Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, RouenHotel de Bourgtheroulde, Rouen
©Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, Rouen

Mansion houses in Rouen

You may know Rouen for its many churches and half-timbered houses, but did you know that many of its townhouses are architectural gems? Discover these buildings and their history.

Bourgtheroulde Hotel

It is most certainly the best known of the hôtels particuliers in Rouen. The Hôtel de Bourgtheroulde, now converted into a 5-star hotel, was originally intended as a hôtel particulier. Built by the Le Roux family in the 16th century, it features a main facade in the inner courtyard with Gothic-style architectural elements and a loggia-like gallery typical of early Renaissance Normandy.

Overlooking the Place de la Pucelle, the entrance porch is decorated with the two leopards supporting the arms of the Le Roux family and the porcupine symbol of the king Louis XII.

The inner gallery called the Galerie d’Aumale is inspired by the Italian Renaissance. It is adorned with bas-reliefs carved in stone representing the six allegorical scenes from Petrarch’s Triumphs. In the lower register, the ornaments depict a historical scene contemporary with the monument, the interview at the Camp du Drap d’Or: the first meeting between Francis I, King of France, and Henry VIII, King of England.

If you’d like to discover this building, the inner courtyard is accessible.

Hôtel d'Aligre

Go to the quartier des antiquaires to discover this second building. Located at number 30 rue Damiette, the Hôtel d’Aligre hides behind a large carved stone porch adorned with a Hercules head wearing the skin of the Nemean lion.

Open every year during the Journées du Patrimoine, the hotel features a double inner courtyard and a garden at the rear of the residence. Built at the end of the 16th century by Catherine de Médicis’ treasurer-secretary, it was home to Lord Clarendon, the King of England’s minister in exile. It was under the Empire that the building came into the hands of the Marquis de Pomeureu d’Aligre family.

Partially listed as a Monuments Historiques, it now houses housing and offices. Its courtyard facade is entirely made of ashlar and is adorned with sculpted decorations including a medallion framed by two women. The garden facade, visible from the south entrance of the aître Saint-Maclou, is in brick, with only the window surrounds in stone. The Hôtel d’Aligre is the only evidence of a private mansion in Rouen dating from the time of Henri IV.

Hôtel de Girancourt

Not far from the Gare de Rouen and Square Verdrel, 48 rue Saint-Patrice hides a mansion built in the 1650s. Its original name was Hôtel Maynet, after Léon Maynet, Viscount of Rouen and a member of the French Parliament. The Rue Saint-Patrice district was once home to noblesse de robe and parliamentary families, and still boasts many rich buildings.

This one features a handsome Louis XIII-style stone facade, adorned with pilasters, cornices and a beautiful dormer decorated with fruit garlands and a semicircular pediment. Note the presence of an oriol, a small slate-covered wooden belvedere, which may have had several uses. Since the Middle Ages, locals had come here to get some fresh air; shipowners found it a convenient way to keep an eye on boat movements in the harbor, enjoying a 360-degree view.

Abandoned in the 1980s, this one has been entirely restored. The restoration took almost 10 years, and involved refurbishing the central wing, which dates back to the 18th century. Visible from the street, the Hôtel particulier de Girancourt is a hidden treasure in downtown Rouen.

Hotel Romé

It’s just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral but out of sight of visitors, that this private mansion hides. Hôtel Romé is nestled in Passage Maurice Lenfant, between Rue des Carmes and Rue Saint-Romain.

Built from 1525, it was the principal residence of Nicolas Romé, sieur de Fresquiennes, baron du Bec-Crespin and adviser to the king. The sovereign had the hotel purchased in 1589 to house the Chambre des Comptes, which remained there until it was abolished in 1791.

Heavily damaged by a bomb and a subsequent fire during the 1944 bombings, all that remains of this building are the ground- and first-floor facades. These remains reveal the appearance of the Renaissance in Normandy from the early 16th century. The chiselled decorations on the columns and statuettes bear witness to the skills of Rouen’s sculptors of the period.

The hotel is now home to L’Odas, a Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant.

Hôtel d'Hocqueville

Following the destruction of Philippe-Auguste’s fortified castle during the 17th century, the vacant space would allow the construction of several wealthy mansions, including the Hôtel d’Hocqueville. On the ruins of the castle’s former prison, the building was constructed from 1659 by Pierre Becdelièvre, sieur d’Hocqueville.

A rare Rouen townhouse built entirely of ashlar, it has the particularity of being built on a slope and overlooking the square Verdrel with all its mass. The architect chose to place the building to the left of the main entrance on rue Faucon: on entering, visitors had before them, not a dwelling, but a terrace and garden, which still exist today.

Today, the Hôtel d’Hocqueville houses the Musée de la Céramique and its 5000 pieces of collection. Open to the public free of charge, don’t hesitate to pass through the porch of this private mansion. Continue your visit through the museum’s rich collections and enjoy the garden, a haven of peace in the city.