Spotlight on Rouen

September 27, 2017

Home to a cornucopia of history and culture, from Julius Caesar’s reign, to the execution of Joan of Arc, Rouen is the city with something different on every corner. Now the capital of Normandy, steeples mark the skyline, serving as a concrete representation for the city’s religious past. To walk around is to lose yourself into the regions rich heritage as structures from every century for the last millennia exist around you.


Things to do

  • Topping most, if not every, list of things to do in Rouen is the exquisite Notre Dame. This complex cathedral greets the viewer with something different every time. Head inside for the tomb of Richard I’s embalmed heart.
  • The stunning ruins of Abbaye de Jumiegès are 40 minutes’ drive rom Rouen, in the depths of the Domaniale de Brotonne Forest. The imposing ivory abbey stands out beautifully against the green woodlands.
  • Take your time to appreciate Rouen’s clocks. The Gros Horloge (grand clock) is a marvellous gold timepiece that sits confidently on an arched building. Less known, is the Petite Horloge. This modest yet historical clock is hidden mysteriously down a narrow passageway.
  • Exuding antiquity, the Old Market Square offers colourful, timbered structures, many of which are now converted into chic bars, restaurants and cafés. In the centre is the Church of St Joan of Arc, built upon the area of her execution.
  • Rouen’s sunset emblazons the city’s skyline with pinks, reds and oranges. Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro captured its beauty in his 1898 painting, and Gustave Flaubert describes it in Madame Bovary as ‘pure heaven’. Make sure to catch it as it descends into the Seine.


Where to eat

  • Boulangerie Bastien, a modern yet authentic bakery, is just minutes from the serpentine Seine. Traditional breads and pastries, always freshly baked, make up the menu.
  • Dame Cakes, a tea room, offers a seasonal menu with homemade sweet and savoury options. The ornate rococo furniture adds an antique feel and the first floor boasts excellent views of the cathedral.
  • Sampling delicious French cuisine doesn’t have to put you out of pocket. Un Grain De provides you not only with views of the Old Market Square, but delicious Gallic gastronomy at an affordable price.
  • Pizzeria du Drugstore, an Italian eatery based in the vaulted cellar of a medieval timbered establishment, serves outstanding pizzas that are cooked in a traditional stone oven.


Where to drink

  • You’re spoiled for choice at La Boîte à Bières. Open until 2am and serving over 300 beers, what more could you ask for? They even have a cave filled with wine. It’s the stuff of dreams.
  • Also open late (6am on Fridays and Saturdays) is Le So, a lounge bar that reminds you Rouen is a university town. It has a lounge, club and restaurant, as well as hosting events throughout the year.
  • Le Malt D’Or, a rum and whiskey bar, has an extensive menu with informed staff that happily advise you on the liquor. The underground setting and inconspicuous exterior give it a speakeasy feel.


How to get there

Less than an hour from our Dieppe port, Rouen is easily accessible via our Newhaven to Dieppe route. Alternatively, hop on our Dover to Dunkirk or Calais ferry crossings and arrive in Rouen in little over 2 hours.

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