Nestled in the heart of Normandy, Rouen is a city steeped in history and culture. Known for its medieval architecture, vibrant arts scene, and connections to Joan of Arc, Rouen offers a variety of experiences for travelers. From stunning gothic cathedrals to a modern dining scene, this picturesque city seamlessly blends the old with the new. Here are the top 10 things to do in Rouen that will make your visit unforgettable:

Rouen Cathedral

1. Rouen Cathedral: a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that inspired Claude Monet to spend a year depicting the façade in differing conditions at different times of the year. The towering spire, detailed, intricate stonework, and stained glass windows are a must see.

2. Historic Quarter: the well-preserved medieval quarter with its cobblestone streets and half-timbered and tippy houses will make you feel as though you are stepping back in time. The Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock that dates back to the 14th century and is a highlight of any walk in the area.

 

Gros Horloge

3. The Joan of Arc Historial: a museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Joan of Arc, a French heroine who was canonized as a saint. The museum is situated in the Archbishop’s Palace, where she was tried and executed in 1431.

4. Musée des Beaux-Arts: houses one of France’s most impressive art collections outside of Paris. The museum features works by renowned artists such as Rubens, Caravaggio, and Monet.

5. Rouen Cathedral Light Show: on view in the summer months or during the Christmas season, this spectacular light show brings the façade of the cathedral to life with vibrant colors and intricate animations.

Old Market Square

6. Place du Vieux Marché: the historic market square where Joan of Arc was executed. Today, the square is filled with lively restaurants and cafes, perfect for enjoying local Normandy cuisine.

7. Church of Saint-Maclou: another stunning example of Gothic architecture, known for its flamboyant style and intricate details — worthy of a visit if you have the time.

8. Jardin des Plantes: the city’s botanical garden serves as a peaceful retreat from the city buzz, featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, themed collections, and seasonal blooms.

9. Rouen Opera House: if your schedules align, you may have a chance to see opera, ballet, or symphony performances in a stunning setting.

10. Antique Shopping on Rue Damiette: this charming street is known for its antique shops and art galleries, offering everything from vintage jewelry to classic French decor.

Whatever your interests, and if time allows, Rouen offers a compelling blend of past and present that makes it a must-visit destination in France. Don’t forget to bring a camera and a sense of adventure as you explore all that this beautiful city has to offer.