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With a history dating way back, “The city of a hundred spires” is an old city that had its most prosperous days during the Middle Ages. This is not only where the famous author Gustave Flaubert lived, but also the city where Joan of Arc was convicted and burnt at the stake in 1431. Rich in art and history, Rouen today has approximately 500,000 Rouennais living in the city and urban area. Because of all the students living here, this is a lively city both day and night. Here people simply relax and enjoy the best in life. The countryside offers an even more relaxing atmosphere. Rouen and surroundings are full of history and places to discover. With Paris only a 90 minute drive away, the opportunities here are endless.
The French food will definitely keep your stomach full and the beautiful scenery will without doubt satisfy your eyes, but when it comes to activities in and around Rouen you will also have your hands full. The area is not only full of historical sites, but also very popular for outdoor activities like hiking, bicycling and sports. In Rouen the Notre Dame Cathedral is a must-see, not to be confused with the cathedral in Paris. This was the cathedral that inspired Monet to paint his cathedral series. Wandering the street in Rouen you will also come across The Gros Horloge, a beautiful clock right above a pedestrian street. If you want to explore the surrounding areas there are many daily excursions to go on. You can visit Monet’s home in Giverny, which is one example of a popular attraction outside the city. Another interesting site is Jumièges Abbey, the ruins of a Benedict monastery, that can be found in Jumièges.
Like most cities in France, Rouen has a reputation for having good tables. Here you can find it all, gourmet restaurants, romantic escapes, pub grub and international cuisine. Most tourist restaurants are located near Church of St Joan of Arc. Going here is a safe bet if you are looking for someplace to eat. Normandy, unlike the rest of France, does not make its own wine. Instead, the area is renowned worldwide for its apples, cider, pears and dairy products like cheese and milk. When in Normandy you must try the apple brandy Calvados, one of the local specialties. Also, some of the best lamb, duck and poultry in the whole world can be found here!
Since Normandy is famous for its apples and cream, you can imagine what awaits you when going out for a coffee in Rouen. The Tarte Normande, an apple tart topped with cream, is only one of the scrumptious desserts found here. You should also try the creamy rice puddings, brioche and shortbreads. There are many patisseries and markets scattered throughout Rouen, so you should not have difficulties finding a place to rest your legs while having a good cup of coffee.
Shopping in Rouen is a dream for all art enthusiasts. The city offers numerous antiques shops, art galleries and markets. On and around Rue Saint-Romain, right in the centre of the city, you can find many shops and boutiques. You will definitely not be disappointed if you are going for a shopping spree in Rouen. Rouen is especially known for its markets. If you want to, there is at least one available each day. Two of the most famous ones are the markets at Place Saint Marc and Vieux Marche. Place Saint Marc is open every Saturday and Sunday and you can find everything from clothing to flowers here. At Vieux Marche you can buy great food like cheese, meat and vegetables.
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