Rouen, France Day 10

Adventures in train travel… it’s the thing I’m most uptight about with this trip. I went to get the train to Rouen this morning. I had to take the metro from Gare du Nord to Gare Saint Lazare. What I didn’t realise was that there’s a Saint Lazare METRO station, and a Saint Lazare TRAIN station. All you have to do is exit the metro station and walk over to the train station, but first thing in the morning, it’s not as easy as it sounds. A lovely woman stopped and asked if she could help, in French of course. All I heard was “cherche” which I think means find, or look for? Anyways, I managed to understand what she told me and found the train station. I fully thought I’d missed my train, but caught it in the nick of time. Then, I was going to stop at Giverny to see Monet’s gardens, but the train didn’t stop before Roeun, so c’est la vie to that one!
When I got to Rouen, I stopped at the info. office to ask for a map. No map. So, I walked around for 45 minutes with “The Albatross” (pet name for my rolling suitcase) sweating and swearing, looking for my hotel. Wound up back at the train station, looked at the big map again, and saw that my hotel was actually just down the street from there. 5 minute walk. No joke. I hope this teaches me a lesson.

This is Donjon, Joan of Arc Tower. It was part of the castle built by Phillipe Auguste in 1204. 1204! Isn’t that amazing? Apparently the castle was where her trial was held.

The streets of Rouen are totally wonky and askew and there are little nooks,crannies and half timbered buildings all over the city.

Rouen is a lot like Paris in that there are chocolate shops and boulangeries everywhere! The chocolate, oh the chocolate! I’m blown away by the window displays in most of the shops as well. So much effort is put into making things look beautiful. I can truly appreciate that!

I think this is Saint- Ouen Abbey Church. There were a lot of churches in this place, and I kind of got them mixed up! Someone correct me if I’m wrong please!

Look, it’s a tree painted like a carrot!

I went up over 100 steps to get to the top of the Great Clock. It’s belfry houses the city bells, and it’s clock mechanism is one of the oldest in Europe. It was in working order from the 14th century until 1928.

The view from the top.

This is what it looks like from the outside.

This is Rouen’s Notre Dame Cathedral. I’m pretty sure this is the one that you see in so many of Claude Monet’s paintings. Beautiful.

Look at how crooked that beam is! The building looks like it could topple over at any minute!

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen on May 30, 1431. It was a little eerie sitting in the square and imagining her last moments right there in that spot. Unfortunately it’s also the spot where all the ruffians seemed to be hanging out. Rouen is a lovely city, but it has a bit of a rough edge to it. Lots of graffiti, and more gypsies than I saw in Paris. Another thing I’ve noticed here is an abundance of kebab houses and Maisons de The. Go figure!

The square where she was executed. Now you can eat, drink and let your kid ride on a merry go round!

My hotel! It’s so cute! I was in the Degas room.


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