City Tour – Rouen, France

After organising Passenger Locator forms and Day 2 COVID tests, we had finally completed all the admin to be able to get home. We could therefore have a nice final day of touring in Rouen. The marina on the Seine that we are staying on is a 2 mile walk from the historic quarter of Rouen, so we set off along the river. Another of France’s enormous rivers, there is some heavy dock cranes and dry docks on the river side and many immaculate looking 100m long cargo boats moored up along our route along the river. For a water based job, river delivery must be one of the nicest we muse as we walk along. We have ready quite a bit in the past about people who tour the continent just via the river and canal network and it sounds idyllic… perhaps another adventure for the future!

We soon arrive at Rue Jeanne d’Arc and head up into the old quarter. Due to admin jobs etc it is heading to lunch by the time we arrive and we head towards the Place du Vieux Marché (Old Market). The square is at the end of the old main thoroughfare the Rue de Gros Horlage (Street if the big clock) was where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for heresy in 1431. Today it has a very modern looking Église Jeanne d’Arc church (1979) with undulating fish scale roof and traditional market with fruit, vegetables, cheeses, meats etc. The Rue de Gros Horlage and many of the side roads off it is really well preserved with tall timber fronted Tudor era houses leaning in across the road ahead. We marvel at the twisted wood and age-bent timbers still maintaining the structures 500 years + since they were built.

I have spotted a top reviewed fishmongers with attached restaurant bar the Comptoir des Halles in the market and Kevin is keen to try. The fishmongers is amazing and even Kevin, who is an ex-fisherman has never seen such a great display of fish. We get one of the last spots at the seafood breakfast bar type arrangement and Kevin chooses between the seafood feasts on display. He is very happy as he declares it is one of the best he has had in France so far, high praise indeed after our extensive research in this area!

We move on to a Thai lunchtime place for a vegan meal for me but for reasons unclear, in this restaurant my COVID pass is scanned but declared invalid, despite having been valid 1 hour earlier. Luckily, we find a much nicer independent Poke Bowl place in a lovely old side street a few moments later. We spend the afternoon wondering through the old quarter, we visit the Palais de Justice which was heavily bombed in WWII but has been amazingly well restored.

The Gros Horlage is a gilded clock above a Renaissance archway. The Cathédrale Notre Dame, built between the 12th and 16th centuries is spectacular and apparently the subject of a series of Monet paintings. The stone carvings are incredibly intricate, looks almost like lacework, hard to imagine this been carved from a hard brittle material.

After a few miles of walking, we are ready to head back to Clouline. We manage to pick a route to collect more seafood from the fishmongers on our way back. Breaking the journey with a drink in one of the many café bars along the shore. There is a wide promenade and we watch the commuters on rollers skates, bicycles, electric scooters, hover boards and walkers making their journeys while we reflect of the last few weeks of our own journey.

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