A Guide to Rouens Arts and Architecture
Posted on March 01, 2013 by sguese
Founded on the Roman city of Rotomagus, Rouen has had a rough life. Devastated several times throughout history due to fires and plagues, Rouen was even the spot Joan of Arc faced charges for heresy and was burned at the stake. Fate wouldn’t be finished with Rouen. Bombing raids during World War II destroyed much of the city, but they would rebuild, restoring Rouen back to its former medieval greatness. Today, those who rent a car in Rouen will find the city is far from bruised and beaten, making it one of Normandy’s biggest draws.
It is hard to pass up Rouen’s cathedral while in town, considered one of the most stunning Gothic cathedrals in all of France. Claude Monet painted Cathédrale Notre Dame repeatedly. Built between 1201 and 1514 the cathedral adorns with a French Gothic façade. While damaged by World War II bombings and storms, much of the cathedral has been restored to its former glory. It also holds a bit of legend. Those who wanted to eat butter during Lent supposedly financed the 75m high Butter Tower on the Cathedral.
While the Cathédrale Notre Dame is the church standout in Rouen, Joan of Arc followers won’t want to pass up Église Jeanne d’Arc. With its fish-scale exterior, it was here Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. The church is also noted for its soaring modernist interior and its 16th century stained glass.
The Joan of Arc tour of Rouen continues to the Tour Jeanne d’Arc. The sole survivor of the eight towers that used to stand around
ers that used to stand around the 13th century chateau was constructed by Philippe Auge. Aside from being a survivor, the tower was the spot in which Joan of Arc was imprisoned just before her execution.
If you have had enough of Joan and her story, Rouen switches gears at the Musée des Beaux-Arts. The grand structure holds a collection of 15th to 20th century paintings. Here you can see works by Caravaggio, Rubens, Sisley, Renoir and Monet. It also contains a study of Rouen’s cathedral.
Rounding out the architectural and artistic tour of Rouen, stop by Rue du Gros Horloge. The street holds the impressive Gros Horloge, a Gothic belfry with one-handed medieval clocks on each side. The street was also where Joan roamed before being executed in 1431. The street is spanned by a 16th century gatehouse. From its soaring gothic cathedral to its elegant medieval quarter, you won’t need many reasons to make this your base for exploring northern Normandy.
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