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Beauty allied with history

The city of Rouen is both beautiful and historic. The capital city of its department, the Seine-Maritime in northern France, Rouen is famous for a number of great (or tragic) historical events. It is here that William the Conqueror died in 1087. It was also in Rouen that Saint Joan of Arc was tried, condemned and burned at the stake in 1431. Not all of Rouen's history is sad, however, as the city has a huge tradition of art, particularly in connection with the great impressionist painters, and also has some wonderful buildings to admire.

Left bank, right bank…

Rouen, like Paris, is bisected by the River Seine, and is divided into areas delineated left bank and right bank. The beautiful "Old Town" lies on the right bank. It must also be remembered that the inland ports of Rouen are and have been of great importance to France, and these areas are still the focus of much activity today, although the Inner Port is now mostly the preserve of wealthy private yacht owners.

Gothic splendour

The town has much to see and do, but it is perhaps fitting to begin by admiring the Gothic splendour of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, immortalised by Monet in his painting. The quaintly named Tour de Buerre, or Butter Tower, is definitely worth inspection, as is the Gros Horloge, the astronomical clock.

Restored to glory

Much of the city of Rouen has been restored to its former glory thanks to a programme of heavy investment in the city. Rouen suffered greatly in the war, with bombs destroying many beautiful and important buildings and areas, but there are some parts that survived. These include some of the mediaeval half-timbered houses and ancient cobbled streets which can still be seen, and which give Rouen much of the character which makes it such a charismatic city. The cathedral was one of the great buildings of Rouen which survived almost unscathed the bombings of the war.


The heart of Richard the Lionheart is entombed in the Chapelle de la Vierge, in the cathedral, as a tribute to the city he held in such high esteem. There is a also a tribute to Saint Joan, and this in the form of a magnificent bronze statue, can be found in the market place, on the very spot where she was killed.

Museums museums…

Rouen is a great centre of culture, and has many notable museums and art galleries to visit. Try the Joan of Arc Museum, the Wrought Iron Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics. The cathedral too, holds many fine works of art, and Monet fans may like to note that more of the artist's works can be seen in Rouen's Musée de Beaux Arts.

Shopping and dining

Needless to say, in any French city of this size and importance the twin pleasures of shopping and dining are a given consequence! Both are superb in Rouen, with plenty of choice and opportunities to part with cash.

Sports and leisure

If your leisure time is less concerned with shopping and dining and tends more to the sporting, Rouen still has plenty for you. Golfers are well catered for, with excellent courses at the Golf de Rouen La Forêt Verte, and Golf de Rouen (Mont Saint Aignan). Other sports include tennis, swimming, fitness training, squash and many more.

Out and about

If you have seen all there is to see in Rouen, why not take a day trip to nearby Giverny, where you can see the famous gardens that inspired some of Monet's best loved works. It is also possible to make a trip to the beaches of the D-Day landings. It is hard to escape the fact that so much of our history was played out in this locality. Simply travelling around the countryside surrounding Rouen is also fascinating, especially for potential property seekers. Rouen is set in a delightful landscape of rich, rolling fields, historical chateaux and an amazing variety of farm buildings with their timber frames and grey slate roofs.

How to get there

Reaching Rouen is easy. It sits in an ideal position for access by air, (Paris Beauvais, or Caen), boat (Le Havre), or rail, as Rouen has a TGV station. The city is in northern France, and hence easily accessed from the UK in minimal time.

Property prices and availability in and around Rouen

Rouen is an expensive place to buy property, but if you have your heart set on living in this beautiful and historic city you will need to be ready to buy swiftly when a property you like comes onto the market. The foreign property market has not yet really taken hold in Rouen, with most properties belonging to French permanent residents.

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Rouen is situated in the north of France, on the River Seine. It lies in the south of the Seine-Maritime department, very close to the border with the Eure department.

Rouen Property Map


Upper-Normandy Guide

Upper-Normandy Property Map


Seine-Maritime Guide

  Seine-Maritime Map

Population: 106,592

Access: By air: Fly to Paris Beauvais, Paris or Caen. By rail: Eurostar will get you to Paris, then to a TGV to Rouen. By boat: The nearest of the ferry ports is Le Havre, although most are within easy reach.

Economy: As with most large cities, the economy of Rouen is diverse and includes commerce, industry, tourism and a multitude of small concerns.

Interesting fact: The city of Rouen is France's fifth largest port, despite not being on the coast! Rouen, like Paris, is bisected by the River Seine.


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