The weather is holding up for us. It's getting colder as we get nearer the coast of the Atlantic Ocean - 50's in the morning but warms up in the afternoon - 60's. And as fall progresses. There's always a forecast for some rain but last night was the first time we got any, and it was clear today!!!
Rouen is a thriving merchant city encircled by wooded hills. It was one of the largest and most prosperous cities of Medieval Europe. It was the capital of the Anglo-Norman dynasty which ruled both England and large parts of France from the 11th to the 15th centuries. There are a tremendous number of churches-big beautiful ones of course - Saint-Ouen, Saint-Maclou, the Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen, and the contemporary church to Joan of Arc. Victor Hugo famously described Rouen as the city of a hundred spires.
In Rouen, Joan of Arc was imprisoned, tried for heresy, and was burnt at the stake in 1431. Her ashes were thrown in the Seine River.
The town was heavily damaged during WWII but it has been rebuilt, and many medieval districts have been carefully restored.
The Seine River was key to Rouen's development into one of France's greatest ports down the centuries. Today, the city is proud to be a major inland port. Rouen is considered as the harbor of Paris, handling an enormous volume of traffic.
We all ate lunch at a (huge) local restaurant; there were 43 of us. Of course they served us regional dishes - baked Camembert, chicken in a delicious sauce, and apple tart for dessert. Apples are grown in Normandy and used in everything. Last night in the lounge during our Port Talk for the next day, we were served Calvados, an apple brandy.
This afternoon we will be bused to several local homes. Grand Circle Tours has a Discovery Series Home-Hosted Visit for the opportunity to learn more about life in rural France. The family will share a sweet treat with us. We brought a picture book of Arizona to give to the family.
Then we'll return to the boat of dinner. More food please!! We get plenty. And when we're out on a walking tour of any little town, there are plenty of pastry and chocolate shops!!