Fodor's To Europe!

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Day 5
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A fascinating city notable not only as Joan of Arc's final resting place (she was burned at the stake here in 1431) but also as France's fifth-largest port, Rouen is full of Gothic architecture, art, and history.
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  • Architecture
  • History
  • Art and Culture


  • Gothic architecture dots the city. See the Cathédral Notre-Dame, where an imposing cast-iron spire (the highest in France) is paired with a shorter steeple called the "Butter Tower," built when a group of wealthy citizens donated large sums of money for the privilege of eating butter during Lent. Other highlights include the St-Maclou and the Abbaye St-Ouen.
  • The name of the pedestrian Rue du Gros-Horloge, Rouen's most popular street, comes from Gros-Horloge itself, a giant Renaissance clock. In 1527 the Rouennais had a splendid arch built especially for it, and today its golden face looks out over the street. You can see the clock's inner workings from the 15th-century belfry.
  • One of Rouen's cultural mainstays is the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which has a scintillating collection of paintings and sculptures, including works by native son Géricault as well as by David, Rubens, Caravaggio, Velasquez, Poussine, Delacroix, Degas, and Modigliani, not to mention the Impressionists Monet, Renoir, and Sisley.

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