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Aitre St-Maclou

184 rue Martainville, Rouen, France
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Ranked #12 of 39 Attractions in Rouen
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings, Art Galleries
Description: Former house used for the bodies of plague victims and current site of Rouen's Fine Art Academy.
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131 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Bury, United Kingdom
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

This is an interesting stop on a walking tour of the city centre and its historic highlights. The wood carvings that surround the atrium are macabre to say the least and might give some people nightmares!

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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2014

This is the place to go. An old parish graveyard that had to be adapted to efficient storage and accommodation of bodies over three centuries of at least two bad plague epidemics...the practical, artistic and spiritual sense of history is remarkable. One of the only remaining sites like this in Europe.

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Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
27 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014

This -atrium- was one of the highlights of my visit to Rouen. It used to be a cemetery in the Middle Ages for the victims of the plague but now it houses a fine arts school. Its decoration is very unique and thought provoking. I found it very easily, it's just around the corner from the Saint Maclou church on... More

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Naples, Italy
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
61 attraction reviews
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

I was impressed by the place...even though one can pass without seeing it. The square court surrounded by old buildings ornated with sinister carvings transposed me in old times, when one's life was far more fragile than today...

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Frederick, Maryland
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
24 attraction reviews
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2014

A little hard to find tucked back an alley but it's free and the devilish carving are interesting and make for a nice photo. It's on Rick Steves walking tour.

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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
626 reviews 626 reviews
350 attraction reviews
352 helpful votes 352 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2014

There isn't that much to see at the Aitre St. Maclou - just an ancient courtyard with the surrounding buildings decorated with macabre reminders of the square being used at one time as a burial place for plague victims. Nevertheless, it makes an impression. The skulls carved out of wood are a memento mori, a reminder that only time stands... More

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Cherbourg-Octeville, France
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2014

After the 1348 black death, it became necessary to enlarge the capacity of the cemeteries and the city opted for an ossuary. This was one of the first of this kind: above the ground rather than catacombs. The building are heavily decorated with carved wood (the city was rich during the middle age) Later on, the bones were removed and... More

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London, United Kingdom
5 reviews 5 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2014

Short visit as part of the Rouen's walking tour - pick up a guide at the Tourist Information Office. Very interesting history and while a sad spot, well worth understanding how people dealt with the traumas of the plague.

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Zurich, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2014

Trying to explain to a schoolchild what the plague was and how cities in the Middle Ages dealt with the deceased? This is probably the place. Here you have the original space, truly old and creepy with skulls and different death-related carvings, where the city of Rouen disposed of their death by the hundreds or thousands. Kids will surely pay... More

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Carlinville, Illinois
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
41 attraction reviews
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2013

This was once the site of decomposing bodies, rooms with bones, and now marks a mass grave from the time of the plague. The rooms around the courtyard are grimly decorated with carved wooden skulls, shovels, and skeleton and death motifs. It is difficult to find this site, so be prepared to ask people along the street for directions. It... More

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