Private Tour Rouen

What to visit, what to see, what to do in Rouen in 1, 2 or 3 days?

what to do in Rouen

Rouen , capital of Normandy and chief town of the department of Seine-Maritime, has 110,000 inhabitants, and 400,000 inhabitants in its agglomeration.

The city nestles in a meander of the Seine, with fairly steep slopes.

The spire of the magnificent cathedral of Rouen, the highest in France with its 151 meters, proudly dominates the Norman capital, “a city of old streets and a hundred steeples” according to Victor Hugo.

Rouen’s heritage is exceptional: Rouen is the sixth French city with the most historical monuments.

Its historic center is vast, and for good reason: Rouen, a wealthy port city, was until the 18th century the second largest city in France after Paris in terms of population.

What to see, what to visit in one day in Rouen ? What to do in Rouen in a weekend of 2 or 3 days? How to get there, where to park in Rouen? Follow the complete tour of the mouse! 😉

How to get to Rouen?

Go to Rouen by car

To go to Rouen, just take the A13 or Normandy motorway, from the Paris ring road or from Caen. In just over an hour (excluding traffic jams!), you’re there! 🙂

Ile-de-France residents from the north of the region will favor the A15 then the former N14 via the Vexin. The dual carriageway in Île-de-France becomes a simple low-speed departmental road in Normandy (no overtaking zones, many villages crossed). But it is a totally free route.

The A 28 and the A 29 quickly link Rouen to Amiens and Lille on the one hand, and to Le Mans and Nantes on the other.

Where to park for free in Rouen?

It is not at all easy to park in Rouen! The historic city center, roughly inside the circular boulevards (bld de l’Yser, bld de Verdun, etc.) as well as around Rouen-Rive-Droite station is paying and limited to 2 hours.

You don’t want to pay for underground parking (about 3€ per hour or 18€/day)?

You should know that you can park for free in Rouen on the Place du Boulingrin and in the wheels around it, north of the boulevards de l’Yser or de Verdun. Otherwise, on the Quai du Pré aux Loups (upstream of the Corneille bridge) or on Île Lacroix.

You will find here the detailed map of paid parking areas in Rouen .

Go to Rouen by train

Rouen station

Every day, many direct or semi-direct trains ( TER Normandie ) connect Paris-Saint-Lazare to Rouen and Le Havre.

Count a frequency of about one train per hour for direct trains and 1 hour 12 minutes non-stop journey. Finally, in theory… The Paris-Rouen-Le Havre rail axis is particularly saturated, and delays are very frequent!

Rouen-Rive-Droite station is quite close to the historic center, less than 600 meters (10 min walk) from Old Rouen, down rue Jeanne-d’Arc.

As you pass, admire the beautiful Art Deco style passenger building, inaugurated in 1928, with its campanile and frescoes!

Visit Rouen: the essentials

Panorama of the Sainte-Catherine coast

The Côte Sainte-Catherine terrace, in Bonsecours, just east of the center of Rouen, offers a magnificent panorama!

You can admire the curve of the Seine, the city, its “hundred bell towers” (well, twenty anyway!) and the urban area of ​​Rouen. To be seen during the day and at dusk, when the sun disappears opposite and the city lights come on!

Rouen view of the Sainte Catherine coast

The advantage of the zoom is that you can better appreciate certain monuments! 😉

The cathedral of course (seen from behind, the spire unfortunately permanently under construction, grrr)

Rouen Cathedral

The former Saint-Ouen abbey and its superb lantern tower:

Saint Ouen to Rouen

And the beautiful Saint-Maclou church , with the roofs of the courthouse in the background, the pinnacle of Gothic art!

view of the Saint-Maclou church in Rouen

Easy access to the Sainte-Catherine coast by car.

Or on foot for the brave, by the path, with a few hundred steps (525 to be precise!). It starts at the end of rue du Faubourg-Martainville (extension of rue Martainville), just after crossing under national 28.

What to see in Rouen in 1 day: visit old Rouen

To visit Rouen in 1 day , I suggest this walking tour in old Rouen. It connects the main sights of the historic city center, passing by the magnificent cathedral, painted by Monet.

