Europe 2013-Citizens of the Republic of Ushington visit England, France and Spain travel blog

Pharmacy across from the Cathedral



Still loving the gargoyles

Details of cathedral front








Window detail


window detail


Cathedral Organ

A former organist

Window of Saint Julian the Hospitalier-reputedly he murdered his parents and started...

Stairway to heaven?


Looking up into the tower


Rouen streets

Rue du Gros Horlage

le Gros Horlage-16th Century Astronomical clock

Honfleur port

Apartments lining the port



Charming Honfleur streets

We had a long drive to Rouen today, to see the famous cathedral and an impressionist art exhibition. This is the town where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Today we found it to be a most charming place, with interesting architecture and beautiful shops.

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen is a huge Gothic structure. The current building was started in the 12th century. It is seen in many paintings by Monet. He did a series of over 30 paintings of the cathedral in the 1890s. The building itself is immense and has suffered much damage from the elements and bombs. The churches we have visited in Normandy are much less ornate than the ones we saw on our last trip to Europe in 2010. Although they are certainly grand in scale, the interiors are very plain and unadorned. No gold, silver or marble is here.

The Normandy Impressionist festival is taking place this year from April to September. We were lucky enough to visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts to view a display of 100 impressionist paintings. It was a real treat to see paintings by many artists, including Monet, Renoir, Sisely and others. The exhibition is called Dazzling Reflections ( and celebrates the importance of water in the Impressionist syle. It was truly breathtaking and definitely a highlight of our day. Although we had hoped to get to Giverny, where Monet spend much of his time painting, we could not manage to fit it in to our agenda. This exhibition certainly made up for it.

After a delicious lunch at a restaurant ( A La Table Gourmand) near the Cathedral we headed home, by way of Honfleur. This seaside town was a haven for impressionist painters. The port is especially picturesque. It is lined with tall narrow apartments and the harbour is filled with beautiful sailing boats. It is quite touristy, but very charming. We arrived late in the afternoon, so after coffees and hot chocolates, just wandered around looking in windows. One unfortunate discovery was a street that was lined with many chocolate shops, each one more beautiful than the last. Of course, a few tastes were obligatory.

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