1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024 1
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1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to a perfect one day in Rouen itinerary. If you haven’t explored France before, you might not know that much about Rouen. Well, Rouen is one of my favorite small cities in the whole world, so allow me to introduce you to its charms.

Rouen is in the region Normandy, just a short train trip west of Paris. Normandy was extremely powerful in the Middle Ages. After all, King William I of England, aka William the Conqueror, was from this region.

Rouen is famous for its gorgeous medieval architecture, fascinating history, and delicious apples. We’ll learn about all of this and more on our fantastic one day in Rouen itinerary. Let’s go!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: One Day in Rouen Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
ROUEN WALKING TOUR
✔️ Expert local guide
✔️ Tons of fun facts

#2 PICK

1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024 3

D Day Beaches Tour
✔️ Made for history buffs
✔️ Personalized experience

#3 PICK

1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024 4

ALL OTHER ROUEN TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

one day in rouen itinerary

One Day in Rouen Itinerary

Morning: Explore Rouen

As I mentioned up top, Rouen is famous for its gorgeous medieval architecture. Unless you live in Normandy, you’re not going to have a chance to find buildings like this anywhere else. So I think one of the best things to do on any one day in Rouen itinerary is just walk around and appreciate how lucky you are to be in such an amazing city.

However, you’ll probably want a little specific guidance on some of the prettiest and most interesting buildings from someone (me) who has actually been to Rouen. I’m more than happy to oblige.

I do also recommend taking this guided tour of the city, which, as you can see from the photos is tons of fun.

Check rates and availability by clicking here.

Then get ready for…

Approximately Top 5: One Day in Rouen Itinerary

one day in rouen itinerary
1) Gros Horloge

The Gros Horloge, aka the Chubby Clock, is arguably the prettiest sight in all of Rouen. It’s actually an astronomical clock, so if you look closely, it will tell you more than the time; it will also show you the phases of the moon, things of that nature.

This clock actually dates back to the 14th century, which makes it even older than my grandmother. It doesn’t seem to be actually working at the moment, but hopefully they will fix it soon, otherwise no one in Rouen will be able to tell what the moon looks like.

one day in rouen itinerary

It is a little funny that there are chain stores flanking this historic medieval clock, but that’s pretty typical for Rouen. And don’t forget to walk underneath the clock.

one day in rouen itinerary

And look up as you do!

one day in rouen itinerary
2) Aitre Sainte Maclou

This spot is a little more off the beaten track than the Gros Horloge. In fact, while I always saw a goggle of tourists huddling around the clock, the Aitre Sainte Maclou was much less crowded, which makes it an excellent spot to visit on your one day in Rouen itinerary.

You might be wondering what an aitre is, if you are anything like me. This area was actually used as a burial ground during the Black Death, when a horrifying proportion of Rouen’s citizens died. If you look closely at the walls, you’ll probably see a clue that this was once a burial ground…

See the skeletons? Pleasant nightmares!

one day in rouen itinerary
3) Rouen Cathedral

Rouen Cathedral is the absolute number one must visit place on your one day in Rouen itinerary. I mean, if you only had one hour in Rouen instead of 24 hours, you should definitely come here. The main reason that Rouen Cathedral is famous is that Claude Monet, the legendary Impressionist, made many paintings of its exterior.

But, unlike Monet, we don’t have to stay stuck on the outside with only our paintbrushes and our beret for company! Let’s head inside.

one day in rouen itinerary

The first thing you might notice about this cathedral is that it’s very long. I feel like this would be an enjoyable place to get married if you had an almost endless train like Maria from The Sound of Music.

one day in rouen itinerary

And of course, like any good medieval cathedral, it’s full of stained glass windows. Many of the windows were damaged during World War II, but they have been restored so that I could not tell the difference. But perhaps you can tell the difference, if you are a doctor of stained glass window science.

one day in rouen itinerary
4) Joan of Arc’s Church

Now, you might look at this church and feel a little confused. After all, Joan of Arc is probably the most famous person to spend much time in Rouen. (She was famously from Orleans, but Rouen is where she was executed for heresy.)

