Rouen

France

Rouen is a city on the River Seine in northern France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe.

CountryFrance
RegionNormandy
DepartmentSeine-Maritime
 Mayor (2020–2026)Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol (PS)
Area121.38 km2 (8.25 sq mi)
Population (2017-01-01)110,145
 Rank37th in France
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)

Rouen is an important cultural capital. Several renowned establishments are located here, such as the Museum of Fine Arts – one of the most important in France – or the Le Secq des Tournelles museum. Famous are its half-timbered houses.

Rouens religious buildings are plentifull and justify its nickname “City of a hundred steeples”.

Main sights

Rouen is known for its Rouen Cathedral, with its Tour de Beurre (butter tower) financed by the sale of indulgences for the consumption of butter during Lent. The cathedral’s gothic façade (completed in the 16th century) was the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet, some of which are exhibited in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock dating back to the 14th century.

Other famous structures include:

  • Rouen Castle,
  • the Church of Saint Ouen (12th–15th century);
  • the Palais de Justice
  • and the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics which contains a splendid collection of faïence and porcelain for which Rouen was renowned during the 16th to 18th centuries.

Rouen is also noted for its surviving half-timbered buildings.

There are many museums in Rouen:

  • the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen
  • the Musée maritime fluvial et portuaire
  • Musée des antiquités

The Jardin des Plantes de Rouen is a notable botanical garden once owned by Scottish banker John Law dated from 1840 in its present form.

In the centre of the Place du Vieux Marché (the site of Joan of Arc’s pyre) is the modern church of St Joan of Arc. This is a large, modern structure which dominates the square. The form of the building represents an upturned viking boat and a fish shape.

Rouen has its own palace of Rouen Opera House, whose formal name is Rouen Normandy Opera House – Theatre of Arts (in French: Opéra de Rouen Normandie – Théâtre des arts).

Transport

Mainline trains operate from Gare de Rouen-Rive-Droite to Le Havre and Paris, and regional trains to Caen, Dieppe and other local destinations in Normandy. Daily direct trains operate to Amiens and Lille, and direct TGVs (high-speed trains) connect daily with Lyon and Marseille.

City transportation in Rouen consists of a tram and a bus system.

Rouen has its own airport.

Education

The main schools of higher education are the University of Rouen and NEOMA Business School (former École Supérieure de Commerce de Rouen), ésitpa (agronomy and agriculture), both located at nearby Mont-Saint-Aignan, and the INSA Rouen, ESIGELEC and the CESI, both at nearby Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.

Performing arts

The main opera company in Rouen is the Opéra de Rouen – Normandie. The company performs in the Théâtre des Arts, 7 rue du Docteur Rambert. The company presents opera, classical and other types of music, both vocal and instrumental, as well as dance performances. Every five years, the city hosts the large maritime exposition, L’Armada.

Representations in art

Rouen Cathedral is the subject of a series of paintings by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet, who painted the same scene at different times of the day. Two paintings are in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; two are in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow; one is in the National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade. The estimated value of one painting is over $40 million.

Contact

City Hall
email
rouen@rouen.fr
address
2 Place du Général-de-Gaulle CS 31 402 76037 Rouen Cedex
phone
+33 2 35 08 69 00