We took an early train for a day trip to Rouen in April. Rouen is in the Normandy region of France and serves as the capital. When we got to town, we headed toward the Tourism Office. Since we were there a little early, we decided to take a stroll through Rouen Cathedral. While we were inside, Andrew noticed Rollo! We had been watching the TV show Vikings and wondered if this was the same Rollo. We would find out later via the audio guide that it was indeed the same Rollo. It is so fun having history come together in our minds! We both feel like we understand everything better since we’ve been able to travel more.
We picked up our audio guides from the office and we were on our way. I loved this audio guide. It was perfect for a small city to go at your own pace. Back to the cathedral! We also spotted Richard the Lionheart inside. He, like Rollo, also ruled as the Duke of Normandy. Richard the Lionheart is also a character in Robin Hood. I had never really thought about where it took place, but now everything makes more sense.
Dame Cakes is located outside of the cathedral’s side door. They were closed now, but we planned to go back! I loved the façade; the cake shop is in the former workshop of Ferdinand Marrou, the iron craftsman who created this building.
Rouen is a beautiful town.
The Aître Saint-Maclou was a plague cemetery and dates back to the Great Plague of 1348 (¾ of the parish were killed). The macabre décor was interesting. There were some people dressed up as plague doctors taking pictures. Perfect timing for us, as it added to the ambiance of the space. In a window near the entrance is a skeleton of a cat. It had been found in the walls and according to some it was most likely a black cat a.k.a. the devil enclosed in the walls to ward off bad luck. Seems to me like it would be asking for bad luck, but who asked me?
These timber houses are cute. In the second photo along Rue Eau-de-Robec, I believe that some of these are called draper’s houses (the ones with the overhanging roof).
This is probably the cutest LCL that we’ve seen! That’s our bank!
Joan of Arc was kept prisoner and burned at the stake here in Rouen. This church (Eglise Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc) was constructed in her memory. It was erected near the spot where she was killed.
There was also a market near the church so we popped in for a look. What? Morel mushrooms are going for 129,50 € per kilo! We could make a killing here. I guess we were lucky in Missouri where we could go out in our back yard and find them for free.
Gros-Horloge, a.k.a. the Great Clock, was created in the 14th century. It shows the phases of the moon. The carving underneath the clock is beautiful (the Good Shepherd). The lamb is important to Rouen and is featured on their coat of arms.
We took a quick lunch break to sample some cheeses and try calvados. Calvados is an apple brandy produced in the Normandy region. It was pretty strong for me.
This house is cute and it is sad that they will be tearing it down soon.
We went the long way to get a great view of the city – it was worth it! I actually liked the path we took because I felt like we had more of an adventure.
This is the Tower of Joan of Arc. This is not the actual tower where she was kept as a prisoner. However, it was part of a larger castle that did house Joan. We didn’t have time to go inside.
The short trip to Rouen was great! When we got home, Andrew told me that it felt weird to go so far (by train) and be back at home in our beds that same night. We enjoyed our treats from Dame Cakes the next morning for breakfast.