This was as far west as the Viking River Cruise travelled during our "Paris & the Heart of Normandy" cruise. Our goal here was a day trip to the WW2 Gold & Omaha Invasion Beaches, as well as some free time in the city, which we put to good use!
One of the things that Rouen is perhaps most famous for, is being the city in which Joan of Arc was executed (in 1431 during the 100 years war). For those of you not familiar with Joan's demise, she was captured by a French unit loyal to the English Army, and sold to the English. The English brought Joan to trial as a heretic, because she claimed to speak to God and she wore pants (considered by the Catholic church to be heretical).
Although Joan initially confessed, and was sentenced to life imprisonment, she recanted her
confession three days later, and the English then promptly had her burned at the stake. England
had lost Normandy to King Phillip II in 1204, and the 100 years war was all about England wanting
to recapture parts of France (if not all of it).
For a much more complete story of Joan, click here to go to the Wikipedia Site.
Joan of Arc Execution Site
The site shown in this picture, is the actual site (the sign marks the spot) where Joan of Arc
was burned at the stake. In fact, the entire area is a memorial to Joan, who is now considered a
It was odd to think that such a thing could have been done to a true French patriot, as well as a woman. But the English were eager to remove Joan from the war with the French, and the French King was convinced that he should not ransom Joan, so her doom was concluded at this very spot.
If you are interested in the Joan of Arc story, click here for the short version in Wiki.
NOTE: The building on the right of this image is the Catholic Church of St Joan of Arc.
Rouen Pedestrian Zone
Here we are walking up the Rue du Gros Horloge (one of the many scenic streets in Rouen), you can
also easily discern that
this is a "pedestrian only" street, and it is equipped with a number of sidewalk cafes.
Rouen is a very walkable city, and on a nice day (like we had) we easily covered the entire downtown pedestrian area in a matter of hours.
Rouen Cathedral (rear view)
This is the back of the Rouen Cathedral (left) and Archbishop's Palace on the right.
NOTE: This image is the property of Giogo via Wikipedia.
Rouen Cathedral Interior
This picture gives you a wee bit of an idea how large the Rouen Cathedral interior was, and how
similar it is to Notre Dame de Paris.
This Rouen cathedral is substantially newer than Notre Dame, as it was opened in 1876. In comparison, Notre Dame de Paris construction was started in 1176 and it opened in 1345.
Le Gros Horloge
This clock is set in a Renaissance street-arch, a beautifully decorated astronomical clock. Known as
Le Gros Horloge, the mechanism was made in 1389, making it one of the oldest, working clocks in Europe.
The clock’s movement was made in 1389, and installed in the adjacent belfry that was constructed at the same time. The bells in the belfry were the first set of municipal bells in Rouen. At this time there was no dial to the clock. With the construction of the arch between 1527 and 1529, the clock was moved to the arch and attached to two identical dials – one on each side of the arch. Each dial is about two and a half meters in diameter.
Dinner in Rouen
Celeste and I decided that for our last night in Rouen, that we had to go ashore and find ourselves a
sidewalk restaurant that served mussels, french fries & beer.
We found Le Rocher on Yelp, and when the concierge on the Viking Spirit confirmed that she knew of it as well, we decided to hike over there and give it a try.
To say that it was good does not really do it justice, it was excellent, we had a great sidewalk table, it was a beautiful evening and we enjoyed having a romantic dinner together! Not sure what the name of the beer was, but it was bière ala pression (beer on tap) and it was the perfect complement to our meal.
POST EDIT: In an absolutely amazing coincidence, we found that the people that owned the Le Rocher Restaurant had relocated to Nice, France and we wound up eating dinner there on a subsequent trip to France. You will find images and a description of that visit on our Nice, France page.
- The Viking Paris & the Heart of Normandy Overview & Guide Our Viking River Cruise from Paris to Rouen, with various ports of call, click here to read more.
- Day One in Paris The first day in Paris was a bus tour to some of the world famous locations, click here to read more.
- Vernon, France The town of Vernon is home to the famous artist Monet, click here to read more.
- Day Four on the River The shoreline along the Seine is beautiful, and we passed the Viking Neptune returning to Paris, click here to read more.
- Rouen, France Since the Viking Spirit arrived in Rouen at mid-day, we had free time the remainder of the day to explore. Very walkable and historic and we had a fantastic dinner there. click here to read more.
- Tour of the WW2 Invasion Beaches This day trip tour was very interesting to me, and if you are a history buff, this tour would be in your wheel-house, click here to read more.
- Les Andelys, France Quaint little village with a historic castle high above the village and the Seine River. click here to read more.
- Versailles, France The Palace of Versailles is a beautiful and historical site, and we enjoyed the tour. Click here to read more.
- Paris, France The Viking Spirit arrived back in Paris at 7PM, so we headed off to have a nice dinner ashore and show my in-laws some additional Paris sites, click here to read more.
- Our Thoughts on Viking River Cruises Our perspective on Viking River Cruises, plus a few pros & cons to consider. Click here to read more.
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Note: All images on this page are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC unless otherwise noted.