That’s the question I asked myself when, on a whim, I decided to take my Viking (Yup, that will be my boyfriend’s nickname on my blog) to the city that saw me become a young adult: Rouen!
I spent 7 years of my life there, but this weekend was the opportunity to rediscover this city. If you want to make a weekend getaway from Paris, this article is for you!
Going to Rouen
Nothing could be simpler, I recommend the train, or the bus for the practical side, but also ecological.
A return trip by train can cost you 30 euros, or 10 euros per person with Blablabus (formerly Ouibus) if you get there early enough.
Where to eat ?
The credo is “mock beautifully, eat healthy”. It is in this place with a shop with ethical objects, but also that one also wants to exhibit at home. Ideal to offer yourself something!
But what first attracted me was the “healthy eating” part, I love discovering new spots, and the instagram of the place had already aroused my curiosity.
We opted for the brunch formula at 18 euros: A sweet or salty dish, a juice and a hot drink, for the most greedy, there is a two-course formula (sweet or salty)
I chose the Shakshukah and my Viking chose avocado Toast. He was pleasantly surprised by the ultra gourmet slice of bread and the texture of the avocado. Moreover, he looks at the picture again and says “Aaaah! it was good!”). While me, I liked the different flavors, and the very fair cooking. It was perfect 👌🏻
Station Service – 44 46 Allée Eugène Delacroix, 76000 Rouen
It will be open on Sundays after the lockdown ! YEAH!
Citizen Coffee : Another of my favourite spots in Rouen. This is the spot that created my love for (almost) every Coffee Shop. I often went there for iced coffee, to devour a slice of cheesecake, and enjoy the terrace in summer. Aaaah old good times…
Citizen Coffee – 4 Rue de l’Écureuil, 76000 Rouen
La Petite Bouffe:
In the evening, remember to book in advance if you want to enjoy a good home-made meal with a menu of starter, main course, cheese, dessert at 20 euros!
I had a revelation with homemade mashed potatoes with olive oil many years ago, and I can confirm that it is still the case, it’s so good!
At lunchtime you can find very tasty sandwiches and boxes. Ideal if you want to eat all this in a park, or in the gardens of the town hall.
AVOID, the Prelude Café, if the bowls are unstable, the service was very long when there was little cutlery, the sweet potatoes which had to be hot or warm (compared to the table next to it) arrived cold, and the tea seemed to have been reheated rather than prepared on demand.
It has at least the merit of being the first and only place I don’t recommend here…
You might like : Dame Cakes, near Cathedrale de Rouen, it’s the perfect place for tea time, but I Think you would like to see something different. For lunch, go to La régalière, where you’ll find salted crepes from Brittany.
To see and do
Visit the Big Clock (Le Gros Horloge) : I often saw a queue to enter the Big Clock, I had to wait until I left to live elsewhere to try the experience.
And it was the best visit I made this weekend!
I love having historical factual walks, but also learning new things and being able to take pictures.
However, I thought the tour would be short, but in the end we stayed almost an hour. Armed with an audio-guide and your curiosity, you will walk through the different rooms of the Big Clock.
Here’s a wee preview of the visit.
And at the very top, you will have a great panorama of Rouen (more accessible than the Côte Sainte Catherine), hoping that you have a better weather than us, but we were dazzled all the same (and with this little mist, I found the atmosphere of Edinburgh that I like so much!).
Visiting the Big Clock – 8 euros
The Ironwork Museum (aka Le Musée de la Ferronerie – Le Secq des Tournelles):
Some people collect stamps, some people collect bad love experiences, well Henri Le Secq collected ironwork. In this museum you will find part of his collection, keys, locks, costume pieces and everyday objects.
If you like beautiful objects from the past, and beautiful monuments you will love this museum, indeed, it is located in a former church.
Visit the Museum – Open from 14h to 18h – Free entrance
See an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts :
Indeed, very regularly the Museum of Fine Arts hosts exhibitions, if they are paying exhibitions, you will be able to access the permanent collections free of charge. My Viking found that for the quantity of works, it was worth visiting this museum! He liked the cinema exhibition that we went to see but he would have liked it to be a little bigger though.
Museum of Fine Arts from 11am to 6pm – Free entrance
Visit the most beautiful cathedral in France :
Yes, I have a chauvinistic streak! If it is majestic, in the past one could access the statues of saints and kings, which is no longer the case. However, I advise you to go there to see that it has nothing to envy to the one in Reims 🙂
Also…do that :
St. Maclou’s Cloister St. Maclou’s is, in spite of its history, a soothing place. Attention, it’s closed on weekends for the moment!
Visit the historical Joan of Arc and the XXL Panorama A ticket coupled to 15th to live in a completely different time.
Go for a stroll in Old Town, and continue on to the Antiquarian district, to take photos and imagine how the people of Rouen lived there a few centuries ago.
Where can I sleep?
To me, Airbnb which is the most affordable solution if, like us, you have a small budget. There are many hotels in Rouen, but often in the very traditional style, or modern and typical of the big hotels companies, and also more expensive.
Rouen is a small town, if you are located on the right bank, you will be steps away from things to visit. Just find your accommodation in a cute little street in the centre, and voilà!
However be careful, Rouen is an old lady, and many accommodations are not at all well isolated, so avoid busy streets (rue du Gros Horloge and rue de la République for example).
There you go! I hope you enjoyed this City Guide! If you have good spots to share, and suggestions for visits, leave me a comment 🙂