Monday, June 1, 2009

More Travel Pics: Rouen

Rouen was adorable, full of little gingerbread houses like the ones shown above. This is a style of building called half timbered construction. The walls are filled in between the timbers, rather than a modern building where the walls are installed inside and outside of the frame.

Unfortunately, medieval folk weren't the best builders... that or those bombs dropped during WWII were powerful enough to knock the buildings helter-skelter:

And make tiny, narrow passageways buckle and become even more narrow:

These homes were built in the 16th century around a courtyard that was once a burial ground (or dumping ground) for plague victims. The wood is carved into skulls and shovels, doesn't take too much imagination to think of why. Now it's home to an art school.

Rouen of course is also famous for it's cathedral, which Monet painted many, many times. Unfortunately I couldn't get a full picture of the façade because the plaza in front of it is pretty small and not good for photos, but here are a couple:

The cathedral is the final resting place of the heart of Richard the Lionheart, which apparently merited a full sized tomb. Here's the face of that famous crusader:

And of course, who could for get that Rouen is also famous as the place where Joan of Arc was tried and burnt at the stake by the English. The Place du Marché where she was burned is now lined with crappy tourist trap restaurants, post card stands, and even a wax museum of her story, and also houses a very modern church built for her. This is a fountain that is part of the church, doesn't it look like a dragon?

And the Tour Jeanne d'Arc, originally part of the now long gone castle of Phillip Augustus (a buddy and probably one-time lover of Richard Coeur de Lion)

My analysis: definitely worth a visit, though maybe not much more than a day trip. It's only an hour and a half from Paris by train. Don't forget to compost your ticket!


shannon said...

Someone told me about that rode in Rouen... the one with the crooked buildings! He told me that walking down the street sober makes you feel drunk, and walking down it drunk makes you feel sober. LOL.

Animesh said...

lovely pics!
And maybe the roofs are like that so people can climb up to the top in case the water rises? :)

au soleil levant said...

Shannon - funny guy. It's not just one street, actually, but spread out alllll over the old city.

Animesh - good thought, I guess they started preparing for global warming several hundred years ago!