A multi-faceted and highly dynamic city, Rouen has been reinventing itself for several years. It is now strongly focusing on its river, the River Seine. By moving its commercial port downstream, it has completely remodelled the banks of the river to make them a pleasant living environment.
It has kept many remains of its distant medieval past: the narrow little streets in the centre, the cobblestones, the bell towers, etc. Although located about one hundred kilometres away from the sea, Rouen is a maritime city. It shows its strong character every day.
To enjoy Rouen, you should of course visit and admire the numerous historical buildings such as Saint-Ouen Abbey Church, the Parliament of Normandy or the Saint-Maclou Ossuary. But it is not enough. You will also have to join the crowd strolling along the Rue du Gros Horloge, walk deeper into the cobbled streets of the "Carré d'Or", the pedestrian area bordered by the Place du Vieux-Marché (Old-Market Square) and Saint-Maclou Church. You will also have to climb up to the top of the Sainte-Catherine hill in the evening, taking the Route de la Corniche, to enjoy the most beautiful panoramic view over the city. Day or night, you will be amazed by this eye-catching city.
A breathtaking city
In front of you, the city seems to be split in two. On the right bank of the river, its historic heart.
The spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral (the tallest in France) and the belfry of the Gros-Horloge (Astronomical clock) immediately catch the eye, before it moves towards the new neighbourhoods under construction in the capital city of the Dukes of Normandy. On your left, the other bank of the river tells us about its industrial past and its ongoing transformation. The Archives Tower of Seine-Maritime soars into the sky, allowing your eyes to fix upon the bright yellow
"Picasso" cranes next to the concert hall, the 106.
Just like recurrent transitions, bridges with the names of men and women who have marked the city's history bring together the two banks of the river that have been opposed for a long time: Guillaume le Conquérant (William the Conqueror), Jeanne d’arc (Joan of Arc), Boieldieu, Mathilde, and Flaubert, which had long been the highest vertical lift bridge in Europe to allow the ships to pass under it.
Beneath your feet, you can see the Ile La Croix, an island between two bodies of water with its blocks of flats and its sports facilities. This is where the inhabitants of Rouen come to cheer the Dragons, the local ice hockey team, which has won many European titles.
Former "Pleasure Island", it used to house open-air dance halls and cabarets along its banks, which no longer exist today. If you wander around the island, you may notice a Belle Epoque house on a street corner.