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  Visiting Rouen and its famous Notre Dame Cathedral  

Art enthusiasts and architecture students in Paris might want to make a day trip to Rouen to see the Gothic-structured Cathédrale Notre Dame de Rouen. After all it takes only one hour and 10 minutes by train from the Saint Lazare railway station so it is ideal for a day trip. The man who did the most to give Rouen its worldwide reputation is undoubtedly Claude Monet, the founder of French impressionist painting. A tourist guide from Rouen's Tourism Office said that Monet's influence is such that when a group of Japanese tourists visited Rouen they did not ask him for the Cathedral by its name but referred to it as "Monet's cathedral"!

Click on photo for a bigger version.
The façade of the Gothic cathedral which so inspired Monet.
The façade of the Gothic cathedral which so inspired Monet.
Stained glass window in the Rouen Cathedral
When inside look up to admire the stained glass windows.

Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen as seen by Claude Monet at different times of the day and year
Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen as seen by Claude Monet at different times of the day
Monet rented spaces from three different spots across the street from the cathedral in order to carry out these paintings. The six canvases above are only part of some 30 such paintings that Monet did of the façade of the cathedral.

The hall of the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Rouen
The deep hall of the cathedral takes one's breath away as one enters the sacred edifice.
Rows of statues of saints in the Rouen Cathedral
Statues of saints in the Cathedral. On the extreme right is Saint Romain (died c. 640) who was a bishop of Rouen.

Gros Horloge (the astronomical clock) in Rouen
Rouen's famous Gros Horloge (astronomical clock)
The starting point of your visit to Rouen is undoubtedly the Cathedral Square (Place de la Cathédrale). As its name implies this is where the famous Cathedral is. It is also here that you will find the Rouen Tourism Office from where you can get a free city map and information on what to see and where to go in Rouen. After visiting the Tourism Office and the Cathedral here you can walk down Rue du Gros Horloge to admire the astronomical clock (picture on left). In fact this is the second most important monument to visit in Rouen after the Cathedral. Go up to the top for a panoramic view of the city. If you keep on walking along this short street to the end you will see the equally touristic Old Market Square (Place du Vieux Marché) on your right. Its unusual structure stands out conspicuously in the square (see photo below left).
Rouen is a city steeped in history. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake here on 30 May 1431 for heresy when she was only 19 years old. The execution was held in the Old Market Place. Rouen was then under English rule.
Go here for a full account of its history from Wikipedia.

The Church of Saint Joan of Arc is at Rouen's Old Market Place
The Church of Saint Joan of Arc is at Rouen's Old Market Place
Half-timbered houses so typical of Rouen
Half-timbered houses in a street near the Cathedral Square.
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