Half-timbered houses in Rouen

Rouen has several hundred half-timbered half-timbered houses, from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

The oldest, until around 1520, are corbelled (the upper floors overflow onto the lower levels). Some are opulent, others very small.

half-timbered houses in Rouen

Many half-timbered houses follow the beams and are well twisted! Despite the regrettable destruction of the Second World War (which destroyed about 700), you can still admire many (nearly 2000!)

You’ll see most of them between Place du Vieux-Marché and Saint-Maclou Church on the west-east axis, along Rue du Gros-Horloge , Rue Saint-Romain (which runs along the northern flank of the cathedral) then rue Martainville and its surroundings ( rue Damiette , rue d’Amiens ).

Quite a few other half-timbered houses are located along rue des Bons Enfants then rue Ganterie and rue de l’Hôpital, another west-east axis ending in front of the Saint-Ouen abbey.

half-timbered houses in Rouen

corner of rue des Bons enfants and rue Ganterie

Want to see more? Take a look along Rue Beauvoisine and Rue Beffroy , just north of the Museum of Fine Arts!

I suggest a route linking the main points of interest in the center of Rouen, passing along the most interesting streets.

It is absolutely necessary to visit Old Rouen on foot , the center being largely pedestrian. Moreover, rue du Gros-Horloge was the first urban pedestrian route in France in 1971. Follow the mouse! 😉

Old Market Square

Place du Vieux-Marché is lined with half-timbered houses from the 16th to 18th centuries. It’s cute anyway (like me, um).

Old Market Square in Rouen

There are the new halls (market every day except Monday), the modern church of Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc, and the Cross of Rehabilitation.

It is located on the site of the stake where Joan of Arc was burned on May 30, 1431, a place of execution for convicts in the Middle Ages. Hmm, less cute all of a sudden…

Old Market Square in Rouen

Today, the Place du Vieux-Marché is at the heart of Rouen’s entertainment. It has many restaurants, including La Couronne , dating back to the 14th century, and reputed to be the oldest inn in France! I tested, approved, and I talk about it below… 🙂

Old Market Square in Rouen

A stone’s throw away, rue de la Pie, the Pierre Corneille house-museum is located in the birthplace of the poet, author of Le Cid. There are some engravings and his study.

It’s free, it’s a pretty half-timbered house, so don’t hesitate to come and see! 😉

Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc Church

The Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc church , inaugurated in 1979, has the shape of an upside-down boat.

The astonishing roof is covered with slate scales, reminiscent of Viking longships!

Saint Joan of Arc church in Rouen

It incorporates the Renaissance stained glass windows of the old St-Vincent church, unfortunately destroyed by a bombardment in 1944.

Good recycling idea, isn’t it? 😉

Saint Joan of Arc church in RouenSaint Joan of Arc church in RouenSaint Joan of Arc church in Rouen

Place de la Pucelle and Bourgtheroulde hotel

At the southeast corner of the Place du Vieux-Marché, discover the Place de la Pucelle (sic).

There are old houses there, and above all the superb Hôtel de Bourgtheroulde (pronounced “boutroude”), a superb private mansion which now houses… a luxury hotel. 

place of the Maid in Rouenplace of the Maid in Rouen

Do not hesitate to enter the courtyard, it is really beautiful! Do like me, admire the details of the Renaissance bas-reliefs! 😉

Rouen Hotel BourgtherouldeRouen Hotel BourgtherouldeRouen Hotel BourgtherouldeRouen Hotel Bourgtheroulde

Then take rue du Gros-Horloge , the main pedestrian commercial axis of Old Rouen.

At the chocolate maker Auzou , at the corner of rue de la Vicomté, you can buy “Jeanne d’Arc’s tears”, chocolate coated almonds, the house speciality! (yum!) 🙂


The Gros-Horloge, an immense single-handed dial dating from the 14th century, is the emblematic image of Rouen.

It has been embedded since 1527 in a Renaissance arch which spans the very commercial street of the same name.

big clock in Rouenbig clock in Rouen

You can visit the interior, and discover the mechanisms, the municipal bells. The latter is completed by a “weekly” and the phases of the Moon.

details of Rouen big clock

You can admire a beautiful view of the city from the terrace of the adjacent belfry  , with a breathtaking view of the facade of the cathedral… when the weather is nice!

