The car rented for the first part of the trip and we are off to Rouen, with a little side trip on the way that we will address next post.
All went well on our drive until it was time to arrive. Planning our trip was easy on paper, but logistics sometime put a cog in the works. If we had decided to take the train to our first few stops, we could have easily walked ro our next Airbnb flat, as it was just around the corner from the train station, but driving to our flat took some work! You see there was road work and our GPS insisted on taking us up a steep hill and turn on the desired street we were to arrive on….let’s just face it! We were in a mess and horribaly lost…an elderly French lady was speaking loudly and waving her hand telling us yes, you have fouled up, and no! You cannot go this way! Luckily, I had my phone in hand and was speaking to our hostess in broken French…. “we cannot get through on this street! ” and our hostess just could not understand why! A younger woman was arriving at her home on her bicycle about the same time and I waved my phone madly as the elder lady proceeded to explain our problem. I asked her if she would speak to my hostess and appraise her of the delema, to help solve the problem. This woman, this angel asked if she could get in our car and take us to our destination. We had to drive through the train station underground parking lot and maneuver our way around through one way streets just two blocks away! As we arrived, the woman greeted our hostess, wished us good travels, and dissapped around the corner! What a blessing it was for her to go out of the way to get us to our place! After settling in we enjoyed our stay.
Rouen has charming Gothic architecture, and is known for it’s half-timbered houses, and Notre Dam Cathedral, landmark of art history, painted several times throughout Monet’s life capturing light in nature’s many moods.
This town is also remembered for it’s trial and burning of France’s heroine of supreme faith who won the confidence of her countrymen and led the French army against English invaders.She was captured by the English and tried later for witchcraft, because of hearing voices directing her divinely, and refusing to reject her beliefs. Burned at the stake, her last words were Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Twenty four years later, France proclaimed her trial illegal and beatified by the Catholic Church in 1909 and canonized in 1920 as Saint Joan of Arc. Right down the block from our apartment stands the white medieval tower where she was imprissoned during her trial. A modern church was built and completed in 1979 , and gives a beautiful peaceful feel as you sit and contemplate life then and now. There are beautiful 16th century stain glass windows that were salvaged from a church that was destroyed during WWll. They really add to the charm and peace felt while there, as well as the candle lit branches people add to offer up prayers for loved ones.
The clock tower 1528, is really the most impressive sight, with it’s gold trimmings and the chiming of the Notre Dam bells
and clock tower keep the shoppers on time for their appointments for the day.
If one has never been to this city, I heartily incourage at least a stopover to see the history Rouen has to offer the visitor.