The City of Rouen (French) has protected and preserved much of its historic city center with its famous half-timbered houses and many architectural jewels that include the Notre Dame Cathedral, Saint Ouen Abbey, and the Palais de Justice. As you walk though the pedestrian streets of the Port of Rouen’s historic center, you may be walking in the footsteps of Richard the Lionheart, Joan of Arc, writer Gustave Flaubert, dramatist Pierre Corneille, or one of many famous people who have strolled these streets.
Among the most popular attractions in the Port of Rouen is Rouen Cathedral, the subject of a serious of paintings by Claude Monet. A field of wildflowers in the center of la vieille ville marks the spot where Joan of Arc became a martyr. Visitors enjoy climbing to the top of Port of Rouen’a recently-restored Big Clock (Le Gros Horloge). Best known for his novel Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert was born in the Port of Rouen, and you can tour his birthplace to learn about his life and the 19th Century medicine practiced by his father and brother. You can also visit the birthplace of playwright Pierre Corneille, located near the Vieux Marche.
The Abbatiale St-Ouen replaces four churches built on the in the Port of Rouen site over the years. The first church was built in 558 by the King of France, Clotaire II. This breathtaking Gothic building is one of the few great churches in France to be completely finished. Today’s building was started in 1318, and construction continued for two centuries. The building was sacked during the Revolution in 1562 and then used as workshops and a state temple. Closed in 1790, the abbey and monastery were converted to city hall in 1800.