Before continuing towards the cathedral, take a detour to the left via rue Massacre (!) to the magnificent courthouse. 

Rouen courthouse

The Rouen courthouse is housed in a splendid early Renaissance building, which housed the Parliament of Normandy.

Rouen courthouseRouen courthouseRouen courthouse

It is not easy to visit, but you can try your luck during slow periods of judicial activity, such as during the summer.

On the north and west sides, you can still see on the facades the impacts of shells dating from 1944… and the post-war buildings that surround the courthouse. The whole district was unfortunately devastated in April 1944.

Return to rue du Gros-Horloge via rue Thouret, opposite the courthouse courtyard.

Cathedral Square

The square offers a view of the magnificent Notre-Dame cathedral, with the widest facade in France. It was represented by Monet in all weathers!

Rouen Cathedral

Opposite, the former finance office, an elegant Renaissance building from 1510, houses Rouen’s tourist office.

Rouen tourist office

It is on this square that the (small) Christmas market is held, which we had the opportunity to discover, freezing well in negative temperatures! that’s good, the Christmas entertainment is called “Rouen givrée”! 

cathedral square in Rouen christmas market

Alas, part of the square was destroyed during the bombardments of 1944. It is not very big compared to the size of the cathedral, we lack hindsight!

Cathedral of Our Lady of Rouen

The Notre-Dame de Rouen cathedral is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in France. It has a lantern tower which culminates at 51 meters under a vault.

The building was quickly rebuilt and extended after the violent fire which destroyed it in 1200. The money paid by Jean sans Terre, Duke of Normandy and incidentally King of England helped considerably!

model of the cathedral of Rouen

The history of the cathedral was not easy! There was the Hundred Years War, which strongly marked the city by the English Occupation.

Then a new fire in 1514, followed by damage from the Calvinists. Then a hurricane in 1683, then the Revolution, then the fire at the spire in 1822! It was rebuilt in cast iron, causing a psychodrama between supporters and opponents of the modernity of the material!

Finally, there was the tragic night of April 19, 1944: during an Allied bombardment, seven torpedoes hit the cathedral, which was almost destroyed. A long restoration has fortunately restored all its brilliance.

I loved contemplating its beautiful flamboyant Gothic style facade and this incredible stone lacework! I understand Monet and his fascination.

Exterior of the cathedral

Rouen Cathedralportal of the cathedral of Rouen

The facade of Rouen Cathedral is flanked by two towers: on the left , the rather bare Saint-Romain tower ; and on the right the beautiful Butter Tower , a magnificent flamboyant Gothic work.

But why butter, so Norman? Well, the faithful were authorized to consume it during Lent… provided they paid a tax to finance its construction! And yes, for the church, business is business, it matters!

When will there be a tax for not respecting confinement and curfew? Well, don’t forget that at the time, these shocking “  indulgences  ” led straight to the Protestant Reformation! 😉

Rouen Cathedral Butter Tower

Well, there I showed it to you in the sun, but don’t worry, you’ll see it more like this… 😉

facade of the cathedral of Rouen

Good like Monet, it allows variations of impressions…

Interior of Rouen Cathedral

interior of the cathedral of Rouenrose window of the cathedral of Rouen

lantern tower of Rouen cathedral

The nave of the cathedral has eleven bays, covered with beautiful sexpartite vaults (look up, you will understand better!). The choir is remarkable for its proportions. In the ambulatory, you can observe recumbent figures.

The first, on the south side, is that of Richard the Lionheart, King of England and Duke of Normandy. His heart is buried here (moving, but we won’t make a cheese out of it anyway, um).

tomb of richard the lion heart in Rouen

The axial chapel, called the chapel of the Virgin , closed by a gate, contains two beautiful monuments. We see on the right, the tomb of the cardinals of Amboise.

