Rouen is the capital of the French region of Upper Normandy on the River Seine, 135 km (approximately 90 minutes drive) northwest from the centre of Paris. The city has a population of 110,000 and its metropolitan area includes some 520,000 inhabitants. It is where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake, but the main reason for visiting is its incredible cathedral that inspired Monet to paint over 30 canvases. Rouen was the home of the author, Gustave Flaubert.
Rouen was for a long time France's second city, after Paris, which explains the richness of the town's artistic heritage. It has hosted many famous French writers, including Victor Hugo, Guy Maupassant, and Gustave Flaubert, among others. Today, it deserves a visit for its monuments, Gothic art being particularly well represented, but also for the charm of its alleyways and the many half-timbered houses there are.
The town is on the right bank of the River Seine, but today, includes the left bank (the Saint-Sever area in particular, on the south of the river), and the Île Lacroix.
- From Paris, Rouen is approximately an hour and a half's drive (135 km) north-west from the centre of the French capital, the fastest route including the A13 motorway (note: this a toll road). An alternative route would include the N14 slightly further to the north.
- From the Channel port city of Dieppe, Rouen is approximately an hour's drive (66 km) south along the N27.
- From the French end of the Eurotunnel, Rouen is approximately a 2-hour drive (208 km) using the E402.
- From other major centres in Normandy, Rouen is respectively 90 km (1 hr 10 min) from Le Havre, 128 km (1 hr 25 min) from Caen, 156 km (1 hr 45 min) from Bayeux and 249 km (2 hr 45 min) from Cherbourg.
- 1 Gare de Rouen Rive Droite, Place Bernard Tissot. Several trains depart from the St Lazare Station in Paris for Rouen on a daily basis. Tickets cost around €21 and can be purchased at the station immediately beforehand. Travel time is about 1hr 15min. For schedules, visit SNCF travel.
- The train posting in Paris St-Lazare can be confusing to the first time traveler. The train platform number (la voie) is not posted unil 15–20 minutes before the departure, so do not panic if you arrive earlier than that. Look for the train heading to Le Havre or Dieppe which will be leaving from the platforms to the right as you enter the concourse. Do not forget to punch (composter) your ticket in one of the yellow machines before boarding. This will validate your ticket.
Ouibus has buses from Rouen to Paris and Beauvais for around €5–10 one way. Eurolines also operates buses to Paris and Le Havre for around €5–12 and €7 respectively. From Paris, connections can be made with buses throughout France and Europe.
The tickets of all those companies can be purchased on Sobus.
Ferries from the UK go to the French ports of Dieppe and Le Havre, from where trains can be caught to Rouen. For foot-passengers, the train and ferry journey from London via Newhaven and Dieppe is one of the most pleasant and restful ways of getting to Rouen.
The city center is compact and all sights can easily be seen by foot, however, there is public transport throughout the town.
The Métro du Rouen is a tramway operating in Rouen, running north to south from Boulingrin in the north to Saint-Sever, where it branches off into two lines - one to Technopôle and one to Georges Braque.
There is also a "bus rapid transit" system, which is very similar to a normal bus system, in Rouen, called the Transport est-ouest rouennais (TEOR). This system has three lines in the town, T1, T2 and T3, all of which run on the north of the river.
A normal bus system also exists with 29 lines operating throughout the town.
Tickets for public transport can be bought from many places, including the Gare-Rue Verte tram station on Place Bernard-Tissot, the Théâtre des Arts tram station on rue Jeanne d'Arc, from conductors on buses (not on TEOR) and from automatic ticket machines at metro and TEOR stations. Tickets can also be bought by text, costing €1.60 and are valid for one hour.
- Velo-R north of the Seine on Avenue Jeanne D' Arc (near the metro station) rents bikes for €1-2 per day. The city also has an official bicycle rental scheme where you can rent a bike at one location and drop it off at another.
