Rouen, located in the Normandy region of France, is a city with a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene. Known for its medieval charm and association with Joan of Arc, Rouen offers visitors a wide range of attractions and activities. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Rouen:
1. Old Town (Vieux Rouen)
Take a stroll through the picturesque streets of the Old Town, where you’ll find half-timbered houses, charming squares, and historic landmarks. The Rue du Gros-Horloge, with its iconic clock tower, is a highlight of the area.
2. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen
Art lovers should not miss this exceptional museum, which houses an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. From works by renowned artists like Monet, Renoir, and Delacroix to medieval and Renaissance art, the museum offers a diverse range of artistic treasures.
3. Joan of Arc History Museum (Historial Jeanne d’Arc)
Rouen has a strong connection to Joan of Arc, and this museum tells her story in a compelling way. Through interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations, you can learn about the life, trial, and legacy of this iconic figure.
4. Place du Vieux-Marché
This lively square is where Joan of Arc was executed, and today it is a bustling hub with cafes, restaurants, and shops. Enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the outdoor terraces while soaking in the historic atmosphere.
5. Gros-Horloge Astronomical Clock
Located on the Rue du Gros-Horloge, this impressive clock dates back to the 14th century and features a stunning astronomical dial. You can climb the tower for a closer look at the mechanism and enjoy panoramic views of Rouen.
6. Jardin des Plantes de Rouen
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate this beautiful botanical garden, which offers a peaceful escape from the city. Stroll through the well-manicured grounds, admire the diverse plant species, and relax by the tranquil ponds.
7. Musée de la Céramique
If you’re interested in ceramics, this museum is a must-visit. It showcases a vast collection of pottery and porcelain, including pieces from Rouen’s famous 18th-century porcelain factory.
8. Gustave Flaubert Museum
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Rouen was the birthplace of the renowned French author Gustave Flaubert, and this museum is dedicated to his life and works. Explore his former residence, see his personal belongings, and gain insight into the literary world of the 19th century.
9. River Seine
Take a leisurely boat cruise along the Seine River, which runs through Rouen. Enjoy the scenic views of the city’s skyline, bridges, and historic buildings while learning about the city’s history and landmarks.
10. Musée Le Secq des Tournelles
This unique museum is dedicated to metalwork and showcases an impressive collection of wrought iron objects, including decorative pieces, tools, and architectural elements. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the artistry and craftsmanship of metalwork throughout history.
11. Saint-Maclou Church
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This Gothic church is a masterpiece of architectural beauty, known for its intricate ornamentation and stunning stained glass windows. Take your time to explore the interior and admire the intricate details of this magnificent structure.
12. Musée Maritime Fluvial et Portuaire
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Located on the banks of the Seine River, this museum provides insights into Rouen’s maritime history and its importance as a river port. Discover the city’s connections with the sea through exhibits, models, and artifacts related to shipping, navigation, and the local maritime industry.
13. Panorama XXL
Immerse yourself in a unique visual experience at Panorama XXL. This cylindrical building houses large-scale panoramic paintings that transport you to different historical and natural landscapes. The immersive displays make you feel like you are right in the midst of the depicted scenes.
14. Rue Eau de Robec
Explore the charming Rue Eau de Robec, a street that follows the course of a small canal. Lined with picturesque houses, art galleries, and cafes, it offers a tranquil and scenic atmosphere. This area is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing coffee break.
15. Rouen Market (Marché Saint-Marc)
If you enjoy fresh produce, local products, and the lively atmosphere of a traditional market, be sure to visit Rouen Market. Located near the Church of Saint-Maclou, the market offers a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, cheese, seafood, and other delights.
16. Parc de Rouelles
For a peaceful escape from the city, head to Parc de Rouelles, a beautiful park on the outskirts of Rouen. It features lush greenery, walking trails, a lake, and picnic areas. It’s a great spot for nature lovers, families, and anyone looking to unwind.
17. Theatre des Arts
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouen_Opera_House
If you’re interested in performing arts, check out the Theatre des Arts. This contemporary theater hosts a variety of productions, including plays, ballets, operas, and concerts. Catch a performance to experience the vibrant cultural scene in Rouen.
18. Normandy Museum (Musée de Normandie)
Located in the historic Château de Caen, about an hour’s drive from Rouen, the Normandy Museum offers a comprehensive exploration of the region’s history, from prehistoric times to the present day. It provides valuable insights into the rich cultural heritage of Normandy.
19. Rue Saint-Romain
Take a leisurely walk along Rue Saint-Romain, a charming street lined with antique shops, boutiques, and art galleries. It’s the perfect place to find unique souvenirs, vintage treasures, and contemporary artworks.
20. Musée Pierre Corneille
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Pay a visit to the birthplace of the famous French playwright Pierre Corneille. This museum offers insights into Corneille’s life and works, displaying manuscripts, costumes, and props from his plays. It’s a great opportunity to delve into the world of French theater.
21. Place de la Pucelle
This lively square is dedicated to Joan of Arc and features a statue commemorating her. Surrounded by cafes and restaurants, it’s a great spot to sit down, relax, and soak up the atmosphere of Rouen.
