Rouen

Rouen for all seasons

With the passing of weeks, Rouen often changes aspect and atmosphere. From the Spring of museums to Rouen Givrée or Rouen sur mer, from the “I hear voices” festival to the Thursday terraces or the Stomach Festival, there is something for everyone and for every taste.

Rouen sur mer

A summer atmosphere reigns between the Corneille and Boieldieu bridges, on the left bank. In July, a 6,000 metres long sand beach stretches along the banks of the Seine. Leisure and rest for some, workshops, theatre or concerts for others.

Thursday terraces

Every Thursday in July coffee terraces resound from the sounds of bands in every style: rock, electro, jazz, chanson, folk music.

Printemps de Rouen

In the two weeks of the Spring break, admission is free in all the museums in Rouen. At the weekends, concerts, shows and animations are organised all over town.

Left bank project - © www.rouen.frLeft bank project - © www.rouen.fr
19 previous stages
Pop: 112,000
Prefecture of Seine-Maritime (76)Economy : port, meat market, insurance companies, civil services. 
Specialties : ducklings a la Rouennaise, apples, cider, pommeau (apple drink), biscuits (Joan of Arc tears, Old Market cobble).
Nickname : the town of the 100 church towers.
Celebrities : Rollon, Joan of Arc, Corneille, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant, Jean Lecanuet (politician), Francois Hollande (politician).
Festivals : Joan of Arc festival, Nordic cinema film festival, Regards sur le cinema du monde film festival, Impressionist Normandy festival, Armada (giant yachts). 

Les Grandes Dates

  • 1st century

    Foundation of a town on the right bank of the Seine River named Rotomagus. It reached its peak in the 3rd century.
  • 841

    The town is raided by the Vikings.
  • 911

    By the Treaty of St Clair sur Epte, Rollon becomes the first Duke of Normandy and makes Rouen his capital.
  • 1066

    The conquest of England by William the Conqueror reinforces Rouen’s position.
  • 1204

    King Philip Augustus takes the town and places Normandy under French rule.
  • 13th century

    Construction of the cathedral.
  • 1349

    Black plague in the middle of the Hundred Years war.
  • 1419

    The English take Rouen.
  • 1431

    Joan of Arc is burnt alive on the Old Market Square.
  • 1449

    The French take the town back.
  • 16th century

    Renaissance and prosperity. Rouen is the kingdom’s second biggest town.
  • 1940

    The German army enters in Rouen on June 9.
  • 1979

    Inauguration of the St Joan of Arc church.
Abbeville train station in 1905Map of Rouen in 1657Joan of Arc on the pyre by Hermann Stilke (Ermitage museum , Saint-Petersbourg)
19 previous stages
Pop: 112,000
Prefecture of Seine-Maritime (76)Economy : port, meat market, insurance companies, civil services. 
Specialties : ducklings a la Rouennaise, apples, cider, pommeau (apple drink), biscuits (Joan of Arc tears, Old Market cobble).
Nickname : the town of the 100 church towers.
Celebrities : Rollon, Joan of Arc, Corneille, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant, Jean Lecanuet (politician), Francois Hollande (politician).
Festivals : Joan of Arc festival, Nordic cinema film festival, Regards sur le cinema du monde film festival, Impressionist Normandy festival, Armada (giant yachts). 

Rouen and cycling

Overlooked before the war in favour of Caen or Le Havre, the capital of Normandy has become a regular stage of the Tour de France, having been featured on the race map for the first time in 1949. Although Victor Hugo was impressed by “the city of a hundred steeples”, for cycling amateurs, Rouen has remained the stronghold of Jacques Anquetil in particular. For his maiden Tour in 1957, the rider, who had not yet earned the nickname of Master Jacques, won his first half stage at home. Three weeks later, he finished his first Tour de France wearing the Yellow Jersey.

Anquetil had however entered his first race only six years before to emulate high school mate Maurice Dieulois, who rode for the AC Sotteville club led by coach Andre Boucher. Anquetil soon emerged as the most gifted time trial specialist the club had ever seen. Maurice Dieulois evoked the beginning of the young man who rode 15 km daily from his village of Quincampoix to the school in which he was studying to become a metal worker.

“Every Monday, he would ride all the way down to school. In his eye, a bike was just a means of transportation. On the Thursday afternoon, we would go riding in the woods or head for the seaside. Jacques was a man of challenges and we often tested each other in the bumps. Jacques hated defeat.”

He would hate it until the end. After his premature death in 1987, Rouen gave his name to an embankment along the Seine and to a sport centre. 

Jacques Anquetil on the 1961 Tour de France - © Presse SportsAnquetil wins Caen –Rouen stage in 1957 - © Presse Sports
19 previous stages
Pop: 112,000
Prefecture of Seine-Maritime (76)Economy : port, meat market, insurance companies, civil services. 
Specialties : ducklings a la Rouennaise, apples, cider, pommeau (apple drink), biscuits (Joan of Arc tears, Old Market cobble).
Nickname : the town of the 100 church towers.
Celebrities : Rollon, Joan of Arc, Corneille, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant, Jean Lecanuet (politician), Francois Hollande (politician).
Festivals : Joan of Arc festival, Nordic cinema film festival, Regards sur le cinema du monde film festival, Impressionist Normandy festival, Armada (giant yachts). 

