Description of Rouen

Rouen is a town in northwestern France crossed by the Seine. Prefecture of the Seine-Maritime department, it is the capital of the Normandy region.

With 114,187 intramural inhabitants, the city is the thirty-fifth most populated municipality in France and the second in Normandy after Le Havre. It nevertheless remains the administrative capital (prefecture) of the Normandy region while the political capital is Caen (seat of the regional council). In 2018, its agglomeration had 498,822 inhabitants. It is the most densely populated commune in the French Grand-Ouest with 5,254 inhabitants/km2. In 2012, with 658,285 inhabitants, its urban area was the first in the Normandy region, the twelfth in France and the second in the Paris Basin after that of Paris. Its employment zone, the first in the regional territory, included 829,210 inhabitants in 2012. Consequently, the city is an important national economic center.

Rouen is the seat of the Rouen Normandie Metropolis, which is, with 497,180 inhabitants in 2020, the sixth largest intermunicipality in France and the second in the French West, after Nantes Métropole. It also hosts the Rouen Seine-Eure Metropolitan Pole.

The very rich history of this Norman city testifies to its political and economic dimension. Between 911 and 1204, it was the capital of the Duchy of Normandy. The Exchequer then the Parliament of Normandy are successively installed there. From the 13th century, the city experienced a remarkable economic boom thanks to the development of textile factories. Claimed by both the French and the English during the Hundred Years' War, it was on its soil that Joan of Arc was imprisoned, judged and then burned alive in 1431. Very damaged by the Red Week of 1944, it was regained its economic dynamism during the post-war period thanks to its industrial sites and its large seaport, which is today the fifth largest seaport in France.

Endowed with a prestige inherited mainly from the medieval era and a heritage made up of numerous historical monuments, Rouen is a recognized cultural capital with several museums enjoying a certain reputation. Famous are its half-timbered houses. The large number of religious buildings found there earned it the nickname of “City of a Hundred Bell Towers”. Notre-Dame Cathedral, well known beyond the region, is one of the tallest in the world. Labeled city of art and history in 2002, it is a candidate for the title of European capital of culture for 2028.

Seat of an archdiocese and of the primacy of Normandy, it also hosts a court of appeal and a university. Every four to six years, its Armada makes it the capital of the maritime world.

After the Second World War, Rouen was one of the few towns decorated with the Legion of Honor and the 1939-1945 War Cross.


Travel Destinations in Rouen

Rouen is represented with two flowers in the Conseil national des villes et villages fleuris (National Council of Flowered Towns and Villages). The "flowers" are awarded in the course of a regional competition, with a maximum of four flowers being awarded.

Since 2003, Rouen has been named Ville amie des enfants (Child-Friendly City) by UNICEF France. The city also bears the official title of "French City of Art and History".

In Rouen there are 10 libraries, 8 art schools, 26 theaters, 11 museums and 7 socio-cultural centers.

Rouen is known for its duck Rouen style, which is served with the rouennaise sauce. The ideal starting product is the large duck breed Rouener Duck (Canard rouennais) with a slaughter weight of 2.5 to 3 kg.



In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Rouen, with around 40,000 inhabitants, was a large city by European standards, from which numerous important ecclesiastical and profane buildings have survived. A city wall enclosed a large area; it has largely disappeared, but can still be read from the course of the ring-shaped streets. Since the 19th century, these buildings in the old town of Vieux Rouen have been increasingly discovered as works of art and captured in numerous pictures. Victor Hugo called the city the city of a hundred steeples. However, in the 19th century, various boulevards were carved through the irregular network of medieval lanes as new, broad, straight street axes. Other buildings were damaged or destroyed by bombing during World War II, especially in the area between the cathedral and the Seine, where new post-war buildings dominate the cityscape. Nevertheless, around two thousand half-timbered houses from the late Middle Ages have survived.