However, since you are a highly educated person, you know that she was executed in medieval France, and the church above is definitely not medieval. What gives?

Well, Joan of Arc’s Church was built in the 1970s, which is only medieval if you are part of Generation Z. However, Joan of Arc wasn’t actually declared a saint by the Catholic Church until the 1920s, so it makes sense that it took a long time before her church got built.

I can’t help but think that misogyny plays a whole part in the reason Joan wasn’t declared a saint for such a long time, but then misogyny plays a large part in the whole Joan of Arc story in general.

one day in rouen itinerary

The church still has stained glass windows, even though it isn’t a medieval church. And though the windows date from the 1970s, there’s no disco dancing or cocaine in any of them.

I know because I checked. Thoroughly.

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of the tour that I can share for now. You’ll have to book the tour for yourself to find out the rest.

Check rates and availability right here!

one day in rouen itinerary
5) Lunch at Les Fils a Maman Rouen

At this point, you’ll probably be getting peckish, so I suggest stopping for lunch at Les Fils a Maman Rouen, which roughly translates to Mother Rouen’s Sons.

I’m not sure if Maman or her sons are doing the cooking, but either way, this steak frites was delicious, and just the perfect size for lunch. The French really are the best at making sure their portion sizes are just right.

one day in rouen itinerary

You can get a set lunch menu, which comes with a dessert. I recommend the panna cotta, which is not too sweet and so light that you’ll still have room for dinner.

And if my food photos aren’t enough to convince you, how about this picture of my view during my lunch?

one day in rouen itinerary

Yes, I literally took this photo from my seat.

one day in rouen itinerary

One Day in Rouen Itinerary

Afternoon: Musee des Beaux Arts Rouen

Every city I have visited in France has a fine art museum. I mean, it’s France, they’re kind of known for their appreciation of beautiful objects. And the Musee des Beaux Arts in Rouen is one of the best French museums I have ever been to.

Their collection isn’t necessarily full of the most famous artists in the world, but they have a few notable treasures, and the collection is well organized. It was also free to visit when I went. There are too many amazing pieces for me to show you everything, but I will be happy to share with you…

Three Fascinating Facts: Musee des Beaux Arts Rouen

one day in rouen itinerary
1) What are the most famous works in the museum?

The Impressionist collection seemed like the most impressive part of the museum, at least to my untrained eyes. Of course, they had to have one of Monet’s paintings of Rouen Cathedral. I mean, it would be a crime if Paris got to keep all of them.

one day in rouen

And here we have another Impressionist painting of Rouen, this time by Camille Pissarro. This is a depiction of a bridge in Rouen. I don’t think I actually crossed this bridge or saw it when I was in Rouen, but maybe it’s been demolished. Or perhaps it just looks different now. I’m not an expert on Norman bridges.

one day in rouen itinerary

If you want a painting that isn’t by a French Impressionist, check out this image of Democrite by Velasquez. This is a portrait of the ancient Greek scientists Democritus. (The museum docent notes take pains to point out that Velasquez was painting in Spain in the 17th century and never met Democritus, so this is an imaginary portrait.)

The portrait also shows Democritus’s (imaginary) sense of humor and his (imaginary) fondness for globes. I also like laughter and globes, so I hope someone does an imaginary portrait like this for me after I am dead, only with much better hair.

one day in rouen itinerary
2) Is there any other Rouen specific art?

Yes! When I visited, there was an exhibit on art about Joan of Arc. There was everything from classic depictions of her imprisonment, like this painting by Paul Delaroche…

one day in rouen itinerary

to this much more modern photograph of her. (Once again, this portrait is imaginary. Photography hadn’t been invented when Joan of Arc was alive.)

I do wonder what Joan would make of the fact that she is so honored in the city where she was hideously burned alive. It’s not even her hometown! I mean, if I go to Chicago and I get burned alive there, and then they try to erect a church in my honor, I am going to say that it’s a day late and a dollar short. But maybe this is why I am not a saint.

one day in rouen itinerary
3) What was your favorite work in the museum?

How nice of you to ask, Internet Stranger! I knew we would be friends the moment you started reading this post. I really liked this statue of Hercules because it looks like it’s actually moving, and I am always such a sucker for that trick.

