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visit Rouen in 1 or 2 days, what to do, what to see

Visit Rouen in 1 or 2 Days: What to See, What to Do

Visiting Rouen in 1 or 2 days allows one to see the must-sees of the city but also to veer a tiny bit off the beaten path. Here are the excellent places to eat and stay in Rouen and the main places to see over a weekend in Rouen.

  • Visiting Rouen in 1 day: the essentials ✨
  • Visiting Rouen for 2 days: neighborhoods to discover 🌟
  • Places to eat and stay 🍽🛌
  • What to do in Rouen when it rains? 🌧

1. Visiting Rouen in 1 day: key places to see

If you only have one day to visit Rouen, you must focus on the essentials. Here are the main places to see in Rouen.

1.1 Rouen Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Rouen Notre-Dame Cathedral is the tallest cathedral in France. It was also the tallest building in the world at the end of its construction in 1876. Today, it is the 3rd tallest cathedral in the world. If you only have to visit one place in Rouen, it is the Rouen Notre-Dame Cathedral.

1.2 Gros-Horloge and Rue du Gros-Horloge

The Gros-Horloge is one of the most emblematic monuments of Rouen. It was built in 1389. The clock is still functional. Rue du Gros-Horloge is the most central street in Rouen. It is pedestrian, as is much of the city center.

1.3 Place du Vieux-Marché and its Cathedral

If you come to visit Rouen in 1 day, you must come to see this square. Here, you will, of course, find half-timbered houses, but also the place where Joan of Arc was burnt in 1431.

1.4 Place de la Pucelle

A pretty little square, which is located only a few steps from Place du Vieux-Marché. So, since it is just next door, you can take advantage of having a look and stray a little bit from the classic tourist route.

1.5 Courthouse

You won’t miss it: it’s a big building in the heart of Rouen. Although the courthouse was rebuilt after World War II, you can always see the traces of shells on its walls. They were left to remember the war, which marked the 20th century.

2. Visiting Rouen in 2 days

If you go to Rouen and stay more than one day, you have the time to discover many other places and neighborhoods that are less touristy. And to get lost in the alleys of Rouen to enjoy its atmosphere to the fullest!

2.1 Antiquarians’ District, a place to visit in Rouen

I advise you to get off the main streets and go to the eastern part of the city center instead. Here, Rouen is less touristy but still quite charming. The architecture of the buildings is exceptional: it immerses you in the Middle Ages! Discover the streets behind Saint-Maclou Catholic Church, Damiette Street, Martainville Street, Eau de Robec Street, and the Grande Mesure passage, Ruissel Street.

2.2 Saint-Ouen Abbey, a place to see if you come to visit Rouen in 2 days

Another example of Gothic architecture! We advise you to go behind the Abbey, in the park, to appreciate the visit even more. In the corner, there is also the Saint-Vivien Church of Rouen, the Corneille Chapel, and the Benedictine Monastery.

3. Our favorite places in Rouen

Here are the places we know in Rouen. The city has dramatically changed since my studies, and we have discovered lovely new places!

3.1 Where to eat in Rouen?

Here are the three places we can recommend:

Les Beauvoisins. A place to remember for lunch! Super good. Great value for money, good service. We loved it! Address: 21 Rue Beauvoisine (closed after 6 pm)

Hokkaido. An authentic Japanese restaurant. We ate very well. We recommend! Address: 5 Rue des Bons Enfants

EMJ. A café that serves homemade pastries. Very good! Address: 3 Place Dominique Laboubée

3.2 Best places to stay in Rouen

If you visit Rouen in 1 or 2 days, opt for accommodation on the right bank and rather stay within the circle of boulevards around the city center of Rouen.

The reference point is the Rouen Cathedral. Places such as the Place du Vieux Marché or the Place Saint-Marc (further from the heart of the city center) can be considered for a stay.

For a romantic stay. This cozy apartment with a view is ideal for a couple to visit Rouen. Otherwise, you can opt for a hotel and a safe bet, such as the chain hotel Mercure, a stone’s throw from the Rouen Cathedral. In a higher range, you have this 5-star hotel in the historic center of Rouen: Hôtel de Bourgtheroulde. A memorable stay awaits you!

For a family stay. Located a few minutes from the Rouen Cathedral, the Hotel De Quebec offers triple rooms and on-site parking. Otherwise, another option would be to take this apartment for 4 people in the heart of the historic center of Rouen.

Find more tips and our selection of great places in our article: Where to stay in Rouen.

3.3 Where to park for visiting Rouen in 1 or 2 days?

If you arrive in Rouen by car, several underground parking exist in the city center. Parking in the city center is a hassle because almost everything is pedestrian (which is very pleasant for a visit!). We were at Mont-Saint-Michel before going to Rouen. The parking lot next to Rouen Cathedral costs 15 euros for 24 hours. For a weekend in Rouen, it’s very convenient.

4. What to do in Rouen when it rains?

When it rains in Rouen, you can, for example, visit the interior of the Gros Horloge. It’s a visit with an audioguide that is quite well done. Moreover, a lovely view opens up from the Gros Horloge of Rouen onto the pedestrian street and the cathedral. Prices: 9 euros, free for children under 6 and 3.5 – for those under 18.

You can also visit the Rouen Museum of Fine Arts. It’s a beautiful place, outside but also inside. Link to the museum’s website: https://mbarouen.fr/fr

You can find other information about the city on the Rouen Tourism Office website.

We hope this article was helpful and that you will visit and enjoy Rouen with peace of mind! In Normandy, you can also visit the cliffs of Étretat. Discover more about Normandy in the article: itineraries to do in Normandy in 2, 3, 4 or 5 days on a road trip. Happy discoveries, everyone!

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Louis and Emilie

We once heard visitors in Paris saying that the French are not the most welcoming people. It made us sad. That's why we started this blog! So you can get the best information for your travel to France! Of course, we love Paris. We have lived in multiple areas, from Canal St Martin to right next to the Eiffel Tower. We also explore regions of France whenever we can. Our favorites for a weekend away from Paris are Etretat and Mont Saint Michel. The beautiful French Riviera is a marvelous place to explore for a week.

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