The work of the hand and the wonder of the eyes. From iron to stained glass through earthenware and the subtlety of textiles, Rouen is a city where craftsmanship works wonders. It is the oldest center of ceramics in France and opens its workshops to enthusiasts and the curious.
Push the door
museums and workshops of Rouen's craftsmen
Lift the veil onunique and flamboyant pieces. And taste the pleasure of beauty and Norman craftsmanship!
Le Secq des Tournelles
Museum of Ironwork
If the site is surprising (a desacralized church), the collection is just as surprising! It is the work of an enthusiast, Henri Le Secq des Tournelles (1818-1882), a pioneer of photography who, charged with immortalizing historical monuments, recovered the ironworks promised to be destroyed by Haussmann. Result: a teeming collection unique in the world, which runs from the Gallo-Roman era to the nineteenth century. Gates, stair railings, locks, keys, knockers, scientific instruments, jewelry … A mine of treasures! Iron is actually very present in Rouen, due to the abundance of ore in Normandy. Take a look at the magnificent wrought iron in the workshop of Maitre ferronnier Ferdinand Marrou, now the Salon de thé, located opposite the Cour des libraires of Rouen Cathedral. And observe the head of the Gross Clock or the Parliament of Normandy. All made of iron!
Rouen is considered the most important and oldest ceramic center in France. Enjoy the finesse of Rouen-style faience and observe the meticulous work of the artisans who decorate their objects by hand. We owe this Norman tradition to Masséot Abaquesne, the first grand master faience maker who revolutionized his art. It was he who developed the faience factory in Rouen, from 1524 to 1557. Later, the famous blue mantling decoration appeared and definitively marked the Rouen style. To learn more, push open the doors of the Musée de la Céramique. Admission is free.
Head over, John of Arc Church on the Old Market Square! This modern church was built in 1979. But its impressive stained glass windows that adorn the entire north side are older. They date from 1520-30 and come from an other church, St. Vincent, which was destroyed during World War II by a bomb blast. Fortunately, the stained glass windows had been dismantled and put in a safe place at the beginning of the war. Their reassembly in the new church is in itself a true masterpiece of technique and know-how. What colors and sparkles! Pay attention to the vitrail of the Tanks, one of the most beautiful in the church. A guided tour told allows you to appreciate all its attractions.
Do you have the fiber textile? You’ve come to the right place! This is one of the traditions of Rouen, a true drapery city that was a pioneer in the textile industry. Fabrics such as Les Indiennes de Rouen with colorful and varied decorations were produced there, visible at the Musées des Antiquités with free admission. Today, linen is king. Normandy liniculturists provide 60% of French production and 45% of processed European production. Located in the heart of the Pays de Caux, Doudeville is the national capital of flax and many Norman entrepreneurs are turning to this fiber and giving it a new lease on life. One can visit cooperatives and enjoy these natural products in many Rouen stores.
This way to exhibitions and initiations to craft techniques. Glass, metal, clay, chiseling or live model sculpture, sign up for a workshop or simply attend a demonstration. In the heart of the Aître Saint-Maclou, one of the most beautiful treasures of Rouen’s architectural heritage, the Galerie des Arts du Feu has become a center of Norman craft. It invites you on a sensory journey. Ceramists share their know-how and regular exhibitions showcase the beauty of these handmade creations. In this exceptional setting, it is an enchantment!
These haunts are at the crossroads of Art and History. And theNorman capital is full of them! Stroll through the streets of the Antique Quarter or around the Cathedral and push open the door of an artisan’s workshop in Rouen. Jewelry, wood, leather, cosmetics, ceramics, perfume, violin making… There is something for everyone. And the opportunity is too good to meet and share a good time. Some artisans will tell you about their career, their link to the city, anecdotes related to their know-how. Others will even share their success stories, because there are some beautiful ones in Rouen. So get in touch with the creators!