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Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Rouen
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Ranked #1 of 79 things to do in Rouen
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Owner description: This stunning Gothic structure is considered by some to be the town's most important architectural landmark.
Reviewed June 2, 2014

It is under renovation at this time. We were able to go inside and it is lovely, with very interesting tombs and windows. It is not fully restored from WW II.

Thank volladylin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 1, 2014

Nothing specific to like or dislike - an average cathedral. Good landmark for getting your bearings.

Thank Caroline G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2014

I have seen a lot of churches / cathedrals but there was something about this one that really captivated me. Yes, it's huge which is always impressive, but it's not gaudy. In fact, that's what I liked so much about it. It was just a massive, wide-open church. There weren't even that many chairs/pews on the floor. It really let you appreciate the size and space. Also, I caught a petite concert (organ and trumpet) which was great and it seems like the church has quite a few of those throughout the month. All free of course. NOTE: churches in Rouen seem to all be closed from 12:00 to 14:00 so be aware of that for your itinerary. Definitely visit!

Thank musket_trip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2014

Rouen is about 202 river miles from Paris and 75 river miles from the sea. It is the capital of Upper Normandy, and is the furthest East that we are allowed to go with a ship without a rudder (rest of the river is highly influenced by the English Channel as the tide changes four times a day.

We went on a walking tour of the Medieval quarter. Turns out this section of France was invaded by the Vikings leader, Rollo in the 9th century and in exchange for providing protection from others West & North of France folks from invading the country the king of France gave this section of the country to the Vikings =North Man = Norse Man = Normandy (that’s how the area got its name). These settler kings soon became known as the Dukes of Normandy, and set up toll booths for imposing fees for ships / boats passing on the river Seine.

This section of mainland Europe became highly contested between the Emperors of England and France between the 11Th and 15TH century. Joan of Arc; a 17 year old farm girl received instruction from God towards fighting off the English, thus she took up arms with the solders, but in 1431 she was (for this or that reason = something to do with how she was imprisoned in the men’s section of the prison) condemned by the church as being a witch & heretic. She was tried and convicted and burned at the stake in the market place and her ashes dumped into the Seine. Thirty years later the French reopened her case and reversed the verdict identifying she was not a witch, and now she is a saint (based on her interfacing with “instructions from God). ----- Well that is the best Tom can recall within our tour guides talk = She had a very “hard to followed” French accent with her English outline to us.

Rouen was heavily bombed during the war, but more then 800 of its half-timber houses remain along with the magnificent Cathedral Our Lady (Notre-Dame). Half-timber houses use large square (approximate 6”X6”) timbers (some straight, some crooked) for the basic four to six story house structures. The 6X6 timbers are spaced about 12” apart and the space in-between is filled with less expensive material (such as rocks / bricks / mud / mortar) which receives an external plastering (on the stuff in-between the timbers). During construction they tended to LEAN the houses out over the streets (to allow block and tackle to bring up stores / furnishings / etc. to the upper stories. This looks like a grand idea, but when you get to the end of a block of houses everything is leaning either left or right thus looking like a bunch of drunken carpenters had put this all together.

Monet used a lot of the views of this town and the river in his paintings.

We viewed the Gros Horloge, an intricate astronomical clock dating back to the 16th century with its gold façade, then entered the gothic CATHEDRAL Notre-Dame. The cathedral originally had a wooden spire that was replaced with a wrought Iron one which the people HATED, as they pictured wrought Iron with factories and thus now what they were accustom to. Once completed this structure was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of Claude Monet's paintings. The city and two sides of the Cathedral were damaged by Allied bombing prior to D day and the locals were VERY UPSET that such a decision was made to bomb the town areas. The Cathedral was finally put back together and opened in 1958, but in 1968 the wrought iron tower fell into the church nave 60 minutes fore church services were to start and thus none was hurt. The spire was returned to original height and reinforced (Toms opinion = with a lot of bubble gum and bailing wire.

The Cathedral is one of the best we have seen so far on either of the riverboats as it is MASSIVE and very ornate inside. We only spent about 15 minutes inside but if you were on your own (without a guide to give you inside information) you would need a good hour to visit the MASSIVE structure.

We visited the old market place where Joan of Arc was put to death (burnt at the stake), and the large MODERN church (French do not like this modern structure). Our tour guide told us the parish priest noted he is not happy with the stain glass windows (saved in 1938 before the German invasion) from the former church) distracting the parishioners during his sermon.

We made our own way back to the ship and had lunch. At 2 PM the four of us went out for our own exploring in the town. Oh what a fun time as we did our own exploring through the town. Barb and Yvonne purchased some real neat sport walking shoes and Rich and Tom bought some REALY neat “JUNE Sixth” colorful European underwear.

Checked out a few very large elaborate Gothic churches (like cathedral size back home) and found them locked up with an appearance of not being used. Talking to the tour director she identified that the Catholic Church is strapped for money and concentrate their operation within Note Dame and the Joan of Arc church, thus some of these ornate structures are more or less just shut down. She also informed us that the French Catholics usually only go to church about twice a year (Christmas and Easter), thus there is little to support the Catholic churches other then the various activities the sisters and monks do (example one monk monastery builds computer chips).

1  Thank Tommy599
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2014

Every time we make a trip to Europe we use the Rick Steves tour guides which always include the great cathedrals bur it always amazes me to see what could be accomplished with out modern tools and machinery. Just fantastic, we have been to dozens, all just a little different but all beautiful.

Thank bpm5515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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