Continuing our excursion through Normandy by train to Rouen. This is the capital of Normandy one of the most important cities in the country and certainly one of the most historic a rich history that goes back four 2000 years, starting with the Romans.
You will see a lot of half-timbered buildings, probably the largest collection of half-timbered medieval buildings in all of France, and it's easy to explore on foot. The train station is right at the edge of this old town, so you simply start walking and you go through block after block of these picturesque buildings, snapping away. While the pictures all tend to look alike after little while, you will really enjoy the sights.
The most famous historical event that happened here was the burning of Joan of Arc at the stake, and a modern memorial commemorates the spot, with the modern church built in the 1970s. Rouen was involved in the ongoing wars between England and France. This territory went back and forth from English hands to French hands and in the mid-15th century England conquered the area between 1419 and 1449, and Joan was taken prisoner and executed.
While the center of town is a really charming spot to be walking around, we will show you some of the historic landmarks such as the City Hall. But the main charm is simply walking these pleasant pedestrian streets and doing some window shopping or perhaps some real shopping, with a lot of modern shops in the façades of these ancient buildings
There are block after block after block that are just for pedestrians and always lined with the incredible historic buildings. There has been a lot of destruction in Rouen over the centuries, most recently in World War II when quite a bit of the city near the riverfront was damaged but it's been rebuilt.
The Cathedral, is very intact, in a precinc that has a wide modern pedestrian shopping mall which leads you right to that wonderful Gothic Cathedral, first built in the 12th century. Famous as a subject of the great painter, Monet, who created 30 paintings of the Cathedral's Gothic façade.
It's a charming city with street entertainment, many historic attractions, several museums and during the winter there's an ice-skating rink out in front of the Cathedral, one of the main squares of town. You can visit the tourist information office righte on the main square and pick up some free brochures. They've got a very nice walking tour guide brochure map that's all free and follow the routings.
You will surely go down the street of the big clock. This is one of the famous landmarks and the main street in front of the Cathedral will lead you right down to it. The big clock is the most recognizable landmark in Rouen. It goes back to the 14th century was moved from the nearby tower to its present location in 1527 when the arch was specially constructed for it.
After a brief visit, we're on our way back to the train station as we continue our journey through Normandy by train