22. La Fabrique des Savoirs
Located in the nearby town of Elbeuf, La Fabrique des Savoirs is an interactive science museum that offers engaging exhibits on various scientific topics. It’s a fun and educational destination for visitors of all ages.
23. Taste Normandy Cuisine
Rouen is known for its delectable cuisine, particularly its ties to Normandy’s culinary traditions. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor local specialties such as creamy Camembert cheese, apple-based dishes like tarte tatin, and the famous Norman cider. Visit traditional restaurants and brasseries to indulge in these regional delights.
24. Parc Saint-Sever
Enjoy some green space at Parc Saint-Sever, a beautiful urban park in Rouen. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply relax amidst the serene surroundings. The park also hosts regular events and exhibitions.
25. Maison Sublime
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Step back in time at Maison Sublime, a preserved 15th-century half-timbered house that offers a glimpse into the daily life of the medieval period. Explore the rooms, admire the architectural details, and learn about the history of this well-preserved historic gem.
26. Street Art Tour
Rouen is increasingly becoming a hub for street art. Embark on a self-guided tour or join a guided tour to discover the vibrant murals and urban art scattered throughout the city. It’s a fantastic way to explore the creative side of Rouen and witness the talent of local and international street artists.
27. Attend Cultural Events
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Keep an eye out for cultural events and festivals taking place in Rouen throughout the year. From music festivals and art exhibitions to theater performances and dance shows, there is always something happening in the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
28. Museums of Rouen
Rouen is home to several other notable museums that cater to different interests. Consider visiting the Museum of Natural History, the Flaubert Museum, the Ceramics Museum, or the Museum of Ironwork to delve into diverse subjects and gain a deeper understanding of various aspects of Rouen’s heritage.
29. Pont Gustave-Flaubert
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_Gustave-Flaubert
Cross the Seine River on the Pont Gustave-Flaubert, an impressive vertical-lift bridge that offers panoramic views of Rouen and its surroundings. Walk or cycle across the bridge and marvel at the engineering marvel while enjoying the picturesque scenery.
30. Rouen’s Nighttime Illuminations
Experience the enchanting beauty of Rouen at night during the city’s illuminations. Many of Rouen’s historic buildings, including the cathedral and the Gros-Horloge, are lit up in a spectacular display of lights, creating a magical ambiance throughout the city.
31. Rouen’s Markets
Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Rouen’s markets, where you can find an array of fresh produce, local delicacies, and artisanal products. Visit the Saint-Maclou Market, the Place Saint-Marc Market, or the Place du Boulingrin Market to sample regional treats and interact with friendly vendors.
32. Theatre and Performing Arts
Catch a performance at one of Rouen’s theaters, such as the Théâtre des Deux Rives or the Théâtre de l’Almendra. Enjoy a play, a ballet, a musical, or a concert, and experience the city’s thriving performing arts scene.
33. Escape Games and Virtual Reality
If you’re looking for an interactive and immersive experience, try an escape game or a virtual reality activity in Rouen. Several venues offer exciting challenges and simulations that will put your problem-solving skills to the test.
34. Day Trips to Giverny and Honfleur
Take advantage of Rouen’s strategic location and embark on day trips to the charming village of Giverny, where you can visit Monet’s iconic gardens and home, or the picturesque harbor town of Honfleur, known for its picturesque streets and art galleries.
35. Musée Flaubert et d’Histoire de la Médecine
Visit the Musée Flaubert et d’Histoire de la Médecine to explore the history of medicine and its connections to renowned author Gustave Flaubert. The museum showcases medical instruments, manuscripts, and exhibits related to Flaubert’s works.
36. Parc de la Roseraie
Discover the beauty of roses at the Parc de la Roseraie. This serene park boasts a stunning collection of roses, creating a fragrant and colorful oasis. Take a leisurely stroll among the vibrant blooms or relax on a bench surrounded by the delightful scents.
37. Rouen at Christmas
Experience the magic of Rouen during the festive season. The city is known for its enchanting Christmas markets, adorned with twinkling lights and offering a wide array of crafts, food, and gifts. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, ice skating, and sipping hot mulled wine.
38. Jardin de l’Hôtel de Ville
Take a break from exploring and relax in the tranquil Jardin de l’Hôtel de Ville. Located behind the Rouen City Hall, this charming garden features beautiful flowerbeds, sculptures, and a peaceful atmosphere—an ideal spot for a leisurely picnic or a quiet moment of reflection.
39. Tasting Normandy Ciders and Calvados
Normandy is famous for its cider and apple brandy known as Calvados. Take a tour of a local cider farm or distillery in the countryside surrounding Rouen to learn about the production process and indulge in tastings of these regional specialties
40. Discover Rouen’s Street Cuisine
Explore the city’s street food scene and sample local specialties. From savory galettes and crepes to freshly baked pastries and Norman cheese, Rouen offers a wide range of delectable treats to satisfy your taste buds.
Places and Things To Do