Chapel of the Virgin of Rouen CathedralChapel of the Virgin of Rouen Cathedral

And on the left the tomb of Louis de Brézé, seneschal of Normandy, husband of Diane de Poitiers (the mistress of the King of France Henry II)… and therefore the first cuckold in France! (Ouch)

The fourth chapel houses the two oldest stained glass windows in the cathedral, dating from the 14th century, known as “the beautiful windows”.

stained glass windows in Rouen Cathedralstained glass windows in Rouen Cathedral

In the north transept, note the magnificent booksellers’ staircase , from the 15th century.

staircase of the booksellers of the cathedral of Rouen

cathedral of light

In summer, in principle from June 1 to September 15, the facade of the cathedral is illuminated, like Amiens or Chartres.

The “  cathedral of light ” show, free, is screened twice per evening, every day (variable schedule depending on the month). The theme is renewed periodically: Impressionism, Joan of Arc or William the Conqueror…

Rouen cathedral illumination

St. Romain Street

Rue Saint-Romain is one of the most beautiful streets in old Rouen. It is lined with half-timbered houses from the 15th to the 18th centuries. In line with the street, you can admire the spire of the Saint-Maclou church.

On the south side of the street, the portal of the Booksellers is a pure jewel of Flamboyant Gothic. It was built to give the canons direct access to the cathedral from rue Saint-Romain.

portal of booksellers in Rouen

Behind, you can enter a courtyard overlooking one side of the episcopal palace .

course of the episcopal palace of Rouen

Church of Saint Maclou

The Saint-Maclou church in Rouen is a true jewel of the purest flamboyant Gothic art! It was erected between 1437 and 1517.

Its facade offers an astonishing large porch with five arches arranged in a fan, overhanging a central portal with doors fitted with splendid Renaissance leaves. Admire this stone lace!

Saint-Maclou church in Rouen

Inside, note the pretty organ case (1521) adorned with Renaissance woodwork, the lantern tower and the stained glass windows. Unfortunately, the church is only open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays!

Saint-Maclou church in RouenSaint-Maclou church in Rouen

Saint-Maclou church in Rouen

On Place Barthélémy, which forms the church square, note the leaning house!

place barthélemy in Rouenleaning house in Rouen

Aitre Saint-Maclou

The aster Saint-Maclou is a very unusual place in Rouen! This beautiful 16th century ensemble is a remnant of the mass graves of plague victims from the Middle Ages (not yet the covids!)

It now houses the School of Fine Arts (what an inspiration!)

Aitre Saint Maclou of Rouen

The aître Saint-Maclou (from the Latin atrium , courtyard) consists of a courtyard surrounded by four galleries of half-timbered buildings. Take a good look: they are sculpted with funerary attributes: danse macabre, frieze made up of patterns of skulls, shins, gravediggers’ tools…

Aitre Saint Maclou of Rouen

There is even a funny cat! It would have been found during excavations, but it would be a joke of the students of Fine Arts!

cat of the aitre saint maclou

The eastern gallery hosts temporary exhibitions. In 2021, we were able to admire macabre art there!

Aitre Saint Maclou of RouenAitre Saint Maclou of Rouen

In summer, you can even eat or drink on the terrace at the Hamlet (sic) café. (184-186 Martainville Street)

Martainville Street

Rue Martainville is lined with many half-timbered facades, dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

rue Martainville in Rouen

Note the pretty Renaissance fountain, just at the corner of the facade of the Saint-Maclou church: it’s Rouen’s version of Manneken-Pis! 🙂

Saint Maclou fountain in Rouen

A little further, Saint-Marc Square hosts the Saint-Marc market, where you will find Norman culinary specialties (in principle on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, all day).

Damietta Street

Rue Damiette is home to the antique dealers of Rouen. Lined with half-timbered houses, it offers a beautiful view of the central tower of the Saint-Ouen church.

rue damiette in Rouen

rue damiette in Rouen

As you pass, take a look to the right at the impasse des Hauts-Mariages, which looks very medieval! 

impasse of high marriages in Rouen

We cross the rue d’Amiens, also lined with old houses.

On the left, notice the beautiful facade of the Hôtel d’Étancourt . This 17th century mansion has large statues adorning its facade. They represent the gods of Olympus and the four elements. Today, we can more prosaically do a Covid test there! 