Religious buildings

The Gothic Cathedral of Rouen was begun around 1180 in the west to replace an older structure. Around 1235/1237 the building with the choir in the east was completed. From about 1280 the transept facades were renewed. The west facade was created from the 1370s and was completed around 1450. The building inspired Claude Monet to the famous picture cycle of the same name.
The Saint-Ouen church is a Gothic-style former abbey church, begun in 1318, 130 meters long. It houses one of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll's largest organs, inaugurated on April 17, 1890 by Charles-Marie Widor.
The Saint-Maclou church was rebuilt from 1436 on the site of an older church in Flamboyant Gothic (late Gothic) style. The church consecration took place in 1521. The sacristy was built in 1535. The interior of the chancel was redesigned from 1775 to 1782. From 1868 to 1871 the church tower was restored. The choir was severely damaged in World War II and rebuilt true to form. The church was classified as a monument historique in 1840 and thus placed under monument protection.
The late Gothic Reformed Church of St-Éloi.


Secular buildings

As a donjon, the Tower of Joan of Arc is one of the last remains of the castle built around 1200. Here Joan of Arc was interrogated by the judges in 1431. In the 19th century the tower received its upper end with the wooden battlements.
The Great Clock Tower (French: Le Gros Horloge), a large 14th-century astronomical clock, is a popular attraction right downtown.
The Hôtel du Bourgtheroulde was built in 1486-1531 as ornate Renaissance architecture and has housed a luxury hotel since 2010
The plague ossuary L'aître Saint-Maclou: the ossuary built in 1348 is enclosed by wooden galleries (around 1530) decorated with carvings of scenes of the Dance of Death. The buildings now house art studios.
Le Palais de Justice: The Palais de Justice, built by R. Leroux from 1509, is the largest non-sacred Gothic building in Europe. The oldest Jewish building in France was discovered under the courtyard (around 1100).
Joan of Arc was burned at the Place du Vieux-Marché on May 30, 1431. The church of Ste-Jeanne-d'Arc has stood on the square since 1979, which also accommodated the stained-glass windows of the 16th-century church of St-Vincent, which was destroyed in 1944.
A boxed spring from the 2nd to 3rd centuries was discovered on the Place de la Pucelle during the construction of a car park. A reconstruction of this source can be seen in the entrance hall of the EDF building.



Le Secq des Tournelles: the Le Secq des Tournelles museum houses a unique collection of forgings (tools and locks)
Musée des Beaux-Arts: Paintings from the 15th to the 20th century (including Caravaggio, Velázquez, Géricault, Delacroix, Dufy, Boudin and Monet)
Musée de la Céramique: Ceramics museum in the Hotel d'Hocqueville
Musée maritime fluvial et portuaire: Museum of the history of the port of Rouen and seafaring
Panorama XXL: Since December 20, 2014, the monumental circular paintings by the artist Yadegar Asisi have been on display in a specially built rotunda on the right bank of the Seine.
The Historial Jeanne d'Arc opened its doors in 2015 in the Bishop's Palace of Rouen, where the French national heroine Joan of Arc was sentenced and rehabilitated. The life of Johanna and the rehabilitation process are presented using scenic video installations.
The Musée Flaubert et d'histoire de la médecine (Museum Flaubert and the history of medicine) is housed in the house where Gustav Flaubert was born in the old hospital (Hôtel Dieu). On the one hand, it exhibits furniture and everyday objects from Flaubert's environment and, on the other hand, medical devices and everyday objects from this period (Flaubert's father was the head of the hospital). Among other things, Loulou, Flaubert's parrot, can be seen. The exhibition is completed with texts by and about Flaubert.
From September 2019 to September 2021, the exhibition La Forêt Monumentale took place north of Rouen, for which 14 artists created monumental works along a 4 km long forest path.


Sports facilities:

6 stadiums, including the Stade Robert-Diochon, which, however, is in the territory of the neighboring municipality of Le Petit-Quevilly.
15 sports halls, including the Kindarena, which opened in 2012.
4 swimming pools
1 ice rink

Number of active athletes: 20,000 (status???)
FC Rouen, founded in 1896, is one of the oldest and best-known sports clubs in the city.

The Dragons de Rouen are the local ice hockey club. Although France is a football country, the ice hockey club, which plays in the French top division, is very popular in Rouen.

