noise.  The adjacent restaurant , Les Quatre Saisons serves a range of fresh fish plates, but its signature dish is the pressed duck.


NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME DieppeDieppe (pop 34,000) has been a seaside resort since 1824. Its limestone cliffs and pebble beaches have constantly beckoned many artistes in need of inspiration, to the area. However, its natural beauty has been tainted by bloody battles throughout history, such as those during the Hundred Years War and the Dieppe Raid. One of the more poignant battles was the Canadian infantry fights (on behalf of the Allied forces) that took place in Dieppe in 1942. Many Canadian soldiers lost their lives in this fight and no major objective was achieved in the end. However, the lessons learnt from this, aided in Dieppe’s liberation two years later, in 1944.

Dieppe is located on the Manche Coast; with a body of water dissecting the rectangular land mass centrally. The ports are located here with Quai Henry IV and Quai Duquesne lining its eastern edge. The Dieppe ferry terminal is located in the northeast [Terminal Transmanche 76200 Dieppe, +33 232145205] and the train station is located in the southeast [Boulevard Georges Clemenceau, +33 235824810]. Dieppe beach is up north with the lawns nearby, bordered by Bd de Verdum. The inland roads of Grande Rue and rue de la Baree are well pedestrianised.

he grand central landmark of Dieppe is the Château Musée [Rue de Chastes, +33 235066199 , ad/ch €3.50/Free]. It is a 15th century castle museum which houses exhibits of the city’s maritime and artistic history. Most notably, it holds a collection of ivory carvings made in the 17th century, carved form the tusks of West African elephants. 

At the foot of the castle and nearby cliffs, is the modern Casino de Dieppe [3 Boulevard de Verdun, +33 232144800,], which is a seaside gambling hotspot that also offers interesting entertainment activities.

Another museum found in Dieppe, is the Cite de la Mer [37 Rue de l'Asile Thomas,  +33 235069320 ad/ch €6/3.50], which is also dedicated to displaying the maritime history of the city. However, it also focuses on the marine life in the area. The museum has 5 large aquariums that hold sizeable specimens of fish and crustaceans from the nearby waters.  

NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME Dieppe Cathédrale de DieppeVisiting the Église St Jacques [4, rue Sainte Catherine, +33 235842165 ] is also a popular activity, as this 13th century Gothic style church, not only looks intriguing but also houses a 16th century freize and 17th century stained glass paintings inside.
You can also pay your respects to the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives here, during WWII, at the Canadian Military Cemetery, which is on the path towards Rouen. 
Strolling along the ports is another popular activity, as Dieppe’s Ports still harbour old fishing boats and new pleasure vessels. Another place for a good ‘walk-see’ is the Dieppe Beach. It is a 1.8km long pebble beach which is located right beside the Lawns, which were built by Napoleon III, in 1860. The beach and lawns also have a playground and a mini-golf centre to keep the kids occupied.

Every even numbered year, Dieppe garners worldwide attention, as it plays host to the International Kite Flying Festival []. You can visit the city in September to watch this spectacularly colourful event.

Au Grand Duquesne
[15, Place Saint-Jacques, +33 232146110 €40-61] is located close to the Église St Jacques. However, it does not have great room views. Its rooms are fitted with basic amenities and are cheaper if you opt for the hall shower.

Les Arcades [1&3 Arcades de la Bourse +33 235841412, €63-79] sits centrally, close to the port, above an arcade. Its rooms are quiet, with port views, basic facilities and private bathrooms

Hôtel de la Plage
[20 Boulevard de Verdun, +33 €65-120] is situated close to the seafront and the room décor upholds this watery theme, with blue hues and modern interior. Rooms with a sea view cost more.

Logis Windsor [18 Boulevard de Verdun+33 235841523 €74-342] is near the city centre and within walking distance of the Casino and the Château. It is a modest-looking hotel with cosy rooms that offer basic amenities. It is not grand but convenient. 

Mercure Dieppe La Présidence [1 Boulevard de Verdun €84-312] sits opposite the beach, next to the casino and the Château. It is a large hotel with half the rooms offering sea views. Expect modern rooms with private showers.

