Rouen was the
capital of the Duchy of Normandy and still its largest city.
It is quite an industrial city, but the old center retains its medieval charm.
Rouen is where
Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in 1431.
A sign commemorates the spot where she was killed.
Joan was held
in prison in this tower (below left) during her trial and
before her execution, the only part of the medieval castle that survives.
Rouen also has
a beautiful Gothic cathedral, begun in the twelfth century.
For a brief period in the late nineteenth century it was the tallest building in the world.
Unfortunately it was closed the day we visited Rouen, so we weren't able to see the interior.
Some of the cathedral still carries the marks of Allied bombing during World War Two.
In a nearby park
is a modern statue to Rollo the Viking, who settled
at the mouth of the Seine River in France and became the first duke of Normandy.
(The words "Norman" and "Normandy" come from the word "Northmen," meaning Vikings.)
There is also an elaborate Gothic courthouse in Rouen, built in the fifteenth century.
It also bears the marks of the fighting during World War Two.
There were lots of tourists in Rouen, but it was still a very charming place.