Every year in early May, the 24 heures motonautiques (24-hour race) take place in Rouen as an international event. It is the world's only motorboat race of this length.

On July 22, 1894, Rouen was the destination of the world's first automobile race, the Paris–Rouen race. From 1950 to 1993, one of the most important motorsport racetracks in France existed in the immediate vicinity of the city with the semi-permanent Rouen-les-Essarts circuit.

In 2012, Rouen was the destination of the 4th stage of the Tour de France 2012 and before that 19 times the start, finish and stage of the cycle race.


Regular events

The Festival du cinéma nordique (Nordic Film Festival) was held in March every year from 1988 to 2010. Mainly feature films from the Nordic and Baltic countries were shown.
The Armada Rouen or simply Armada is an event for tall ships and other ships. It takes place every four to five years on the Seine and lasts about ten days.


Get in

By plane
The nearest international airports are the two Paris airports Charles de Gaulle and Orly (140 and 145 km south-east respectively) and Beauvais (85 km east). There are numerous direct connections to the first two from German-speaking countries, the latter is used by low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, but there are currently no direct flights from D/A/CH. Rouen can be reached by car from Orly Airport in smooth traffic in 1 hour 40 minutes, from CDG in just under two hours; by train from CDG in a good two to two and a half hours, from Orly in two and a half to three hours (each with two changes).

About 90 km west of Rouen is the small airport of Deauville, to which there are only a few scheduled flights.

By train
From the Saint-Lazare train station in Paris, ICs run every two hours directly to Rouen, they take about 1:10 hours. ICs also run every two hours (staggered) with several intermediate stops to Rouen, which take almost 1½ hours. The ticket costs €24. During rush hours every hour, otherwise every two hours, the IC runs between Le Havre and Rouen, the journey takes one hour. Regional Express trains (TER) run from Dieppe to Rouen approximately every hour, they take between 45 minutes and a good hour. TER services run seven times a day between Caen and Rouen, taking around 1h45, supplemented by regional buses which take around the same time. TER runs four times a day between Amiens and Rouen, the journey time is around 1 hour 15 minutes.

Connections from German-speaking countries usually go via Paris, whereby the station has to be changed (from Gare du Nord or d'Est to Gare Saint-Lazare). The fastest connection from Cologne to Rouen, for example, takes 5:15 hours and from Frankfurt am Main six hours.

By bus
Ouibus, the SNCF bus service, runs several times a day from Paris-Bercy to Rouen via La Défense. From Bercy, the trip takes 2:40 hours and from La Défense, 1:35 hours. A single ticket costs €7.

In the street
From the greater Paris area, the A 13 motorway leads directly to Rouen. From the north-east, the A28 from Amiens/Calais leads here; from Caen and Le Havre the A 13; from Le Mans the A 28; from the north towards the Channel Coast, the A 150.

From northern and central Germany you drive through Belgium (passing Liège and Amiens). For example, it is 520 kilometers from Cologne, for which you have to plan a good five hours of pure travel time. Coming from southern Germany, you should also avoid the greater Paris area and take the A 26 from Reims past Amiens. Only from the extreme south-west of Germany and Switzerland can a trip on the Paris ring road be avoided.

By boat
The nearest ferry ports to/from England are Dieppe and Le Havre.



Many streets in the city center are pedestrianized, notably Rue du Gros-Horloge which runs from Place du Vieux-Marché to Notre-Dame de Rouen Cathedral.

By bike
Rouen has a few cycle paths and lanes, especially along the quays.

Cy'clic, telephone +33 800 087 800 5 a.m. - 1 a.m. €1 per hour, the first half hour being free. – The self-service bicycle rental system in Rouen has 24 stations and 250 bicycles.

By taxi
Yellow taxis, phone +33 2 35 88 50 50
Taxis blancs Logo indicating a link to the website, Logo indicating a telephone number +33 2 35 61 20 50

By car
Traffic in Rouen is intense, parking difficult and the traffic plan complex. In the city centre, the speed limit is 30 km/h. It is advisable to use public transport, cycling and walking.

