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France Guide


Rouen France

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Rouen, capital of Upper Normandy, is synonymous with museums, Gothic cathedrals, half timbered houses, church spires and Joan of Arc.


A medieval town, Rouen was designed by the Viking Rollo just after he became Duke of Normandy in 911. It was later captured by the English in 1419, bore witness to the execution of Joan of Arc in 1431, and was won back by the French in 1449. Having survived numerous fires in the 13th century, much of the town was ruined during WWII. Since then, the centre has undergone a painstaking process of restoration and much of the centre (from about 100m north of the river) has been almost entirely rebuilt in the medieval style.

Consider these pages for busses, trains and airport information.

Rouen is France's fourth largest port and the nearest that large container ships can get to Paris. There is an airport at Boos, 9km southeast of the town, and regular buses connect the town to the airport. The town also benefits from its own metro system that follows the main rue Jeanne d'Arc. The tourist office is situated opposite the cathedral in place de la Cathédrale (02 32 08 32 40).

There are over 3,000 hotel rooms in Rouen, including the upmarket hotel Du Vieux Marché at 15 rue de la Pie (02 35 71 00 88). Located next to the old market place, this is a very comfortable hotel that mixes modern facilities with the old world charm of its courtyard and surroundings (€85 €100 per room).Rouen also has a lot to offer at the more budget end of the scale. For example, the Sphinx hotel in rue Beauvoisine near the Musée des Antiquités has basic and cosy accommodation for under €30.

For those of you wishing to pitch a tent somewhere, there are two main campsites. The Camping de l'Aubette in St Léger du Bourg Denis is on bus route 8. It is fairly rural and so less well connected than the Camping Municipal on rue Jules Ferry in Déville Les Rouen, 4km northwest of the town on bus route 2 (last bus 11pm) and open all year round.

The top end restaurants in Rouen tend to charge more at the weekends than during the week because that is when families go out for dinner. Most restaurants of this kind are found in the place du Vieux Marché, including Le Maupassant with its lovely terrace and indoor dining areas. Just north of the place du Vieux Marché, where there is a food market during the day, there are a number of Tunisian takeaways, crêperies and lots of bars.

Bars in Rouen are plentiful and vary from the glam La Luna, with its salsa and South American theme, to the techno and drum 'n' bass of Le Café Curieux. Go for a wander and simply stop when you get thirsty!