- Top attractions in Rouen
- The best architectural sights in Rouen
- Astronomical Clock
- Joan of Arc Tower
- Palace of Justice
- Place Vieux Marché
- The best natural landmarks of Rouen
- St. Catherine’s Hill. Catherine’s
- Botanic Garden
- The best religious sites in Rouen
- Rouen Cathedral
- Church of Saint-Macloux
- Saint-Ouen church
- St. Georges de Beaucherville Abbey
- Church of Jeanne
- The best cultural attractions in Rouen
- Joan of Arc Historical Complex
- Museum of Ironwork
- Museum of Ceramics
- Art Museum
- Panorama XXL
- Jewish monument
- Museum of the History of Medicine
Rouen is one of the most interesting cities in Normandy and the historic capital of the region. A fascinating city full of historic sites that will appeal to all tourists. There are over 50 churches, many dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. And Notre Dame, one of the largest cathedrals in France, dating from the 13th to 16th centuries, can be considered the main attraction. Our experts have ranked the best sights in Rouen to make it easier for you to find the best sites to visit.
Top attractions in Rouen
|The best architectural sights in Rouen||1||Astronomical clock||5.0|
|2||Joan of Arc Tower||4.9|
|3||Palais de Justice||4.8|
|4||Place Vieux Marché||4.7|
|The best natural attractions in Rouen||1||St. Mark’s Hill. Catherine’s||5.0|
|Best religious sites in Rouen||1||Rouen Cathedral||5.0|
|4||Abbey of Saint-Georges de Beaucherville||4.7|
|5||Church of Jeanne||4.6|
|The best cultural attractions in Rouen||1||Joan of Arc Historical Complex||5.0|
|2||Museum of Ironwork||4.9|
|7||Museum of the History of Medicine||4.4|
The best architectural sights in Rouen
The Astronomical Clock is one of the most important architectural and engineering landmarks of Rouen, created in the 14th century. Despite the fact that it is much outdated at the moment, it is still one of the most interesting places in the city. The movement was created in 1389 and is the oldest working one in France.
Jean de Félin completed the work of manufacture and adjustment, who went on to become the master watchmaker. The dial was added somewhat later. This mechanism is also one of the largest surviving. The decorative facade was added in 1529, which is when the clock was moved to its current location.
Joan of Arc Tower
Joan of Arc Tower is the second most beautiful architectural attraction in Rouen, the only remnant of the city’s ancient castle. At 35 meters high, this is one of Normandy’s rarest surviving examples of round-shaped donjons. Built in 1210 by order of King Philip II. The fortress stood on a hill, which provided a view over practically the entire city.
Originally built on the site of a Romanesque amphitheater. By the standards of the Middle Ages, this castle was relatively small. In 1375 Charles V set up apartments in the citadel, but 50 years later the fortress was taken by the English during the Centennial War and converted it into a temporary residence for the king.
Palace of Justice
The third position is occupied by the former parliament building, which is currently considered one of the most beautiful in the whole territory of Northern France. This is the Palace of Justice of the region. Architecturally, it belongs to the Late Gothic style. Located on the site of a former Jewish street.
The oldest part of the palace is the west wing, which was built in 1499 for the Chess Chamber, turned into the Parliament. Construction of a new building soon began. The east wing of the Palace of Justice was built in the 19th century. Some walls show the bombing marks left by the Allied air raids of 1944.
Place Vieux Marché
The fourth place in Rouen’s list of architectural sights is occupied by the square on which the Maid of Orleans was burned alive. In 1431 there was a tragedy, after which for the French the area forever became a memorial. The architecture of this area is mostly frame, and in the central part is the Church of Saint Jeanne, a very interesting monument of modern art.
Before the Second World War, practically all the stained-glass windows in Rouen’s city churches were dismantled and hidden away in a warehouse in the Basilica of Saint Vincent. It was destroyed in air raids by American-British bombers, but managed to save the beautiful windows, which are the decoration of the Church of Joan of Arc.