It is easier to park in the car parks at the ends of the city - such as that of Mont-Riboudet (rue Nétien) or that of the place du Boulingrin - and to access the city center by public transport or on foot.

In the hyper-centre, underground car parks are indicated such as that of the town hall, the museum of fine arts or Saint Mark's square.

The shopping centers (Saint-Sever, Docks 76 and Espace du Palais) also have underground car parks.

By public transport
Rouen's public transport network is quite comprehensive.

Réseau Tip, 9 rue Jeanne-d'Arc, Logo indicating a telephone number +33 2 35 52 52 52

He understands :
Various traditional bus lines.
The TEOR: a specialized lane only for buses, which makes the link between the West and the East of the right bank of the city.
T1 to go towards Mont-Saint-Aignan.
T2 to go towards Notre-Dame-de-Bondeville
T3 to go towards Canteleu
The "Metro", a sometimes underground tram that links the center of the city's right bank (Boulingrin) and the outlying towns of the left bank, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray (Technopôle) and Grand-Quevilly (Georges Braque).




Rouen is 136 kilometers northwest of Paris, the capital of France.

Originally, the city was located on the right bank of the Seine. Today, it includes the left bank (Saint-Sever district in particular, south of the river) and Île Lacroix. The north of the city ("Hauts de Rouen"), very hilly, is dominated by a plateau on which some of the cities of the Metropolis are located.

The Seine covers 179 hectares of the city's area. There are 306 hectares of green spaces, 210 kilometers of roads including 16 kilometers of cycle paths and 8 kilometers of pedestrian streets, including rue du Gros-Horloge, which was the first in France to be made pedestrians, in 1971.

The port of Rouen was one of the most important French ports for importing citrus fruits and tropical fruits. In the second half of the 19th century, following the destruction of almost all French vineyards by phylloxera, port activity increased sharply with the importation of wine production from Algeria.

The transformation of the port has made it the leading European port for grain exports; it is also the leading French grain port. A "terminal for containers and general cargo" found its place in port activity around 1990.

Major shipowners have marked the history of the port, whose streets and avenues bear their names. The same is true for former maritime activities with North Africa. Until the early 1960s, the port extended its influence to the very heart of the city and commercial ships docked as far as the Jeanne-d'Arc bridge, almost opposite the old bus station (rue Saint-Éloi) .

The abbey church of Saint-Ouen, adjoining the town hall, is the culmination of the Abbey Route of the Seine Valley, on which are the abbeys of Saint-Wandrille, Jumièges and Saint-Georges de Boscherville.



Rouen has 114,187 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020). The birth rate in Rouen in the years 1999 to 2009 was 13.8 per thousand, the death rate 8.2 per thousand. The number of households in 2009 was 67,558, of which 60,271 were main residences, 1,202 were second homes and 6,085 apartments were empty.



The climate is oceanic, with rainfall spread over the year (133.6 days >1 mm per year on average at Boos-METAR) Rouen's climate is quite similar to that of Seattle. Winters are mild and snowy with relative temperatures between −5°C and 0°C. And the summers are hot and humid with intensive averages between 22°C and 29°C with the maritime influence of the English Channel some sixty kilometers away. The main guiding flow in Rouen is from the southwest to west sector, with frequent gales, even storms in winter (on average 2.8 days > 28 m/s, i.e. 100.8 km/h per year at Boos -METAR).



First settlement

For the Neolithic Age, from the 9th to the 6th millennium B.C. first traces of human settlement. Agriculture and animal husbandry are in the period from the 5th millennium BC. proven. The Allée Couverte of Mauny located here is the only gallery tomb in the department of Seine-Maritime. The Rouen dugout was discovered in the 1990s.


Gallo-Roman period

During the Gallo-Roman period (52 BC to 486), Rouen, known as the Rotomagus, was the civitas of the Celtic tribe of Veliocasses. From the Roman road network, the cardo maximus can still be found in the streets rue Beauvoisine, rue des Carmes and rue Grand-Pont. He cruised with the less visible decumanus by the cathedral. An amphitheater lay at the north end of the rue Jeanne d'Arc near the Joan of Arc Tower. The city has been a bishop's seat since the 4th century. The list of Archbishops of Rouen has been reconstructed in the Middle Ages back to the 3rd century. The first documented bishop of Rouen is Avitianus. He attended the Council of Arles in 314.


