Notre-Dame de Rouen CathedralNotre-Dame de Rouen Cathedral
©Notre-Dame de Rouen Cathedral|

Romanesque & Gothic

Do you like Romanesque and Gothic? You’re in the right place!
Rouen and its territory are full of architectural treasures from the Middle Ages that have chiseled the silhouette of the city and its surroundings with singular elegance.


Romanesque art lover

Amateur of Romanesque art, take without hesitation the road of the abbeys in the Boucles de la Seine Normande Regional Nature Park. The Saint-Georges de Boscherville Abbey is a gem of its kind with its sober lines and clear, massive vaults. Built in the 12th century, it is one of the most prestigious abbeys in Normandy.

Another sacred place is the abbey of Jumièges, which is an exceptional witness to the first great achievements of Romanesque art in the region. Nearby, the Romanesque nave of the Saint-Valentin church is worth a visit, as is that of Duclair or that of Yainville, whose twin sister is in Newhaven, on the other side of the Channel! At the gates of Rouen, the Chapelle Saint-Julien in Petit-Quevilly is a gem of its kind. Its superb wall paintings from the end of the 12th century make it an outstanding monument.

A little descent underground? Immerse yourself in the incredible atmosphere of the Sublime House, the oldest Jewish monument in France, which is located underneath the current Justice Palace. Its construction is dated to the 1100s. And to get back to the cathedral’s roots, there’s nothing like descending into its Romanesque crypt on guided tours. (Access currently closed due to choir work.)

Nuggets from the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages have left Rouen with unparalleled architectural gems. Stroll through the narrow streets lined with wood-framed houses and escape to the Manoir de l’aumônerie in Saint-Martin de Boscherville. Feel how the medieval atmosphere is still thrilling!

Did you say "flamboyant"?

In Rouen, Gothic is king. Numerous monuments bear witness to all the stylistic evolutions of this style, which, from the 12th century onward, is characterized by taller, larger and brighter churches. Look at the abbey church of Saint-Ouen, isn’t it impressive? It’s one of the largest churches in the radiating Gothic style with its wide spaces and huge stained glass windows that let shimmering light into the building.

A few steps away, in the quartier des Antiquaires, is the Church of Saint-Maclou, which marvels at its detailed ornamentation, characteristic of the flamboyant Gothic style. Its construction began in 1437, and art historians agree that it is the jewel of French heritage. The façade of the Palais de Justice, all in dental, is also a fine example of this style that heralds the beauties of the Renaissance.

Finally, it is of course Rouen Cathedral that stands alone as a showcase of Gothic. Its facade tells of the entire evolution of this style from its St. Roman Tower erected in the mid-12th century, its 14th-century facade with its 52 statues and its Butter Tower dating from the late Middle Ages. It is a book of History sumptuously embodied.