A one-day trip from Paris.
This time, I would like to introduce you to Rouen, France.
There are many tourist destinations in France that can be reached on a day trip from Paris, but among them, Rouen is the one with the shortest travel time, the most affordable cost, and the easiest way to get around.
The city of Rouen is also very compact, so you don’t particularly need to use public transportation to visit.
If you have been to Paris many times and would like to visit a different city once in a while, this is the city for you.
Rouen is such an easy place to visit, but it actually has a lot to offer.
From major spots like Notre Dame Cathedral and Jeanne d’Arc Church, to delicious bakeries and museums….
There is so much to see and do that I think you will really enjoy it.
Let me introduce you to some of the highlights.
- How to get from Paris to Rouen
- GARE SAINT LAZARE
- ROUEN RIVE DROITE
- Sightseeing in Rouen
- Toilets in Rouen
- From Rouen to Paris
How to get from Paris to Rouen
The train departs from PARIS SAINT LAZARE and arrives at ROUEN RIVE DROITE.
It is recommended that you book your tickets in advance through the official Oui SNCF website.
The train departs from Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris at 8:52 a.m. and arrives at Gare Rouen at 10:03 a.m.
GARE SAINT LAZARE
Of all the stations in Paris, Gare Saint-Lazare is the oldest, having opened in 1837.
The station looks a bit nostalgic.
The station is quieter than the North Station, where the TGV and Thalys arrive and depart.
There are not many tourists here, so it’s a great station to enjoy the local atmosphere.
The timetable in the photo is for the evening, but you will see the platform number next to the destination, so head there.
The train we will take to Rouen is the Corail Intercités express train.
This train is full of local atmosphere.
If you look at the ticket I mentioned earlier, you will see that it is marked with COACH and PLACE.
This will be your vehicle number and your seat number.
If you have a ticket with this indication, please board the designated vehicle.
The Corail Intercités, the express train to Rouen, operates two types of trains: those with assigned seats and those without.
If you book on the Oui SNCF website, you can check in advance, but if your ticket shows a train number and seat, you should sit in that train.
For those that do not have a specific seat assignment, you can sit in the seat of your choice in each of the 1st and 2nd class trains.
In contrast to the old-fashioned look of the exterior, the inside of the train was clean and very stylish.
There are toilets between the trains, so it is recommended that you use them before arriving at Rouen station.
After departing from Saint-Lazare station, the train will run along the Seine River.
Depending on the season, I enjoyed the train window surprisingly.
This photo shows the bridge overlooking the cathedral from in front of Rouen station.
You will arrive at Rouen station in 5 minutes.
The trip takes a little over an hour, so you will be there in no time at all.
ROUEN RIVE DROITE
We arrived at the Rouen train station safely and on schedule.
The historic Rouen train station, which opened in 1843, took on its current Art Nouveau look in 1928.
The 37-meter high clock tower on the right is also impressive.
The station has a very high ceiling, giving it a very open feel.
The train station is just straight ahead.
When you arrive, you will feel like you are walking from the back of the photo to the front.
The interior of the station was renovated in the 1970s and features frescoes by Robert Savary.
Robert Savary, born in 1920, is a French painter who has left numerous works in public places.
This painting at Rouen Station is said to be a tribute to the city of Rouen.
Sightseeing in Rouen
Here are the spots we visited this time.
All transportation is on foot.
The distance to be traveled is not very long, so even if you don’t usually walk much, it won’t be a problem.
You may have your own preference for the walking order, but I would recommend seeing the Grand Clock, the Cathedral, and then the Church of Jeanne d’Arc.
Let me give you a brief introduction to the sights.
Donjon de Rouen
Address：Rue Bouvreuil, 76000 Rouen, France
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 16:30~22:00 (Thursday to Friday ~23:30)
As soon as you walk out of the station, this is what you see.
Built in the 13th century, it is a cylindrical building with a dungeon.
Since Jeanne d’Arc was imprisoned there, it is now called Jeanne d’Arc’s Tower.
If you are interested, you can sign up in advance to participate in the escape games that are sometimes held in the building.
Address：Rue du Gros Horloge, 76000 Rouen, France
Business day: Tuesday – Sunday
Opening hours: April – October, 10:00 – 13:00, 14:00 – 19:00
November – March: 14:00 – 18:00
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Rouen.
The Grand Clock of Rouen.
Built around the end of the 14th century, the Gothic bell tower houses a large Renaissance-style clock.
This photo was taken from the cathedral side.
Underneath the dial, the day of the week is represented by a motif held by mythological gods.
The sculptures under the arches are also worth seeing.
It is said to represent the love between Alpheus, the river god, and the fairy Arethusa.
The Grand Clock can be fully appreciated just by looking at it from the outside, but if you have time or interest, I recommend a tour inside.
