Rouen. Capital of Normandy
A fast one hour and 20 minute train ride from Paris will put you in the historic capital of Normandy.
Rouen has history, as well as World War II history. Jeanne D’Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen as a 19 year old fighter. Julia Child had her first French meal in Rouen which lead her to write her famous French cookbooks and guess what? I had to have lunch at that restaurant! and it was good. It's now a tourist attraction but the food and service is excellent, don't forget, you must make reservations. The city is also famous for escargots and I found the best bistro for them too!
The Fine Arts Museum is magnificent, large well lighted rooms with fantastic hangings. Mostly ancient art but some impressionists. Monet painted 30 paintings of the Cathedral between 1892 - 1894 and there's one in the museum, but the rest are in well know museums all over the world. The walls of the museum are wine color and painting all hug at eye level and have an excellent over head lighting. It is also very large.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is the highlight of Rouen. It has the highest spire in France - to be exact - 151 meters high. It was concerted in 1063, It's Gothic. The Lantern Tower built in 1876 is 500 feet high and hold 56 bells. This tower was bombed and burned during the war and the bells melted during the Second World War, 7 bombs fell on the cathedral, only one did not explode. They were dropped by the British April 1944 and then in June 1944 the US bombed the town and Two of the big Rose windows were lost during the war. The renovation of the church is on going, It is truly a magnificent structure. A Highlight of Rouen is the light show on the front of the Cathedral. It takes place every night during the summer months until September 22.
Rouen is an easy day trip from Paris.
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