Rue du Gros Horloge - RouenRue du Gros Horloge - Rouen
©Rue du Gros Horloge - Rouen|Alan Aubry

The Renaissance style

Open to the world and economically prosperous, particularly thanks to the drapery industry, Rouen, during the Renaissance, experienced a certain profusion.
It was Cardinal Georges I of Amboise who was responsible for the blossoming of this style in Rouen, around 1500. We take you for a walk !

The beginnings of the Renaissance

Successor of the gothic architecture

Let’s start with the Finance Office, facing the cathedral. It is a fine example of the Louis XII architecture that marks the transition between Gothic art and the First Renaissance. At this time, experiments and attempts were made to dilute Gothic forms with Italian decorations. The architect Roulland le Roux was inspired by the latest stylistic innovations of the castle of Gaillon, in the Eure department, to design this impressive building. You have to enter the cathedral’s Chapelle de la Vierge (currently closed for construction but usually open for guided tours) to admire a work by the same architect: the tomb of the cardinals of Amboise. A true marble masterpiece, the mausoleum is a perfect synthesis of Italian codes and French sculpture. Located in the same chapel, the tomb of Louis de Brézé shows a taste for a more refined architecture that appeared during the reigns of François I and Henri II.

A few steps away, it is the remains of the Hôtel Romé that remind us of the pomp of the period, followed by the unavoidable Justice Palace. Its central facade is typical of this period, which blends the flamboyant Gothic and the First Renaissance. Its construction embraces almost the entire 16th century. Admire its jagged and teeming decorations … Impressive, no?

Exceptional examples

A rich historical heritage

Another beautiful site, the hôtel de Bourgtheroulde, on the Place de la Pucelle, with its galerie d’Aumale with arcades, the salamander of François I and its frieze representing a major historical event: the interview of the camp of the golden cloth. All of this outlines the contours of a magnificent establishment, classified as a “Historic Monument.”

The Church of Saint Joan of Arc and the église Saint-Patrice are also home to splendid stained glass windows from the Renaissance that illustrate the Christian faith of the sixteenth century with biblical and legendary scenes transformed into luminous, colorful works.

From the Big Clock to the stained glass windows of Elbeuf

Observe the Renaissance

So walk under the Gros-Horloge that spans the street that bears its name. You are in the presence of one of the strong symbols of the city! The Renaissance pavilion, with its double dial, tells the time with a single hand. Under the number VI, you can read the day of the week, symbolized by a deity and, above, in the form of a silver globe, the phases of the moon.

A little tour on the territory of the Rouen Metropolis? The Renaissance is also the magnificent colombier de Boos with its façade decorated with faïence, built in 1520 by the abbesses of Saint-Amand. It is also the exceptional stained glass windows of the Church of Saint-Etienne d’Elbeuf, shimmering witnesses to the history and influence of the large local workshops, at this most creative and teeming period.