Hotel d'Etancourt in Rouen

Rue Eau-de-Robec

Rue Eau-de-Robec is lined with beautiful half-timbered houses. You can still see the Robec, a stream crossed by many small footbridges. Well, in reality the Robec is channeled in Rouen, and it’s a reconstruction of the stream that we admire here! 😉

rue eau de Robec in Rouen

Take a good look at the attics-hangings above the houses: the Robec evokes the activity of this district of dyers.

One of the old half-timbered houses houses the National Museum of Education .

Do not hesitate to take the passages between rue Eau-de-Robec and rue des Faulx, which runs along the garden of the town hall and the abbey church of Saint-Ouen. In one of them, we see the small clock, which “competes” with the big one!

We find the real Robec beyond the boulevard de Verdun, partly bordered by a promenade.

Saint-Ouen Abbey

The abbey church of Sain-Ouen is a radiant Gothic gem, built in the 14th century. Its proportions are imposing: it is almost the size of Notre-Dame de Paris!

Saint-Ouen abbey church in RouenSaint-Ouen abbey church in Rouen

The church is especially famous for its series of magnificent stained glass windows, and for its great organ by Cavaillé-coll, one of the largest in France. To hear it during a concert, or during rehearsals, is impressive!

Saint-Ouen abbey church in RouenSaint-Ouen abbey church in Rouen

stained glass windows of the abbey of Saint-Ouen in Rouen

Go admire the apse of Saint-Ouen with its remarkable flying buttresses, and its beautiful lantern tower, from the garden of the town hall!

To the north of the garden, rue Saint-Nicaise is lined with beautiful half-timbered houses. To the south, this is also the case along the Rue des Faulx .

Rue des Faulx in Rouen

Rue des Faulx in Rouen

The Saint-Nicaise church, disused, now hosts… an ephemeral summer brasserie !

Gantry Street

Rue Ganterie lines up half-timbered houses. It leads back to the main museums of Rouen.

Museum Quarter

Around Square Verdrel are three of Rouen’s main museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Ceramics (north of the square) and the Ironwork Museum Le Secq des Tournelles, in a disused church.

Rouen Fine Arts Museum

Museum of Fine Arts

But I will detail these places below! 😉

On the same square as the Le Secq des Tournelles museum, the Saint-Godard church is still used for worship. It still has a beautiful series of Renaissance stained glass windows, do not hesitate to come and see!

To the north of the museums, going up towards the station, is the Joan of Arc Tower . This is where the Maid was held prisoner before her trial in 1431. The tower can no longer be visited but has become a place for escape games.

Jean d'Arc tower in Rouen

We return to the Place du Vieux-Marché, via the Rue des Bons Enfants then the Rue Cauchoise , lined with many restaurants.

Cauchoise street in Rouen

Quays of the Seine in Rouen

The quays of the Seine in Rouen were heavily bombed by the Allies in the spring of 1944. There is therefore not much left of the old, apart from the pretty canvas hall, which has been restored.

The banks of the Seine have been partly developed for walking in recent years. They offer a nice walk along the water during sunny days (but yes, it happens!)

quays of the Seine in Rouen

Port of Rouen

The port of Rouen, to the west of the center after the Guillaume le Conquérant bridge, is becoming a trendy place in the city. There was the XXL panorama (closed since September 2021). Several bars have been set up there in the abandoned port hangars.

You can walk along the right bank quays for about a kilometer, to the Docks 76 shopping center, just before the new Flaubert bridge.

Beyond is the maritime and fluvial museum of Rouen , with possible visit from a barge. Halfway, a river shuttle connects the two banks of the Seine.

This is where the Armada de Rouen takes place , a large gathering of superb sailing ships, in principle every four or five years since 1989 (the next in June 2023).

Beyond, you will see the modern port facilities. Know that the port of Rouen, 110 km from the sea along the Seine, is the 5th largest seaport in France by tonnage! Guided tours by boat are possible in summer.

Rouen Botanical Garden

The Jardin des Plantes in Rouen extends over an area of ​​10 ha. It offers pretty flowers in season as well as tropical aviaries and greenhouses, with giant Amazonian water lilies.

Free access, av. Martyrs of the Resistance, on the left bank. Access by tram, Europe station, or more easily by car.