- A scooter shop on Avenue De Bretagne no. 18 rents scooters but they need to be reserved ahead of time. There is also an Avis in town.
- 1 Rouen Cathedral (la cathédrale de Rouen), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A stunning building that dates back to the 4th century and is a wonderful mixture of various architectural styles since then. A new spire built in the 19th century meant that it briefly qualified as the tallest building in the world. The façade of the cathedral was famously painted by Claude Monet at various times during the day - like his Haystacks series of paintings - capturing the subject in a variety of lights. In the summer after dark the city puts on a light show projecting some of Monet's cathedral paintings onto the façade of the cathedral itself, each showing lasts approximately 10 minutes and runs until about midnight. €2 for a guided tour.
- La Vieille Ville. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in the center of la vieille ville. A simple field of wildflowers marks the spot of her martyrdom. Next to it is the modern Eglise de Jeanne d'Arc.
- 2 La Gros-Horloge (The Great Clock) (in the middle of the rue du Gros Horloge). The mechanism of the clock is one of the oldest in France. Climb to the top for a beautiful view of the city.
- 3 Birthplace of writer Gustave Flaubert, 1, rue Lecat (off Boulevard des Belges and not far from place Cauchoise). Best known for his scandalous novel Madame Bovary, has been converted into a museum of his life and of 19th-century medicine (his father and brother were doctors)
- 4 Birthplace of playwright Pierre Corneille, 4, rue de la Pie (a moment's walk from Vieux Marche), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sa: 9AM-Noon, 1:30PM-5:30PM; Su: 2PM-6PM. The birthplace of the French playwright, who is best known for his tragicomedy Le Cid from the mid-17th century.
- 5 Abbatiale St-Ouen (next to the Hotel de Ville at the end of Rue de la Republique). The magnificent Gothic architecture is not to be missed in this abbey built in 1318.
- 6 Historial Jeanne d'Arc, 7, Rue Saint romain, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Museum and audio visual presentation of Joan of Arc, sells itself as "not like a traditional museum". €9.50, €6.50 reduced.
- 7 Panorama XXL, Quai de Boisguilbert, ☏ . A panorama - a 360° painting - 100 m long and 35 m high, showing art in a different way to a normal gallery. €9.50, €6.50 reduced.
- 8 Musée des Beaux-Arts, Esplanade Marcel-Duchamp, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-18:00. It was founded in 1801 by Napoleon, and has paintings by Monet, Caravaggio, Robert Antoine Pinchon and others. Permanent collections are free.
- 9 Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, rue Jacques Villon, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A museum about ironwork, which was founded in 1920, in a church from the 11th century. Free entry, €4 for temporary exhibitions.
- 10 Jardin des Plantes, 7, rue de Trianon, ☏ . Nov-Feb: 08:00-17:15; Mar-Apr, Sep-Oct: 08:00-18:30; May-Aug: 08:00-20:00. These botanical gardens were created in 1691, and opened to the public in 1741. They have greenhouses, statues and around 600 species of plant.
- 11 Musée du Patrimoine des Ecoles, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M 14:30-17:00. A museum dedicated to the local area's old school from the 1950s-1960s. Group visits can be arranged
- 12 Pont Gustave-Flaubert. A €60-million lift bridge, opened in 2008, named after French novelist Gustave Flaubert. It is the third tallest building in the town.
- L'atrium, 115 Boulevard de l'Europe, 76100 Rouen, ☏ . 2PM-6PM. Closed on Mondays. Museum on aviation, space flight and related professions. Regular sessions and demonstrations. 6€.
- 13 Musée Maritime Fluvial et Portuaire, Hangar 13, Quai Emile Duchemin, ☏ . Local museum highlighting the maritime history of the town. Children will likely enjoy the real boats just outside the museum which you can go on and explore.
- Rouen has many biking trails and forests nearby. There is a trail on the north side of the Seine to the Foret Roumare. La Véloroute du Val de Seine is a cycling route following the Seine starting at Elbeuf just south of Rouen, and ending at Le Havre.
