Rouen was a city on our list to visit because Monet had done a series of Impressionist paintings of the Rouen Cathedral. We wanted to see it in person, and we arrived to fabulous news. Each weekend, the Cathedral is the site of the Rouen Lumiere show – a video presentation using the Cathedral as the backdrop and tabula rasa. Waiting until it was completely dark, the show began at 11 pm, and it exceeded our expectations. In the first photo, you will see the Cathedral as we did in the afternoon. Starting with the fifth photo, wait’ll you see how the church changes with some video enhancement. We have also included three short videos of different parts of the 25-minute show. By the way, even at 11 pm, the plaza in front of the church was jammed with people. We have read that most towns in France have similar shows, using the facade of their largest church, so we will be on the lookout as we travel through the country.
Rouen is also noteworthy as the town where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431 at age 19. There is now a church named for her where it occurred, with ruins outside noting the place as well. Her church is quite striking, dating from 1979, and the windows give it a very modern look; however, they were saved from another church that was bombed in WWII, and actually date from the year 1520.
The Old Town consists of twisting cobblestone paths, with stores and restaurants on both sides. The town has an ancient clock set in a tower that dates to the 14th century – everyone stopped in front of it to watch it for a while, even though it had no moving parts (they looked rusted, understandably), and the time depicted was wrong. That all just added to its charm, as we understood that it was suffering from old age.