However, the opening hours are quite specific depending on the season, so it is better to decide in advance when you will visit.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen
Address：Place de la Cathédrale, 76000 Rouen, France
Opening hours: April 1 – October 31, Monday 14:00 – 19:00, Tuesday – Saturday 09:00 – 19:00, Sunday 08:00 – 18:00
Hours: Nov. 1 – Mar. 31, Sunday – Monday 14:00 – 18:00, Tuesday – Friday 09:00 – 18:00 (closed from 12:00 – 14:00), Saturday 09:00 – 18:00
Rouen Cathedral is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Rouen.
1Construction began in 1145 and saw completion in 1250, but the entire cathedral was not completed until 1544.
It is also famous for the painter Claude Monet, who wrote more than 30 works in the 1890s.
Église catholique Saint-Maclou
Address：7 Place Barthélémy, 76000 Rouen, Frane
Opening hours: April 1 – October 31, Sunday – Monday, 10:00 – 18:00 (closed from 12:00 – 14:00)
Opening hours: November 1 – March 31, Sunday – Monday, 10:00 – 17:30 (closed from 12:00 – 14:00)
Closed: Tuesday through Friday, December 25 and January 1
Walk down Rue Bonhetier, the street beside Rouen Cathedral, and you’ll see the Cathedral of Saint-Maclou.
Once you reach the Rue de la Republique, you will see the Cathedral of Saint-Maclou on your right.
Construction of the Cathedral of Saint-Maclou began in 1437 and was completed in 1521.
The Cathedral of Saint-Maclou is not very large, but it is worth a visit for its beautifully carved wooden doors from the Renaissance era and its delicate, detailed Gothic architecture.
The rounded triangular wall section is called tympanum.
It is very finely crafted compared to other cathedrals.
Unfortunately, we were not able to visit the inside of the church this time because it was Friday, but there are some beautiful stained glass windows by Edouard Didron, so if your schedule allows, you should definitely visit the inside.
If you look around from Barthélémy Square in front of Saint-Maclou Cathedral, you will see old wooden buildings.
This area is called the old town of Rouen, so there are many buildings like this gathered here.
The narrow street from Saint-Maclou Cathedral to Saint-Ouen Church is Damyet Street.
This area, known as the Old Town, is lined with old wooden houses.
Damyet Street is also called “Antique Street” because of the many stores that sell antiques.
Walking down this quiet street, you will feel like you are in the Middle Ages.
The Cathedral of Saint-Maclou is in the back.
This is an area that you should definitely explore when you come to Rouen.
The church in the back of the photo is Saint-Ouen Church.
After passing through Damiette Street, this area is a small square with an indescribable atmosphere.
If you have time, there is a café where you can relax for a while.
There is also a little stream.
Address：Place du Général de Gaulle, 76000 Rouen, France
Opening Hours: April 1-October 31, Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-18:00 (closed from 12:00-14:00)
Opening hours: November 1 – March 31, Tuesday – Thursday, Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00 (closed from 12:00 – 14:00)
Closed: Mondays, Fridays, Dec. 25, Jan. 1
The Abbey of Saint-Ouen, founded in 750, was one of the most powerful Benedictine monasteries in Normandy.
The Gothic cathedral that stands today was begun in 1318 and completed in 1537.
The tympanum is also different from the one in Saint-Maclou Cathedral, and has a much heavier impression.
In the photo, there is only one door, but in reality, there is one door on each side, for a total of three doors in a row, which is quite a sight.
A statue of Napoleon stands in the square in front of the church of Saint-Ouen.
There is also a beautifully landscaped park behind the church, which is fun to stroll around on a sunny day.
We were not able to go inside this church, but if you have the time and day, please visit the inside.
It is famous for its beautiful stained glass windows and sculptures, but the biggest attraction is the organ built by Cavaillé-Coll.
Cavaillé-Coll’s organ, known for building the organ for the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, is said to be a revolutionary development in terms of art and technology.
Faïences St Romain
Address：56 Rue Saint-Romain, 76000 Rouen, France
Business hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00~19:00
From Saint-Ouen Church, return to Rue de la Republique and walk towards Rouen Cathedral, then turn into Rue Saint-Roman, a side street of the cathedral.
Walking down this historic street, you will see the Faience Saint Romain on your right.
Faience Saint Romain is a store that sells Rouen pottery, all of which is produced by hand.
If you are looking for a souvenir of Rouen, this is a good place to start, so please take a look.
You can also see how Rouen pottery is made.
Auzou Le Chocolatier Normand
Address：163 Rue du Gros Horloge, 76000 Rouen, France
Business hours: Tuesday-Friday 09:15~19:15 Saturday 08:00~19:15 Sunday 09:00~13:00 Monday 14:00~19:15
Closed: No regular holidays
This store, where macarons are displayed on carts in front of the store, is always crowded with customers.
Of course, there are many cakes, chocolates, and other sweets as well as macarons in the store.
This is a popular store on Rue du Gros Horloge, one of the main streets for sightseeing in Rouen, so be sure to stop by for a sugar fix when you are tired.