What to see

The cathedral

The construction of the Notre-Dame cathedral took place in the mid-12th century, on the site of an old Romanesque cathedral, the crypt of which was preserved. Building was completed some hundred years later but it was constantly refurbished throughout the following centuries. The facade displays a crucial evidence of the evolution of Gothic art from the 12th to the 16th century. The pretty cupola was topped in the 19th century by a cast iron steeple standing at 151-metres high.

The cathedral shelters in its ambulatory the tombs of several dukes of Normandy, like Rollon, the dynasty’s founder, or King of England Richard the Heart of a lion, who loved the town so much he had his heart deposited in the crypt after his death. The windows also tell the story of stained glass from the 13th century to present days.

St Joan of Arc church

The vast building standing on the Old Market square since 1979 is both a church to honour St Joan and a civil memorial to celebrate a war heroin who is feted in France the second Sunday in May. In Rouen the Joan of Arc festival takes place on the Sunday closest to May 30. The church architect, Louis Arretche, vowed to revive an old Norman tradition by giving the building the shape of a boat. He took inspiration from naval architecture and the timber structure is still apparent in the nave.

The outside decoration, decidedly modern, evokes the sea with its roof covered with slate and copper scales. Inside, the stained glass windows belonged to the old St Vincent church, dating from the Renaissance.

St Maclou church

The church is dedicated to a Breton saint also known as St Malo. The masterpiece of the flamboyant Gothic style was built from 1437. It is famous for its great door with five porches and its magnificent engraved wooden doors dating from the Renaissance. The furniture is also noteworthy: a flamboyant Gothic staircase, a beautiful Renaissance organ and baroque confessionals.

Courthouse

It is one of the most important and beautiful works of civil architecture in Rouen at the end of the Middle Ages. The oldest part is the west wing, built in 1499 to host the Parloir aux Bourgeois and the Normandy Exchequer. The building was enlarged in 1508 by the Royal Palace, which was completed in the mid-16th century. In the meantime, King Francis I had turned the Exchequer into a Parliament. The central wing received an extraordinary decoration with huge dormer windows and a balustrade topped with pinnacles.

West façade of Rouen Notre-Dame cathedral - © RouennaisSaint-Maclou church - © Tango 7174Rouen courthouse - © Urban
19 previous stages
Pop: 112,000
Prefecture of Seine-Maritime (76)Economy : port, meat market, insurance companies, civil services. 
Specialties : ducklings a la Rouennaise, apples, cider, pommeau (apple drink), biscuits (Joan of Arc tears, Old Market cobble).
Nickname : the town of the 100 church towers.
Celebrities : Rollon, Joan of Arc, Corneille, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant, Jean Lecanuet (politician), Francois Hollande (politician).
Festivals : Joan of Arc festival, Nordic cinema film festival, Regards sur le cinema du monde film festival, Impressionist Normandy festival, Armada (giant yachts). 

Joan of Arc's final moment

Heroin of the Hundred Years War, inspired by heavenly voices, Joan of Arc eventually meant trouble for the powerful and the wealthy in spite of her victories and military feats. The church barely accepted this young shepherdess who cited divine inspiration and whom they could not control. Young King Charles VII, whom she helped conquer the throne had achieved his goals and had to take into account the interests of the Dukes of Burgundy.

In May 1430, as she defended Compiegne against the Burgundy troops, she was detained and sold to the English for 10,000 pounds. Charles VII did not intervene.

Joan of Arc was taken to Rouen and held in the fortress of Bouvreuil pending judgment by a religious court. The court was chaired by the bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon, and by Dominican friar Jean Le Maitre, vicar of the Inquisition in France. The priests did not accept her professions of faith and politically she had made several enemies by taking sides in the conflict between Armagnac and Burgundy. She was charged for attempting suicide during an escape attempt, for having dressed as a man and more seriously to be inspired not by God, but by the Devil.

Asked by one of the judges about her state of grace, she said: “If I’m not (in this state) God puts me in it. And if I am, God keeps me in it.”

She was finally sentenced to death and the execution was planned to take place in the cemetery of the St Ouen abbatial church in Rouen. But on May 21, 1432, she eventually accepted her faults and her sentence was turned into a life sentence. Yet, a few days later she put her man clothes back on and heard voices again. She was hen sentenced to be burnt to death.

Dressed in a gown coated with sulphur to make the immolation quicker, crowned with a mitre on which were written infamous accusations, she was led to the place of the execution. It was a dreadful sight: the pyre being too high, the executioner was unable to strangle her to death before the flames reached her and she died in atrocious suffering.

One of the judges, feeling remorse, said: “I would like my soul to be where I believe this girl’s soul to be”.

The trial was revised in 1465 and Joan of Arc was canonised in 1920.

Joan of Arc on the pyre by Hermann Stilke (Ermitage museum , Saint-Petersbourg)
19 previous stages
Pop: 112,000
Prefecture of Seine-Maritime (76)Economy : port, meat market, insurance companies, civil services. 
Specialties : ducklings a la Rouennaise, apples, cider, pommeau (apple drink), biscuits (Joan of Arc tears, Old Market cobble).
Nickname : the town of the 100 church towers.
Celebrities : Rollon, Joan of Arc, Corneille, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant, Jean Lecanuet (politician), Francois Hollande (politician).
Festivals : Joan of Arc festival, Nordic cinema film festival, Regards sur le cinema du monde film festival, Impressionist Normandy festival, Armada (giant yachts). 
video04/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Rouen

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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