Rouen today! Cathedrals, big clocks, and half-timbered houses galore.
Our day started out with an hour drive to the Southeast, a little later than I would have liked, but that came to be the norm. But there was so much to do today, and I knew we wouldn’t have time, so we had to pick and choose.
I had wanted to go to Rouen on Saturday, as that was the big “market day.” We started out at the Place du Vieux Marche and walked through the market – not nearly as exciting as I was hoping for. Granted, I didn’t have much of a chance to really immerse myself in it.
We walked down past the palais de justice, a restored gothic building complete with gargoyles. They had a great display on the Southwest side describing the damage to the building in WWII and the reconstruction.
Then we hit the Cathedral, which has a very rich history. It contains the tombs of Richard the Lionheart and the Viking Rollo. The Cathedral was painted quite often by Monet, and I hear that during the summer, they project these images on the facade of the Cathedral at night.
It was around 1pm, so a lot of the places we wanted to see were closed, so we went tot he Musee des Beaux-Arts and wandered around for a couple of hours. They have a large collection of 17th century religious paintings – not my favorite school of art. However, they did have a couple of cool things:
After the museum, we were quite thirsty, so we stopped in at a nearby Brasserie and had some wine and a bit to eat. I ordered the tomato and mozzerella appetizer, and Stephen ordered the charcuterie, and the waiter was like, “That’s it? Are you sure?” We wondered if we were going to get small plates, but no, it was plenty for us for a small lunch!
Then we hit the Ironworks Museum (link in French, you’ll need to translate). I had read that this museum was pretty good, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to waste my time there. But Stephen wants to do ironworking when he retires, so we stopped to check it out, and I’m glad we did – it was really great! They have around 14,000 pieces of ironwork – lots of keys, but also signs that would have hung outside business, chests, sewing bobbins, scissors, swords, knives, and a ton of other stuff!
We wandered down toward what turned out to be the Hotel de Ville, so we stopped in next door and toured St. Maclou. The flying butresses and rose window were definite highlights.
After that, I wanted to check out the Plague Cemetery, but we missed it and got turned around (not sure how – we were right there). Instead, we headed up to Le Gros Herloge (the Big Clock) just in time to get to walk to the top. The audio tour was great, explaining a lot of what we were seeing, including the different parts of the building, the operation of the clock, and the history. At the top, you can go outside and get a bird’s eye view of the city.
Some miscellaneous pictures from around town:
Stay tuned for Day 4: Taking it easy around Deauville and Trouville.