The best natural landmarks of Rouen
St. Catherine’s Hill. Catherine’s
The main natural landmark of Rouen is the St. Catherine’s Hill. The St. Catherine Monastery, just off the Seine. This is a great area to explore the city, as you can see almost all of the surrounding land from its top. From the hill of Catherine Claude Monet painted Rouen. And at the moment on top of it tourists are regularly photographed against the backdrop of the city.
It is worth choosing and wearing sturdy shoes, as the hill is full of flat rocks on which you can slip. The Rue Henri Rivière leads to the summit, from where the steps to the top begin. It’s not uncommon for locals or tourists to come here to admire the views.
The botanical garden in Rouen comes next. Located a little south of the center of Normandy’s capital city, this is considered one of the best places for family walks in the area. But there are regular breeding operations here, so the landmark is of great scientific value. Plants have been brought here from five continents. Especially interesting to visit the garden from mid-spring to fall.
At the beginning of the year the blooming irises create truly amazing colors. And in summer the rose gardens start to draw attention. In the fall, the main interest will come from the late flowers, which have an orange and red hue. And in winter it is worth visiting the greenhouses of the Botanical Gardens.
The best religious sites in Rouen
The main religious attraction of Rouen is the architectural dominant of the city and a monument of republican importance – Notre Dame. It has been completed in the course of 7 centuries, starting from the end of the XII century. Mainly this landmark has become known to the general public through a series of paintings by Claude Monet, who painted the cathedral in different weather conditions. The number of works exceeds 50.
The history of this landmark dates back to around the 4th century, when the first basilica appeared in the area. Regular foreign invasions and an unstable political situation soon led to its destruction. Later, when Rouen became the capital of Normandy, a beautiful cathedral appeared there, which survived to our days in a slightly modified form.
Church of Saint-Macloux
The second position in the ranking of spiritual attractions in Rouen is occupied by the city’s Roman Catholic Church, which is considered one of the best examples among the flaming Gothic sites in France. It is also part of an ensemble of the city’s most famous architectural sites. Construction of the landmark began in 1435, when it was planned to replace the somewhat dilapidated church.
The master stonemason Pierre Robin was hired to erect. He created a full analogue of a basilica, which he built with bell towers. It was not completed until 1521, and the tower was added in 1868. The main attraction of the site is the macabre veneer that recalls Normandy’s long and somber past.
The third position in the ranking of spiritual sites in Rouen is occupied by the Gothic church of Saint-Ouen. It is one of the most important masterpieces of the Gothic style, and the size of the structure is similar to Notre Dame. The abbey was founded in the 6th century and has since grown to become one of the most influential abbeys in the country. But 3 centuries later it began to be actively plundered by the northerners, and then the building burned down.
The modern construction of the church began in 1318 and lasted almost 200 years. Only the simplest of techniques were used, but the cathedral itself looks ancient and monumental. The church is one of the largest structures with a length of about 137 meters and a height of up to 33 meters. In the center of the monastery there is a towering Gothic tower. And inside, the beautiful stained-glass windows have been preserved. The church is located on Rue General de Gaulle.
St. Georges de Beaucherville Abbey
Fourth place in the ranking is occupied by an abbey located 12 kilometers from Rouen. It is surrounded by spectacular scenery, making it one of the region’s best attractions. On the territory of the corner is formed a beautiful ensemble, which attracts tourists. The monastery’s grounds are full of many interesting sites. This includes the capitul building, which was erected after the church.
There is also a small structure built with the Maurist monks that appeared on the grounds of the abbey. It differs in appearance and style from the other buildings, as it was built a little later. At the moment, it is used as an exhibition center. In addition, one of the most beautiful parks has been laid out around the monastery.
Church of Jeanne
Fifth position in the category is occupied by the Church of Joan of Arc. It stands surrounded by ancient architectural elements and can be compared to a modern shopping mall or presentation house, but not to a traditional house of prayer. The landmark was erected in 1979, and since then it has never stopped working. Villa Augusto Hotel is situated on the place where the Maid of Orleans was burned.
