Yet another masterpiece of the flamboyant Gothic style which has been so popular in Rouen's history it seems, the Palais de Justice (Law Courts) was little more than a bombed out shell at the end of the second world war. Since then the building has been painstakingly restored (save a few bullet holes and scars of shell damage on the facade facing onto Rue Jeanne d'Arc) to it's ultimate glory.
It really is a great piece of work, sadly it's not open to the public.
At the start of the 19th century Rouen moved it's Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) to the site next to the Abbey of Saint Ouen which had been deserted since 1790. A grand city hall was built on the site of the former monks dormitory.
On the night before New Years Eve 1926 the building was devastated in a fire and much had to be rebuilt starting in 1928. Further repairs were needed after the second world war as a result of bomb damage.
The Hôtel de Ville stands at the Eastern end of Rue Jean Lecanuet (Jean Lecanuet was mayor of Rouen from 1968 until his death in 1993) and makes an imposing sight as you approach. Outside the building is an attractive square with an equestrian statue of Napoleon.
This famous mansion (name pronounced "boor-trood) is a bank (open during banking hours) built at the time of Law Courts (early 16C in Renaissance style). Seeing the inner courtyard is why you would visit. In it you will see elaborate gables and roofline with an octagonal tower. Along one side is a carved frieze with historical illustrations. The outer face is also worth looking at with basket-handled arch doorways like the window arches inside.
The Hotel de Ville (town hall) faces the Pl. General de Gaulle, just to the left (north) of the church of St.-Ouen. It is actually the former sleeping quarters (built in the 18C) of the monastery associated with the church, restored and enlarged for civic functions. Entry is usually permitted.
The law courts are a mixed Flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance style (early 16C). There is a central section and two wings. There was heavy bomb damage in 1940 and what we see is much restored. (The craters disclosed that the building was built over underlying Hebrew synagogue and Jewish residences). The lower parts of the building is severe but the roofline is studded with pinnacled buttresses and decorated gables and along the street side a flock of gargoyles. Note the fine doorway. We were not able to see the fine restored interiors but they are worth a view as they have a vivid history.
"Vakwerk" we call it in Dutch or "Fachwerk" in German. In ENglish the term "Half-timbered" is the official term, but I have been speaking already so laong about "woodwork" houses, that I will not leave this term in these pages. Besides the wood worked into the walls of these houses, the lines make up wonderful forms and colourful sights. Sometimes the houses are built outwards, to create more space on the higher levels, still using the same surface on groundlevel (and therefore paying less taxes and not block the streets.
Rouen is extremely rich in this architecture. As these type of houses for me are similar to "romantic", Rouen is a very romantic town. It is a miracle that so many of these houses are still here and I endlessly took photo's of them (as you can see in this tip as well as in some pictures in the Rouen travellogue. Enjoy!
Musée de la Céramique features numerous exhibits, among these are a showcase of the works of Masseot Abaquesne, a premier French artist in faience, and specifically Rouen-style production. There is an entire showcase dedicated to chinoiserie, from 1699 to 1745. Among the more impressive things here is the 17th century Rouen faience, which, due to the unique colour of the local clay, possesses a distinctive dull Indian red colour.
Gustave Flaubert was born in the director's quarters of the Rouen Public Hospital where his father was the director. At Musée Flaubert et d'Histoire de la Médécine, this room remains as it was then, in 1821. Numerous pieces of medical equipment and family furniture is also stored here. Flaubert spent his first 25 years in Rouen, and went on to author Madame Bovary.
Musée Le Secq des Tournelles (Wrought Ironworks Museum) showcases a famed traditional Norman art form. The collection was started in 1870 by Le Secq des Tournelles, a Parisian aristocrat. There are now over 14, 000 pieces in the collection, which was donated to the city of Rouen. Entrance fee: 1,5-2,5 Euros, Kids -18 months old have free entrance.
The Palais de Justice is a masterpiece of gothic civic architecture. It was damaged a lot during the second war world.
The building hasgot a main hall on which are connected the two later buidlings which were built between 1499-1508.
The facade was made between 1508 and 1526 and it has got very nice decorations.
On August 2006 it was under restoration so I wasn't able to admire it :(
The Musée des Beaux Arts is probably the museum of the town. It has got painting from the 15th century untill the 20th century. Here you can see La Vierge entre les Vierges made by Gerard David, many works made by Flemish painters like Marten De Vos, Van de Velde and a wonderful Adoration des Bergers made by Rubens. In the same room you can see a masterpiece of Caravaggio: Flagellazione di Cristo alla Colonna. Very interesting is the section about the Fontainebleau painting. But the masterpieces of the museum are the Impressionist works; you can see paintings made by Monet (like The Cathedral of Rouen), Gericault, Delacroix and Corot. In the rooms of the 20th century you can't lose the paintings made by Modigliani!!!
This interesting museum is located in a desecrated church built in the 16th century. The collection of the museum is about the old job of the blacksmith. There you can see more than 12000 pieces like keys, scissors and many utensils in beaten iron which come from the 3rd to the 19th century.
On the left side of the Eglise Saint-Maclou there is a wonderul street full of Maison a Colombage (half-timbered houses) with nice colours. This houses are ones of the best of Rouen and they survived to the destruction of the bombers during the II War World. Many of these buildings are now restaurants and shops.
On the corner between rue St.Romain and rue des Bonnetiers there is the bishops palace but you can't visit it because is a private palace. On a wall in rue St.Romain there is a plaque which remember the palace where Joan of Arc was processed in 1431.
On the right side of the cathedral there is Rue Saint-Romain and here you are in the heart of the Medieval town. Along this street you can find wonderful example of maisons à colombage (half-timbered houses) built in the 15th century.