Middle Ages

From the year 841 Rouen was attacked by Vikings. In 911, in the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, a Jarl (prince) of the Vikings named Rollo received what later became Normandy as the county of Rouen as a fief from the French King Charles III. Rouen became the capital.

Around 1160, Empress Mathilde gave Rouen the Pont de Pierre, the first bridge over the Seine in the city.

In 1204, Rouen, then under the rule of the English King John, was conquered by the troops of the French King Philip Augustus during a Franco-English war.

On January 19, 1419, during the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453), Henry V of England captured the city of Rouen and placed Normandy under the British Crown. In this context, Joan of Arc was condemned and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. In 1449, Charles VII recaptured Rouen for France.


Modern times


The people of Rouen took up the ideas of the reformers Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564) positively. The port city was open to change. By the early 16th century, Rouen had become an important port for trade with Brazil. The city was prosperous, the level of education was relatively high, and so was the proportion of literate people. Some of the handicrafts that were increasingly practiced in Rouen also required a certain level of education, such as goldsmithing. The writings of Luther were therefore read by a relatively large number of residents, and Rouen became a stronghold of Protestantism. Until about 1545 the Protestant community of Rouen was Evangelical Lutheran, after that it was Calvinist.

1528 was damaged in the course of the Reformation pictures. In the same year, Pierre Bar became the first Protestant in Rouen to be burned in the market square on charges of heresy. The Protestant writings were then secretly distributed, but up to 1550 other Protestants were accused of being heretics. In the years 1541, 1545 and 1551 isolated religious works of art, especially statues, were damaged.

In 1550, King Henry II visited the city to fight Protestantism. However, it was only after this, in 1561, that the spread of Protestantism reached its peak. At that time, 20 percent of the inhabitants were Protestants, which corresponds to about 15,000 people. The conquest of Rouen, defended by Montgomery, in 1562 was one of the first victories the Catholic party had in the Huguenot Wars. Henry IV besieged Rouen in 1591-92 in vain and only got it by surrender in 1594.

The puy called Confrérie de la Conception de Notre Dame ('Confraternity of the Conception') was founded as a religious community in the 12th century but evolved into a literary group over the centuries. The Puy existed until the French Revolution (1789-1799). In the years 1521 and 1522 the Puy wrote numerous pamphlets against the works of Luther.

In 1557 the first official Calvinist church was established, after unofficial meetings had taken place in southern Rouen since 1546. It existed until the Edict of Nantes was repealed with the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685. The city, which had been devastated by a severe hurricane in 1633, lost three quarters of its 80,000 inhabitants to emigration as a result of the repeal of the Edict of Nantes.



In 1774 Rouen was hit by a great fire. In 1793, during the French Revolution, Rouen received the administrative status of a municipality and in 1801, through the administrative reform under Napoleon Bonaparte, the right to municipal self-government.

During the July Revolution of 1830, numerous detachments of armed Rouen residents came to Paris to force Charles X to evacuate France. In 1843 the Paris–Rouen railway line was opened.

On February 25, 1848, during a riot in Rouen, the factories of the English spinning mills were demolished. On April 27th and 28th, 1848 there was an uprising and barricades because of the elections.

During the Franco-Prussian War, Rouen was occupied by Prussian troops from December 6, 1870 to July 22, 1871.

On October 29, 1932, the owners of the Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette opened the first Monoprix store, from which the large French discount chain emerged.

During World War II, Rouen was under German occupation from June 9, 1940 to August 15, 1944. During this period there were heavy bombardments by Allied air forces, which mainly targeted the Seine bridges and the Sotteville-lès-Rouen freight depot. Between 1948 and 1955 the bridges and the station were rebuilt by Marcel Lods.

The inner city was rebuilt according to plans by Jacques Gréber.