Hotel Aguado [30 Boulevard de Verdun €86-115] is located near the beach and the city. Its rooms have a panoramic view and are fitted with basic amenities.


NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME etretatCôte d`Albâtre, which means Alabaster Coast, stretches 130km from Le Havre to Tréport. It features dramatic uninterrupted cliffs, which seem like a never-ending 100m high wall. These limestone cliffs are completely sculpted by nature, occasionally fitting villages, beaches and gardens between them. Oddly enough, it also houses two nuclear power plants. Notable towns along the coast are Fécamp, St-Valery-en-Caux and Étretart.  

The coast is inaccessible via public transport but you can drive there using the coastal roads. Hiking along the GR21 trail is also an option.





Étretat (pop 1600) is a former ‘fishing village turned seaside resort town’. It has attracted many artistes over the years, including Eugéne Boudin and Claude Monet. It was also a prominent setting in the 1909 novel, ‘The Hollow Needle’, by Maurice Leblanc.

NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME etretatThe place is best known for its beachside cliffs; the most famous being the twin cliffs – Falaise d`Aval and Falaise d`Amont. The cliffs’ freestanding arcs are usually the ‘wow’ factor. Falaise d`Aval has one of its own and another further down the cliff in La Manneporte. Falaise d`Amont also features an arc, together with a memorial erected to commemorate The White Bird- a 1927 biplane, carrying two French war heroes who were last seen there, before mysteriously disappearing over the Atlantic Ocean. Hiking along these cliff trails is a popular seaside activity.


FR NORMANDY SEINNE-MARITIME le havre Le Havre (pop.180,000) is one of the most populated port city’s in Upper Normandy and home to the second busiest port in France, hence being simply named, ‘the port’ or ‘the harbour’. Its importance in French sea trade made it a target of bombing during the Battle of Normandy. This raided the city, causing the entire city to be rebuilt later, by Auguste Perret. This project created a new image of modernity and optimism for the city, allowing it to be named on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, in 2005.

The Place de I’Hotel de Ville marks the city square, which is evident in the four roads that surround it. Avenue Foch runs west from it, towards the pleasure port at Blvd Albert. Rue de Paris, runs south from the Place de I’Hotel, cutting through the cultural centre- Le Volcan. Blvd de Stratsbourg runs east of the Place de I’Hotel, towards the train station [Cours de la République 12]. For bus services within and around Le Havre, head to Place de I’Hotel de Ville [15 rue Jules Lecesne], where tickets are sold.  Quatier St Francois, marks the old city of Le Havre, which is five blocks southeast of Le Volcan.

The centrepiece of the city built by Perret, is Église St Joseph [Bd. François-Ier, +33 235422003 ]. It was erected by the architect himself between 1951 and 1959, with 13 000 panels of coloured glass that paint the interior in bright hues when it is sunny.

Le Havre also boasts a local art museum, Musée Malraux [2 Boulevard Clemenceau,+33 235196262 ad/ch €6/3] which houses mainly impressionist works, with a section specially dedicated to their local artist, Fauvist Raoul Dufy.

Another iconic Le Havre building is Le Volcan [] . It is the city’s cultural hub, built by Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. It features the congregation of many concert halls and cinemas, in one place.

Hôtel Voltaire
[14 Rue Voltaire,  +33 235193535 €36-66] is located close to the Église St Joseph. It is a cheerful-looking hotel with modest rooms that have private showers. Reasonably priced, coupled with a good location.

Le Petit Vatel [86 rue Louis Brindeau,  +33 235417207 €49-89] is conveniently located close to the beach and two blocks from Église St Joseph. It has clean rooms with basic amenities, each fixed with private showers.

Hôtel Vent d’Ouest [4 rue Caligny, +33 235425069 €105-165] meaning Hotel West Wind, is situated near the museum, beach and the St Joseph church. It is a 3-star hotel which is well decorated with a nautical theme, comprising of rooms that either have private showers or baths.