Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

27 May - Rainy in Rouen

Abbatiale Saint-OuenWhat a beautiful city! After breakfast this morning we headed to Rouen, to see the cathedral Monet had painted so many times, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, and assorted lesser churches that, without the famous cathedral right there, would each seem pretty substantial. L'Abbeye is particularly beautiful, and had organ and trumpet concerts scheduled for this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon for the Pentecost. The Museum (fine arts) had some fantastic exhibits, quite varied, including lots of medieval art and good impressionist painting. My favourite room contained several paintings of Joan of Arc in a row, capped off by a '70s photo of a woman dressed in a suit of armor portraying Joan of Arc.

We had a lunch I enjoyed in between the museum and the cathedral (knowing that, on a Sunday, there was no point in our showing up during the weekly mass), but no one else seemed as impressed. My parents each had a large salad and split a Crocque Monsieur, a grilled sandwich with ham and cheese; I had a Crocque something-else starting with M... with bacon and chêvre (goat cheese) and really enjoyed it. I also had a Loburg, a Belgian blond beer. The place also had Leffe on tap, which I'd enjoyed so much yesterday at the Brasserie, but given the opportunity to try a new one, I felt I had to. The Leffe was a very yeasty beer, but Loburg wasn't that exciting. Kinda like Heineken, and not in a good way.

On the way back to the car, we went through the Vieux Marché, the old marketplace square where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake about 800 years ago. There's a large, faintly Norse building in the square now, reminiscent of a sailboat, that contains both an indoor market and a church. Outside this building is a massive cross erected on the "exact" spot where Joan of Arc was actually burned.

Tarte Tatin in RouenI doubt any of the buildings currently surrounding that square were actually there at the time, but enough of them look old enough that it's plausible that the square has remained where it is for many centuries, and that lots of buildings were built around it in an organized way.

We left Rouen a bit too early to consider having dinner there first, since we hadn't eaten lunch until after 1 and had had a snack (well, I had a tarte tatin flambée, and everyone tasted it) in between. We looked around a bit on the way back to the hotel, including spotting a few things in Elbeuf, the only major town in between the village we're staying in and Rouen. I'd be perfectly happy to eat at the kebab place we saw, or the nice place 11 kilometers north of there recommended in the Michelin, but from the list of nearby restaurants the TomTom knows about, the hotel owner suggested Le 1900, which he says is a decent grill-type place.
Tags: france

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