Rouen - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

July 26, 2022 to July 27, 2022

Rouen

I traveled to Rouen by train, arriving mid-afternoon and spent the remainder of the day wandering through a maze of timbered buildings and visiting the Notre-Dame- de-l'Assomption Cathedral of Rouen. The Cathedral is known not only for its 151 meter Lantern spire, the tallest in France, but also through the 30 paintings by Claude Monet of the Cathedral’s western portal (recent story in the Washington Post about Monet’s Cathedral series).  The pictures and information contained in the comments below are just a fraction of what one might glean from a visit to the most impressive Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen.  

The two-hour train ride from Paris to Rouen was the just about the easiest train ride with Vivien George I’d ever taken – I rolled her onto the car, panniers still attached, and down a small ramp to the bike space. An added bonus were elevators at both stations.
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Rouen is a city full of timbered buildings, in colors that span the rainbow
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The west facade of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Rouen, with the top of the Lantern Tower visible in the back. The cathedral was damaged in 1999 by a severe storm that resulted in a 26-ton turret crashing into the cathedral, causing damage to both the Lantern Tower and the choir. Both are undergoing repair and restoration, as evidenced by a white covering on the Lantern Tower spire and interior scaffolding erected over the apse.
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Chapel of the Virgin
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The Librarians' Stairs - located on the North transept, they once led to the library and archives
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View to the South transept and the extensive scaffolding over the apse
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Statue of prophet, one of the many statues located along aisle surrounding the choir.
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Statues of saints and apostles - many of these were originally on the West front façade but were considered too fragile or damaged to be put back once the West facade had been restored. Instead, they were replaced by copies.
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Saint Peter - presumably with the keys to the kingdom
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Statue of Joan of Arc located in the Chapel of Saint Joan of Arc. The statue depicts her burning alive in Rouen on May 30, 1431, at 19 years of age.
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There was blue sky and some sunshine when I emerged from my visit to the Cathedral interior.
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Keith AdamsI can think of two or three possible explanations for the differing colors of stone. Is any of them correct? 1) Different sources / quarries. 2) Same quarry, different times. (That's the explanation for the color change about 1/3 of the way up the Washington Monument in DC, for example.) 3) Cleaning in progress.
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1 week ago
Susan CarpenterTo Keith AdamsDing! Ding! The correct answer is #1 - the stone in the Tour de Buerre was sourced from different quarries.
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1 week ago
The West facade of the Cathedral, with the Tour Saint Romain to the left and the Tour de Beurre to the right, along with numerous pinnacles, porches and countless statues. The lack of symmetry on West facade is said to make the Notre Dame Cathedral in Rouen “the most human of cathedrals”
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A closer look above the central portal of the West facade
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Keith AdamsThe amount of finicky detail is almost overwhelming, isn't it?
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1 week ago
Ornaments on roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral - Saint George slaying the dragon, and town's people dancing with joy
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More of the roof ornaments
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Scott AndersonDelightful. Presumably a more modern addition?
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1 week ago
Susan CarpenterTo Scott AndersonActually, these decorations date back to the 16th century when they were added during renovations following a huge fire in 1514 that destroyed most of the Cathedral roofs. They stood for more than 300 years, but were damaged by another fire in 1822, and the allied bombings of Rouen during WWII. The roof ornaments are currently being replaced as part of the ongoing restoration subsequent to the storm damage in the 1999 when a turret crashed through the roof. And yes, they are delightful!
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1 week ago

The next morning I took a hike to Côte Sainte-Catherine, a promontory on the east side of the city which offers a panoramic view of Rouen, the Seine and the surrounding countryside. It was also from this vantage point that in 1892 Monet painted “Vue générale du Roue”, prior to beginning work on his Cathedral series. I did a little more sightseeing before and after a wonderful lunch at Café Hamlet, located in Aître Saint-Maclou, the former cemetery of the Church of Saint-Maclou.

Passing the Church of Saint-Maclou on the way to Côte Sainte-Catherine
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View of Rouen and Seine from Côte Saint-Catherine
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East facade and towers of Notre Dame Cathedral on left, with the Church of Saint-Maclou is in the foreground to the right of center
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Keith AdamsThat photo certainly highlights the difference in scale between the two churches, doesn't it?
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1 week ago
Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen
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Timbered buildings of Rouen
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Detail of a timbered building, dated 1664
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Walking down Rue de l'Horlogue toward Notre Dame Cathedral
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Le Gros Horloge, a 14th century astronomical clock that sits on a Renaissance arch
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Place du Vieux-Marché
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Church of Saint Joan of Arc, with large cross located where she was burned at the stake
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Interior of the Church of Saint Joan of Arc
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I found it a bit ironic that people are encouraged to light votive candles to honor someone burned alive
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Another view of the exterior of the Church of Saint Joan of Arc, designed by architect Louis Arretche. According to Wikipedia, "the sweeping curves are meant to evoke both the flames that consumed Joan of Arc and an overturned longship". I thought that the structure also resembled a helmet that was worn during ancient battles
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Keith Adams"Modern" religious architecture just doesn't hold a candle to Gothic, IMO.
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1 week ago

Well, I promised there would be cycling. None by me, but I did run into three women from Spain who had just started their tour down the west coast of France. We all agreed that Rouen was a wonderful town, but we were eager to hit the road.

Three Basque cyclists from San Sebastián, Spain on a tour along the west coast of France. Miren, a cardiologist, Ainhoa, an environmental scientist, and Garni, a teacher, have been touring together for more than a decade
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Scott AndersonAinhoa! That’s the name of one of my favorite Basque villages. Interesting naming your daughter after a town, if that’s what happened here.
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1 week ago

Today's ride: 5 miles (8 km)
Total: 1,867 miles (3,005 km)

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Scott AndersonOh, OK. I see we didn’t see everything interesting in northern France. I guess we’ll just have to go back.
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1 week ago
Susan CarpenterTo Scott AndersonI hear mid-September is a fine time to cycle in northern France :)
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1 week ago
Suzanne GibsonGreat theme for a tour!
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1 week ago