After spending more than a few days indoors over Christmas and visiting Honfleur the previous day, I was keen to head out again and check out more of the Normandy region. Time restrictions meant that we couldn’t go too far out to explore, so I settled for Rouen, a lovely city which I had visited once before, during my last visit to Normandy.
Rouen, the capital of the Upper Normandy region is located by the River Seine in the north of France. We arrived at the centre of the city in the mid-afternoon after a 45 minute drive due to a slow start that day as we bade farewell to J’s sister. As we are still in the middle of winter, the sun was already on its way down, it was freezing cold and it wasn’t long before the dark began to set in (which meant time for christmas lights!).
We started by walking through Place du Vieux Marché, the site of Joan of Arc’s pyre and the church of Saint Joan of Arc, towards the shops overlooking the church.
After a quick spot of window shopping, we continued on towards the arch holding the Gros Horloge (an astronomical clock dating back to the 16th century), and onto the Gros Horloge street.
The street leads towards one of Rouen’s most famous sights, the Notre Dame cathedral.
As you can see, works are ongoing on the cathedral where they’ve been steadily scrubbing up the exterior, restoring it to its former glory. We were however, distracted by the numerous christmas market stalls spread out around the base of the cathedral.
Browsing through the shops, feeling a little cold, we were quickly enticed by the smell of deep-frying croustillons all around us. We bought a bag of 20 to share between us, all of which disappeared very quickly!
Having our bellies filled with fried dough didn’t stop us from salivating at the sight of chocolately beignets. I mean, look at them! We somehow managed to resist though. 😛
We continued walking through the city centre, admiring the christmas decorations, local delicacies and fresh food produce.
We didn’t stay out much longer after that as it was bitterly cold that evening and no amount of vin chaud, hot chocolate or deep-fried pastries could keep us outdoors. It was therefore a short visit to Rouen this time around, but I was pleased to revisit it nonetheless during christmas time. 🙂
Have you ever been to Rouen? What are your favourite christmas markets in Europe?