What to see in Rouen in 2 or 3 days: the museums of Rouen

Visiting Rouen in 2 days , or 3 days allows you to discover its rich museums.

The eleven municipal museums of Rouen and its agglomeration are now free for everyone , except for a few exhibitions. So there’s no excuse not to visit them, especially since they offer very beautiful and varied collections!

They are mostly open every day except Tuesdays and  January 1, May  1, November 1 and 11, and December 25. On Tuesday, you can visit the Museum of Antiquities, the museum and the Gros-Horloge, which are closed on Mondays!

Three museums are located in the aptly named museum district, around Square Verdrel (Beaux-Arts, Céramique and Le Secq des Tournelles). The Museum of Antiquities and the museum are located a little further north, rue Beauvoisine, about 400 meters away.

Fine Arts Museum

The Museum of Fine Arts in Rouen is vast and rich in beautiful collections of paintings. It is also the first building in France, in the 19th century, to have been directly designed to house a museum.

French painting from the 17th to the 19th centuries is particularly well represented, with Poussin, Fragonard, Ingres, Géricault… There are also Orthodox icons, which is rare in France, a Caravaggio, a Rubens…

Rouen Fine Arts MuseumRouen Fine Arts MuseumRouen Fine Arts Museum

But the strong point of the museum is its Impressionist collection , a style that appeared in Normandy with a certain Claude Monet, a native of Le Havre! Moreover, he also ended his life in the region, in Giverny, a wonderful village to discover with the mouse ! 😉

In addition to several paintings by Monet, you can admire Caillebotte, Renoir, or even Pissarro…

Rouen Fine Arts MuseumRouen Fine Arts MuseumRouen Fine Arts Museum

A room is entirely dedicated to Joan of Arc, a personality eternally attached to the city. The museum has around sixty rooms (yes, anyway!)

The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Information on the official website of the Museum of Fine Arts of Rouen

Ceramics Museum

The Ceramics Museum is housed in the Hôtel d’Hocqueville, built in the 17th century. It presents a panorama of the famous Rouen earthenware from the 16th to the 20th century, initiated in 1530 by the Rouennais Masséot Abaquesne.

The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Information on the official website of the Ceramics Museum of Rouen

Le Secq des Tournelles Ironwork Museum

The ironwork museum Le Secq des Tournelles is housed in the former Gothic church of Saint-Laurent. Here is an original frame! 🙂

Secq des tournelles museum in Rouen

It exhibits very rich collections from the 3rd to the 20th centuries, from small ones such as kitchen or surgical instruments, to signs, balconies and stair railings!

Secq des tournelles museum in Rouen

The objects are classified by theme. It is the largest collection of old ironwork in the world with more than 16,000 pieces!

secq tournelles museum in Rouensecq tournelles museum in Rouen

I recommend you go see it, it’s amazing!

The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Information on the official website of the Le Secq des Tournelles museum in Rouen

Museum of Antiquities and Natural History Museum of Rouen

The Antiquities Museum is housed in a former 17th century convent.

It offers fine collections from the Gallo-Roman era, with the famous Lillebonne mosaic , everyday objects, etc., Egyptian mummies (including cat mummies!) , etc.

Rouen antiquities museumRouen antiquities museumRouen antiquities museum

The Middle Ages and the Renaissance are evoked through stained glass windows, altarpieces, church capitals, furniture…

Rouen antiquities museum

The museum is located in the adjacent building, and shares the same entrance (198, rue Beauvoisine)

The Antiquities Museum and the museum are open Tuesday to Saturday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Information on the official site of the Museum of Antiquities of Rouen  and on the site of the Museum of Rouen

Flaubert and History of Medicine Museum

The Flaubert museum is located in one of the pavilions of the Hôtel-Dieu, where the famous writer was born, his father being a doctor.

The small museum evokes the history of medicine with many instrumentstorturemedicine, medicine jars, etc. (51 rue Lecat, 500 m west of the Place du Vieux-Marché)

Virtual tour of the museum here!

