Rouen France – the Capital of Normandy – a lovely city where we stayed for a few days prior to going to Paris. We had NO specific plans other than to just relax and walk around the City. We stayed across the street from the main train station and very close to the Old Section of town.
During our walks we passed a number of Beaux Arts buildings next to sagging Half-Timber buildings, and even some places that appeared to have been damaged as a result of WWII.
During our visit to the Museum of Beaux Arts , we were most likely the only Americans in the place. Yes there were other tourists, it is the end of the 2-week school break, but most of the other folks were French.
It is enjoyable to be visiting places throughout our trip where the normal USA Tourist doesn’t come – particularly during this time of year. Rarely did we hear English being spoken, mostly French.
Claude Monet loved Rouen because of its light ,which reflects on golden sandstone building material off of the Seine. The Museum’s cathedral painting, however, is shrouded in a grey veil. The Joan of Arc room showed multiple artists through the ages who have portrayed The Maid, visionary and martyr. Enormous religious paintings rescued from churches during the Revolution fill many rooms, but are more easily viewed than those at the Louvre. Shops closed for All Saints Day, but fortunately for us, PAUL eateries were open for lunch, even late lunch.
Rouen is known for its Notre Dame Cathedral, with its Tour de Beurre (butter tower) financed by the sale of indulgences for the consumption of butter during Lent. The cathedral’s gothic façade (completed in the 16th century) was the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet (several of which we saw in the Museum of Beaux Arts).
Another well know feature within the old section of Rouen is the Renaissance clock mounted in an arch crossing the Rue du Gros-Horloge. This clock, the oldest in France, was built in 1389 and shows the phases of the moon and the days of the week. The façade represents a golden sun with 24 rays on a starry blue background and measures 2.5 meters (a bit more than 8 feet) in diameter.
We left Rouen heading for Paris as we needed to turn in our car for shipment to the USA. We are now without our own transportation – and are heading to London on Sunday via the Chunnel and EuroStar train. More about that later.