- Get a boat trip along the Seine, some companies offering cruises include Escapade en Seine and Normandie Croisières.
- 1 Centre Sportif Guy Boissière, Allée du Docteur Duchêne, ☏ . Swimming pools, swimming lessons - including an Olympic sized swimming pool. There's also two ice rinks here. For the reduced price, bring along ID proving you're entitled to a reduction in price, or proof you've lived in Rouen for at least a year. Pool: €5.20, €3.80 reduced or Rouen resident. Ice rink: €6.30, €4.90 reduced or Rouen resident.
- 2 Omnia (Cinéma Omnia République), 28 rue de la République, ☏ . Cinema near the Île Lacroix. €4-8.50.
- 3 Théâtre des Arts, 7 rue du Docteur-Rambert, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The Rouen Opera House, home of the Rouen Philharmonic Orchestra.
- 4 Théâtre des Deux Rives, 48 rue Louis Ricard, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A theatre founded in 1985, with a capacity of 208.
- Market on Saturdays and Sundays at Place Saint Marc. Fresh produce, flowers and bria a brac/ antiques. Well worth a visit. Closes early on Sunday, approx at 13:00.
- Fruits, vegetables, cheeses and meats can be bought at the Vieux Marche. A larger selection, as well as used clothing, furniture, and knick-knacks can be found at the Place de Saint Marc.
- 1 Marché des saveurs, Allée Eugène Boudin. 09:00-18:00, second and fourth Saturday of the month. Sells foods of all types, cakes, meat, cheese, etc.
- 2 Marché à la brocante, Allée Eugène Boudin. 09:00-18:00, first and third Saturday of the month. Flea market.
- 3 Marché de la Calende, Place de la Calende. Tu F 08:00-18:00. Market selling all sorts of food.
- 4 Marché de l'Ile Lacroix, Avenue Jacques Chastellain. W 08:00-12:30; Sa (vegetables) 08:00-12:30.
- 5 Marché des Emmurées, Cours Clémenceau. Tu Sa 06:30-18:00; Th 07:00-18:00. Covered market, selling food and flowers. Flea market on Thursday.
- 6 Centre Saint Sever, Avenue de Bretagne, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-20:00. Shopping centre opened in 1978, with many shops in, including international chains like Foot Locker and H&M.
- 7 Les Docks 76, Boulevard Ferdinand de Lesseps, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10:00-20:00. Even more shops, including international brands like Hollister, H&M and Toys R Us.
Most of the tourist restaurants are located near the Eglise Sainte Jenne D'Arc. They are likely to be open Sunday when most other restaurants are closed. There are also shops, markets, and patisseries in that square and scattered throughout Rouen to purchase food. Many are open Sunday as well.
- L'Orangerie, 2 Rue Thomas Corneille 76000 Rouen. Typical French cuisine. Nice setting on busy weekends.
- Boulangerie Levasseur 'Le fournil d’Isabelle, 88 rue de la république, ☏ . This is one of the best bakeries in Rouen. They have a great croissant, and they do a range of flavoured breads and reasonably priced desserts.
- 1 Juste un Délice, 18 Rue Petit de Julleville, ☏ . Tu-F 11:00-18:00; Sa 11:00-18:00. A good value restaurant with tasty food, close to the Cathedral.
- 2 La Cantine, 192 Rue Eau de Robec, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Vegetarian restaurant on a pedestrian street.
- Le p'tit Paul, 5 place de la Cathedrale (southern part of the cathedral square). Same management as the Brasserie Paul just a few doors away, this offers lighter meals. The Quiche Lorraine is not to be missed.
- 3 Tarte Tatin, 99, rue de la Vicomté, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 12:00-22:30. Crêpe restaurant.