Address：6 Place du Vieux Marché, 76000 Rouen, France
Business hours: Tuesday – Sunday 07:30~19:30
Ma Boulangerie is said to be the best bakery in Rouen.
When it’s crowded, you may have to wait for 20 minutes.
From baguettes and croissants to cakes, everything is reasonably priced and very tasty, making it a must-visit store when in Rouen.
You can learn more about Ma Boulangerie here, so please check it out.
Église catholique Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc
Address：Place du Vieux Marché, 76000 Rouen, France
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday, Saturday 10:00-18:00 (closed from 12:00-14:00)
Opening hours: Friday, Sunday 14:00~18:00
Closed: Dec. 25, Jan. 1
1979 The Church of Jeanne d’Arc was built on the Place Ville Marché, where Jeanne d’Arc was executed.
Its shape is very distinctive and was designed by the French architect Louis Arretche.
The stained glass windows inside the building are very impressive, and were originally in the Church of Saint Vincent de Rouen (which disappeared during World War II), but were moved to the Church of Jeanne d’Arc.
Behind the Church of Jeanne d’Arc, there is the market of Rouen.
It’s not that big, but it has all kinds of stores, including a grocery store, a fish shop, a cheese section, and a wine section.
There is a bar where you can have lunch, and it is very crowded at lunch time.
Also, the view from the Place Ville Marché is very strange, with buildings made of wood.
There are many restaurants on the first floor, and during meal times, many tables and chairs are set up in the square, so you may want to have lunch or dinner here.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen
Address：Espl. Marcel Duchamp, 76000 Rouen, France
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Monday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Rouen Art Museum opened in 1801.
Claude Monet’s “Rouen Cathedral” is the most famous, but there are also many other Impressionist works by Gustave Moreau and Degas, as well as religious paintings by Rubens and Fragonard.
One of the most attractive features of the Rouen Museum of Fine Arts is that it has so many works on display, yet admission is free.
The museum itself has more exhibits than you can imagine, so it is recommended that you allow at least an hour or two for your visit.
Please note that there may be a fee for special exhibitions.
Toilets in Rouen
The city of Rouen, like many cities in Europe, does not have a good toilet situation.
There are a few free public toilets in the city, but they are not very hygienic and have been vandalized, so I would not recommend them.
We would like to introduce you to a toilet that can be used safely in such an adverse environment.
The first one is the restroom right next to the Jeanne d’Arc church.
It’s a little confusing, but it’s a relatively clean restroom.
Of course, there is no charge for using this service.
This place is used by many tourists, so the cleaning frequency is rather high, so you can use it with peace of mind.
However, please note that it may not be available between 12:00 and 13:00 due to cleaning time.
It seems that Sunday evenings will also be closed.
And one more thing: the toilets at the Rouen Museum.
These are the cleanest toilets available for free in the city of Rouen.
This is a very nice place to visit because the entrance fee to the Rouen Museum is free.
When you enter the museum, go straight ahead and go down the stairs to the basement.
The above two places are the recommended restrooms, so be sure to combine them well with your sightseeing route.
There are also clean toilets at Rouen station, but of course you have to pay for them.
From Rouen to Paris
Time flies when you’re sightseeing in Rouen.
The back streets are also very fun to walk around.
Here is the return ticket.
There is no seat number listed.
If you don’t see a seat number, you can sit anywhere you like in the first and second class trains, so make sure you sit where you like.
When you get back to Rouen station, check the timetable for the platform.
The platform number is not displayed until about 10 minutes before arrival, so wait here.
The information desk is located on the right side of the room, below the electronic bulletin board.
There is a station kiosk, RELAY, on the left, which is the last place to buy drinks and other items.
However, the prices are high, so it is better to buy them in advance at supermarkets such as Monoprix in the city.
The return train arrived.
The train looked a little different from the one we had taken.
The photo shows a seat in a first-class carriage.
It was a fluffy kind of seat.
It was a little early in the day, so the train was very quiet.
Rouen Cathedral, which can be seen from the bridge across the Seine on the way back as well as on the way there.
It was a wonderful city that I would be happy to visit again.
On the way back, we arrived at the San Lazare station in no time at all.
If you arrive after 4:00 p.m., you will have enough time to go back to the hotel and then go out again.
How was it?
This is a long text, but thank you for staying with me until the end.
Rouen is a compact city with a lot to see and do, so even if I were to write a brief description, it would end up being this much.
This time, the return train left at 2:57 p.m., but overall, it was a good time.
However, except for Rouen Cathedral, we were not able to visit the inside of the cathedral due to the bad day of the week.
Therefore, considering the time needed to visit the interior of the other churches, I think it would be just fine to book a train about an hour later.
If you are considering a trip to Rouen in the future, please take a look at this page.
There are many cities that can be reached on a day trip from Paris, but it is a city that is highly satisfying anyway.
I highly recommend this city, especially for those who are new to the suburbs of Paris, as it is very easy to get around and inexpensive.
I hope this article will be of some help to you in planning your trip.
Thank you for reading to the end.