In addition to its unconventional appearance, this landmark is notable for its interesting stained-glass windows, which were formerly part of St. Vincent’s Church. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by Allied air raids in 1944, but the windows were dismantled, allowing it to be preserved. According to the architect’s idea, the smooth lines of the church are reminiscent of the flames that engulfed the heroine of France.
The best cultural attractions in Rouen
Joan of Arc Historical Complex
First position in the rating of cultural attractions in Rouen and Normandy is occupied by a historical complex, which was created to introduce the heroine of the 15th century Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans. It was in this city that it was burned, of which there are several references. And to get acquainted with its biography, you should visit this section of Rouen.
It can be compared to a theater, where every tourist is invited to walk through the corridors of the medieval citadel and hear the story of visions of the Maid of Orleans, victories over the armies of France, as well as the Inquisition trial and execution. There are also a huge number of different myths, which will be told during the walk.
Museum of Ironwork
The second position in the rating of cultural attractions is occupied by the museum, placed under the ceiling of the Church of Saint Laurent. Its exhibitions are dedicated to various wrought iron objects made during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The church itself is an interesting piece of architecture, dating back to the XV century. Inside there is a collection of stained glass windows, and the “Jesus Tree” is especially curious for tourists.
The museum of ironwork is the largest in the world among similar complexes. It contains more than 8000 wrought iron objects, dating back to the 1st century B.C. They’re housed in traditionally designed stands. Particularly large examples hang on the stone walls. Among the exhibits are scissors in the shape of birds and even household utensils.
Museum of Ceramics
Next in the ranking is the Museum of Ceramics. This attraction tells the story of the development of industry in the city. It is the largest museum dedicated to ceramics in the country. You can also see objects from other parts of France. And several halls are devoted to fine porcelain from Sèvres.
Located inside the Hôtel d’Auqueville, next to the art establishment. The building itself was built in the 17th century, but it has been reconstructed many times. Here you can spend a long time examining the interiors, which belong to the neoclassicism style. The museum’s collection has over 5,000 pieces made in Rouen, and several hundred from other regions. The oldest among them is about 500 years old.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Rouen, opened by Emperor Napoleon in 1801, is number four in the list of cultural attractions of Rouen. Inside, there is a large collection of drawings, paintings, and a number of objects that are made by local craftsmen. Very interesting for most tourists are the icons painted in the fifteenth century.
The museum consists of 60 rooms, and its displays have about 8,000 items. However, the best collection is rightly considered to be an assemblage of works from the largest European schools. And the building itself was built in 1888, the chief architect being Louis Savageau. At the entrance are several famous sculptures of two artists from Normandy, Nicolas Poussin and Michel Angier.
The fifth position is occupied by the museum, called “Panorama XXL”, which is a circular column on the waterfront. In fact, this is an exhibition that allows you to get a full 360-degree view. For tourists are invited to explore the landscape formed by photographs, next to which are placed drawings and even full-fledged screens. The entire performance is accompanied by sound effects.
In earlier years, panoramas of many famous natural landmarks were displayed here, including the Great Reef, parts of the Amazon River, and the city of Rouen in 1431. The height of the observation deck is about 15 meters, and it is one of the best sights in the city.
Europe in the 14th century was a very violent place, where persecution of different nationalities often took place. And the only relic of the Jewish diaspora in Rouen that has been preserved in the city is the monument. The people were driven out of the country by King Philip the Fourth in the early 14th century.
The landmark of Rouen is preserved beneath the city’s Palace of Justice. This Romanesque stone building, which dates from the beginning of the twelfth century, is considered one of the oldest in Europe. The only way to reach it is to sign up for the tours organized by the local authorities.
Museum of the History of Medicine
The seventh position in the rating of sights of Rouen is occupied by the museum, located in the middle of the last century, placed on the territory of the hospital, where the famous writer Gustave Flaubert was born. The building itself is interesting enough for almost all tourists who are into self-development.
Inside are exhibits and curiosities from earlier and more primitive times, among them there are even mannequins on which childbirth was demonstrated. These date from the 17th century. Later, a collection of items consisting of military doctors’ tools from various periods was added to the exhibit. Also unique are the embalmed heads of agitators hanged in the XVII century.