Hello! As you may know if you read me regularly, I was born and raised in Caen, in Lower Normandy. You may also know there always has been a little “war” with Rouen, which is in Upper-Normandy! But for me, these two cities are very different but equally full of charms. I must say that this one day trip in Rouen was really pleasant even if it’s quite short to fully enjoy it.
To make the visit easier for you, you’ll find the points of interest on the map here and I’ll give you some guidance below on what you can visit in Rouen on a one day trip only!
However, if you feel more comfortable having a guided tour of the city, please find below a few options. I do think guided tours organised by locals are a good way to learn more about the history of the city, and especially its everyday atmosphere. A great way to also meet locals and get some great tips! Although I’ve never tried these myself as I know Rouen quite well you can also find a few day trip options from Paris.
Rouen, in France, is very popular for Joan of Arc’s story and church
I arrived in Rouen around 10am and started wandering in the paved streets around the Palais de Justice. Then I went to the Place du Vieux Marché, where you’ll find the famous Joan of Arc church, and the superb Norman timbered houses full of colours.
For those who don’t know the story of Joan of Arc…well let’s just say that she was a bad a** you didn’t want to mess with!!! More seriously, she was fighting on behalf of the son of the dead French King Charles VI, whose throne had been stolen by the English. Normandy was governed by the King of England at that time and Joan of Arc was judged and burnt to death on May 30, 1431. She was only nineteen years old and had started her military campaign against them two years before. The execution happened in the Place du Vieux Marché, in Rouen and was watched by church officials and a large crowd of spectators.
As you can imagine, today the Place du Vieux Marché is very different. It’s a perfect place to have some rest and get the vibrant atmosphere of the city. Especially on a Sunday because of the flea market.
If you’d like to know more about Joan of Arc, you can visit the imaginative and interactive Historial Jeanne D’arc museum. It only costs a few euros and it’s quite popular so make sure you book it in advance!
Then I advise you to go to the Place de la Pucelle, which is only a few steps away. Please, enter the courtyard of the Hotel Bourgtheroulde because the building is simply worth the detour!
The must-see places: the Gros Horloge and the Cathedral
These two are definitely the must-see places when visiting Rouen on a day trip. I invite you to wander in the Rue du Gros Horloge, where the Gros Horloge is of course! Its superb dial is composed with a golden sun of 24 rays on a starry blue background. There are plenty other details: week days represented by Greek gods and goddesses, the different phases of the moon. Unfortunately I cannot tell you everything as I’m not a specialist. Yet!
In this street, full of shops (please be careful your credit card might get crazy), you’ll discover at the very end the Cathedral that you cannot and shouldn’t miss!
Even if one day trip in Rouen is short, make sure you discover its secret places
When you face the cathedral, turn left to head on the Rue Saint Romain, where you can discover Rouen’s earthenware in the pretty store called Faïence St Romain. Unfortunately it’s closed on Sundays, the day I visited the city.
A bit further, I advise you to walk in the Rue des Chanoines. You’ll find it thanks to a earthenware street sign. It’s one of the narrowest streets in Rouen and is quite unique!
Finally, you can continue the tour by walking to St Maclou’s church and wander in the neighbourhood. Near the church you’ll find a little path and if you take it you’ll arrive in a hidden square called l’Aître St Maclou. You can just sit and enjoy this peaceful place for hours.
Then if you keep going up the city a bit, you’ll arrive on Rue Eau de Robec. A stream simply runs along the pedestrian street there, and it’s so charming!
Hotels and restaurants in Rouen
I had lunch at La Place restaurant, which I recommend as it was a very good value for money. If you visit Rouen in the summer, I’m sure you’ll enjoy their terrace as much as I did! It is located on the Place du Vieux Marché, at the opposite of Joan of Arc church.
If you’re lucky to stay longer in Rouen and need an hotel, please find a selection below which I hope will help you make a decision:
- Le Vieux Carré: if I had to choose I would take this one! The hotel seems to be a great value for money and is simply superb with its old-fashioned decor and interior courtyard with flowers and trees;
- Hotel Les Inities: the modern hotel is located in the centre just in front of the Palais de Justice;
- Chambres d’Hôtes La Maison: this B&B is in a much quieter area of Rouen, 20 minutes walk from the Cathedral but I’m sure you’ll like its beautiful garden in spring or summer;
- Hôtel De La Cathédrale: this gorgeous hotel has a timber-framed façade dating from the 17th century and is located right next to the Cathedral;
- BEST WESTERN Hôtel Littéraire Gustave Flaubert: a classic but it always does the job;
- Hotel de Bourgtheroulde: an splendid 5-star hotel, built at the beginning of the XVI, with a splendid decor and a spa;
- Ermitage bouquet or Fiquet de Normanville: if you’d rather have an apartment for your self, they both looks ideal for a couple;
Places to visit nearby if you're staying one day in Rouen but longer in Normandy
Depending on what you fancy, there are many places nearby that you can visit.
You want to discover amazing landscape, then Etretat is definitely one of the must-see places in Normandy, and the good news is, you can as well enjoy is for a day trip!
If you'd like to learn more about impressionism, especially the famous Claude Monet, Giverny is a unique place you need to visit!
And you, have you already visited Rouen? If so, please tell me your best memories! And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask as well!
Boujou (the Norman way to say XOXO)
|Parking: free on Sundays
La Place restaurant: €€
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