As you can probably tell, Herc has just killed the hydra because now the hydra doesn’t have even one head to his name. You can also see the paw of the Nemean Lion because Hercules already killed him and turned his skin into a fashionable shawl. (The paw also makes Hercules safe for work, which I’m sure we all appreciate.)

one day in rouen itinerary

I also love any and all trompe l’oeil paintings. Trompe l’oeil is French for “trick the eye”, and in a trompe l’oeil painting, the painter attempts to deceive the viewer into thinking that they’re staring at a real pile of papers and feathers and things of that nature. But it’s really just a painting.

So when you’re in a museum, never try to grab something off the walls. It could just be a trick of the eye that makes you think something is there. Also, it’s illegal to grab things off the walls of museums.

one day in rouen itinerary

One Day in Rouen Itinerary

Evening: Dinner at Le 6eme Sens

Le 6eme Sens means the sixth sense, but do not worry. The waiters here are all very much alive. (I didn’t meet the chefs, so I can’t vouch for them.)

You can order dishes a la carte, or you can put yourself in the chef’s hands and go with the tasting menu. I chose the tasting menu because I love to eat and I hate making decisions.

one day in rouen itinerary

Our first course, after the amuse bouche, was an oyster with cream. Some people say that putting dairy on seafood is a crime, but I say it is a crime most delicious.

one day in rouen

Looking for some more creamy seafood? Enjoy this decadent lobster soup over house made ravioli. (Everything at the restaurant is house made, including the ice cream.)

one day in rouen itinerary

I’m noticing that more and more tasting menus are including a vegetable course, and this is a trend I would like to see continue. I visited France smack in the middle of artichoke season, so I was happy to partake of this treasure. If you don’t visit in May or June, you’ll probably experience a different vegetable.

one day in rouen itinerary

And for the main course, we have the fish of the day. Just look at the color scheme on this beauty! You could hang it in the Musee des Beaux Arts, but it would probably start to smell bad after a few days.

one day in rouen itinerary

I’m pleased to inform you that there is a cheese course served with every tasting menu at Le 6eme Sens.

one day in rouen itinerary

I know this dessert looks like a boob, but I promise it isn’t one. This is a delicious raspberry and white chocolate ball. That’s a classic pairing, but it’s classic for a reason. Some combos are so perfect, you just shouldn’t mess with them. And that makes it a perfect end to our one day in Rouen itinerary!

one day in rouen itinerary

One Day in Rouen Itinerary

Where to Stay?

Rouen is a small city and quite walkable, so you’ll definitely want to stay in the historic part of town. That’s why I recommend the Best Western Plus Hotel Litteraire Gustave Flaubert. The staff was extremely friendly, and my room, which you can see in my photo above, was charming and comfortable.

On top of that, the hotel serves a delicious breakfast in the morning, and it’s just a short walk from any attraction you could want to see in historic Rouen. Plus, I was tickled by the fact that the theme of the hotel is the writer Gustave Flaubert, of Madame Bovary fame. How many hotels have large Flaubert quotes above your bed? Probably just this one.

If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.

And if you want to explore great deals on other hotels in Rouen, just click here. This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your one day in Rouen itinerary. With plenty of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

one day in rouen itinerary

That’s a Perfect One day in Rouen itinerary!

What would you do on a one day in Rouen itinerary? How does Joan of Arc feel about Rouen? Is she grateful that they’ve stopped accusing her of heresy or is she still holding a grudge? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Rouen right now? Email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: One Day in Rouen Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
ROUEN WALKING TOUR
✔️ Expert local guide
✔️ Tons of fun facts

#2 PICK

1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024 3

D Day Beaches Tour
✔️ Made for history buffs
✔️ Personalized experience

#3 PICK

1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024 4

ALL OTHER ROUEN TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend a one day in Rouen itinerary.

You can also experience a day of what to see in Bayeux France. Try the best D Day tour Normandy. Or why not experience a day of what to do at Mont Saint Michel? Find all the best tours of Marseille France.

1 Perfect One Day in Rouen Itinerary 2024 8

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