- 4 La Petite Auberge, 164 rue de Martainville, ☏ . Tu 12:00-13:30; W-Su 12:00-13:30, 19:15-22:00. Traditional French restaurant, specialising in snails (escargots).
- 5 La Pêcherie, 29 Place de la Basse, ☏ . Tu-Sa 12:00-14:30, 19:30-22:30. A seafood restaurant near the river and the Île Lacroix. 3-course set meal "Carte La Pêcherie": €45.50.
- 6 Gill, 8 and 9 quai de la Bourse, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 12:00-13:45; 19:30-21:45. Michelin two-starr restaurant on the banks of the Seine.
- 7 Le Sixième sens, 2 Rue Thomas Corneille, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Fancy restaurant near the Église Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc.
- 8 La Couronne, 31, place du Vieux Marché, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Classic French cuisine in a building from the 14th century.
- Alive Hotel de Quebec, 18-24, rue de Québec, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A clean, comfortable and friendly city centre hotel. It is modestly priced, despite being a few minutes walk from the river and cathedral. This hotel also has arrangements with several local restaurants and can organise "Soirées D'Etape", which include a room, breakfast and evening meal at a restaurant (the hotel has no restaurant of its own).
- Hotel Le Morand, 1 rue Morand (midway between the station and the cathedral), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. Quiet hotel. Delightful breakfast served in oak-beamed dining room. €50-60.
- Ferme du Coquetot B&B, 46 rue du Coq, Bourg-Beaudouin. Ferme du Coquetot is a B&B set on a farm 15 minutes from Rouen. The owners may invite you to see the milking and learn about the farm. Fresh farm products are available for dinner (table d'hotes on booking, €16 per person) or for breakfast.
- 1 Hôtel Kyriad Rouen Centre, 14 quai Gaston Boulet, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel overlooking the Seine, not far from the Panorama XXL.
- 2 Ermitage Bouquet Hotel - Rouen, France, 58 rue Bouquet, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. Offers 10 rooms and 3 suites (some with fireplace), furnished in Charles X style with modern facilities (hydro shower or whirlpool bath, Wifi, air conditioning, electric shutters, etc.) The staff are very helpful. €95-160.
- 3 [dead link] Château du Bosc Theroulde, Route du Bosc Theroulde - 76710 Bosc Theroulde, ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. B&B 13 km from the city center,within easy access from the A-28-A29-A151 motorways, this is an elegant Napoleon III style building in a fully secured walled park of 4 ha. €80. .
- 4 Hotel Bonaparte, 3, Rue Jean Lecanuet (close to the Hotel de Ville), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Comfortable, clean and friendly. parking in underground car park. Very close to town centre, Cathedral, restaurants shops. €74.50 for a double room.
- 5 Hôtel de la Cathédrale, 12, rue St Romain, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A hotel in a 17th-century building next to the cathedral. €95 for two people with a shower.
- See also: European Health Insurance Card
CHU de Rouen has five hospitals in the Rouen area.
- Dieppe, a lovely seaside resort, 45 minutes away.
The whole Norman countryside, coast, and the Seine valley are spectacular with beautiful peaceful green pastures and forests, white cliffs, and including such famous sites as the cliff-arches of Etretat.
- An ideal half-day trip would include Les Andelys, a picturesque village with an impressive castle just south of Rouen
- Next stop could be the little 17th-century harbor of Honfleur, 90 km (56 mi) west
- Le Havre and its modern architecture which belongs to the prestigious Unesco World Heritage List (regular trains running from Rouen)Visit Le Havre page on the site to get a better view of western Normandy
- From Rouen station you can reach Bayeux and its impressive tapestry. It is a two-hour train ride and is only 30 minutes from the D-Day beaches. Additionally, busy Lille, chock full of museums and an enormous flea market in early September, lies to the North; about two hours on the train, €30 each way.
- Vernon and Monet's home at Giverny are about 40 minutes away on the train (direction of Paris, less than €20.