National Museum of Education

The National Museum of Education is housed in a half-timbered house with corbelled floors, known as the Quatre Fils Aymon. It evokes the evolution of education since the 16th century. A class from the time of Jules Ferry has been reconstituted there.

education museum in Rouen

It is a national museum, as its name suggests, and not a municipal one. But it is also free to access. (Please note: museum closed at the beginning of 2022 for “sanitary reasons”)

Info on the official website of the National Museum of Education

Museums of the Rouen conurbation

Four other museums welcome you free of charge in the other cities of the Rouen conurbation:

Where to eat in Rouen: the best restaurants 

Rouen is an increasingly famous gastronomic stopover! 

Your favorite mouse has tested a few institutions in the city, known to be good restaurants: the Crown, the 6th sense, the little umbrellas. 

Normandy cheese platter

I also tasted some ethnic specialties: the Turkish house, the sand rose (Moroccan)… But I will soon detail all that in a dedicated article! 😉

What to do in Rouen when it rains

Sometimes it rains in Rouen (ahem). Yes, yes, I assure you ! 🙂

Rouen is the least sunny big city in France with 1557 hours per year, ahead of Lille and Rennes!

Well, it rains much more in Besançon, Brest and especially Biarritz (the French record, and yes!). But Rouen still totals 134 rainy days per year on average, in the top 5 in France…

So where to go in Rouen when it rains? A rainy day is the perfect time to browse the very beautiful collections of Rouen’s museums.

what to do in Rouen when it rains

The main museums are concentrated in the northwest of Old Rouen, not far from the station. Plus, the permanent collections are free for everyone, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of them!

Next to the cathedral, the Historial Jeanne d’Arc , opened in 2015, allows you to learn about the journey of the “Maid of Orléans” with a sound and light show. A rainy day is ideal! 😉

There isn’t really a big shopping center downtown. The closest and newest is the Docks 76 shopping center, located on the banks of the Seine, about a kilometer west of Old Rouen. There is also a cinema there.

Otherwise, the Saint-Sever center, next to the eponymous church on the left bank, concentrates the usual signs of shopping centers.

Opinion of the mouse on Rouen

Should you visit Rouen? Maybe yes, maybe no! 🙂

Capital of an ultra-touristy French region with tenacious clichés, Rouen is a city that is ultimately relatively unknown to tourists.

half-timbered houses in Rouen

Its reputation as a somewhat sad industrial city hides a reality of a very rich heritage, beautiful and varied museums, and an urban landscape dotted with hundreds of half-timbered houses along medieval streets.

In addition, the catering offer, somewhat limited ten or twenty years ago, has since expanded considerably. There are several very good restaurants there as well as a growing number of bars and various small “ethnic” restaurants.

In short, on the road to the beaches of the Côte Fleurie, or for a weekend, take the opportunity to quickly discover the Normandy capital! 😉

What to see around Rouen

Lower Seine Valley

Rouen is located in the downstream valley of the Seine, more or less halfway between Paris and Le Havre. You can therefore take advantage of a visit to Rouen to discover the abbeys of the Seine valley, such as Saint-Georges-de-Boscherville or Jumièges .

Le Havre: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Le Havre evokes more of a dull rebuilt port city than a tourist spot! But the town is worth a visit for its innovative post-war architecture, its amazing church and its remarkable Malraux museum. The city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


To the east of Rouen, Lyons-la-Forêt is one of the most beautiful villages in France, largely built in half-timbered construction. It is located in the heart of a beautiful beech grove, the forest of Lyons , ideal for walking.

Nearby, go and see Ry , the famous village of Madame Bovary, which has remained typically Norman. Martainville Castle, which houses the Museum of Norman Popular Arts and Traditions, is worth a detour, as is Mortemer Abbey.

Alabaster coast

Finally, it is easy from Rouen to access the coast of the Pays de Caux, called the Alabaster Coast.

Do not hesitate to discover Dieppe , its cliffs, its restaurants on the quays and its superb castle-museum, Fécamp and its Benedictine palace (the famous liqueur is made there). Or Veules-les-Roses , a charming coastal village along the Veules, the shortest river in France at barely a kilometer long!

And of course Étretat , its chalk cliffs, its needle (which is not hollow) and its “elephant plunging its trunk into the sea”! 😉

Continue your walk in Normandy with the mouse and discover Cherbourg and the north of Cotentin !