Aître Saint-Maclou - RouenAa Mrn 20 06 24 Rouen Aître Saint Maclou 0635©mrn Aaubry
©Aître Saint-Maclou - Rouen|Alan Aubry

Top 10 unusual places

Discover unusual places in Rouen and enjoy a unique experience during your stay in Normandy. In addition to the must-sees like the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Gros-Horloge or the Place du Vieux-Marché, the capital of Normandy has some unusual sites that will amaze you. At every corner, you will find a reason to marvel at the rich heritage that the city has…

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Normandy is full of treasures and the regional capital is no exception to the rule. It is difficult to present you all the unusual places we can find in Rouen, so we offer this small selection so you do not miss the most impressive.

The Burning of Joan of Arc

An emblematic character of Rouen

Located in the historic heart, Jeanne d’Arc’s pyre is one of the unusual places in Rouen. A few meters from the church of Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc and its surprising architecture, the pyre of the Maid of Orleans is to be discovered if you want to relive the last moments of the heroine’s life on May 30, 1431.

Immortalized many times in the cinema, the stake of Joan of Arc is part of the landmarks of French history. Today, it is symbolized by a large cross and the place of her torture is adorned with a statue representing the saint.

The Aître Saint-Maclou

A jewel of Norman heritage

Loved by the people of Rouen and little known by tourists, the Aître Saint-Maclou is a mysterious place. Dating from the Black Death epidemic that hit Rouen in 1348, the Aître Saint-Maclou is a listed site with macabre decorations evoking death such as bones or skulls.

One of the curiosities of the place is of course the mummified cat that visitors can discover in a display case at the entrance to the Aître Saint-Maclou. One of the legends says that the cat was discovered in a wall in the 1950s. The presence of the animal is explained by an old belief of the seventeenth century, a black cat was walled up alive to prevent the devil, which it embodied, to haunt the occupants of the place.

The Sublime House or Jewish Monument

A Hebrew building discovered in 1976

You’ve probably passed one of Rouen’s unusual places several times without even knowing it. Hidden beneath the Parliament of Normandy, now the Palais de Justice, the Jewish Monument, also known as the Sublime House, is the oldest preserved Jewish monument in Europe.

Accessible through guided tours offered by the Tourist Office, the Jewish Monument is an enigma that still questions historians, particularly about the building’s function.

The Stone Cross

Neighborhood life

Symbol of a neighborhood to the east of the Capital of Normandy, the Croix-de-pierre is the name given to a fountain made in the very early 16th century, making it the oldest in the city. It owes its name to one of the crosses erected by the archbishop of Rouen at the end of the 12th century which was nearby. It was located at that time in the countryside at the crossroads of the road coming from Beauvais.

Surrounded by half-timbered houses, the Croix-de-pierre is the gateway to a popular and very lively neighborhood, a real village in the city. Today, it is a neo-Gothic reproduction that adorns this crossroads which is part of the unusual places in Rouen, the original is moreover visible in the garden of the Musée des Antiquités.

The Gustave Flaubert Bridge

An aesthetic feat

Cut in two by the Seine, the Rouen Normandy Metropolis and bridges are a great tradition. The latest addition is the highest lift bridge in Europe. The Gustave Flaubert Bridge, located at the foot of the Commercial Center of Docks 76 on the right bank and the Flaubert eco-district on the left bank, has become one of the unusual places in Rouen.

With its contemporary architecture, it has reinvigorated the west side of Rouen since it was put into circulation in September 2008. Its decks can rise to 55 meters high, letting the world’s largest sailing ships into Rouen’s river waters, especially during the Armada.

Watch from the Seine quays, the lifting of the 1300 tons of the bridge’s decks: an impressive spectacle for the pleasure of young and old alike.

The church of Saint-Nicaise

Between church and brewery

The capital of Normandy is known for being the city “with a hundred steeples”and one of the unusual places in Rouen is one of these steeples. Finally, more precisely a church: the church of Saint-Nicaise.

Located east of the city, the church of Saint-Nicaise has an architecture mixing medieval bases and Art Deco constructions. Destroyed in large part by a fire, it was rebuilt in reinforced concrete in 1935, giving it an unusual appearance. Closed to the public, its facade and modern stained glass windows are nevertheless worth a look. Its gardens are accessible during the summer season, where it is possible to enjoy a beeror an apple juice in the ephemeral bar created by the brewery Ragnar.

The house of Ferdinand Marrou

An incredible heritage

A few steps from the Rouen train station, located at number 29 of the rue verte, is one of the unusual places in Rouen, the former home of Ferdinand Marrou. This self-taught man was one of the greatest ironworkers of his time, making, among other things, the bell towers of the Rouen Cathedral, the finials on the roof of the Gros-Horloge and the John of Arc Tower.

Lesser known than his studio on the Rue Saint-Romain, now a tea room, his home is very representative of his talent. Made of carved woodand of ironwork, it dates from the 19th century. Ferdinand Marrou’s house is a curiosity to contemplate during your visit to Rouen.

Le Café Métropole

A journey through time

Do you know the Metropole café located just a stone’s throw from Rouen’s SNCF train station? Dive into a preserved Art Deco decor and drink a coffee in the atmosphere of the 1930s-1940s.

Located at 111 rue Jeanne d’Arc, the Metropole café opened its doors in 1932. It was the meeting place of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Professor of Philosophy at the Lycée Jeanne d’Arc, Simone de Beauvoir loved to read in this special place after buying her newspaper at the station.

This establishment, out of time is a good excuse to discover the art deco district of the city of Rouen.

Le Secq des Tournelles

A museum dedicated to iron arts

Want to visit a museum and a church at the same time? In Rouen, this is possible at the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, a mecca for ironwork.

Installed in a Gothic church right next to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles presents the largest public collection of antique ironwork in the world (about 16,000 objects).

You can admire signs, door knockers, keys and locks, chests, jewelry, everyday objects (kitchen utensils, sewing utensils, smokers’ utensils…) but also many unusual objects such as pedometers, masks of infamy or perfume pears.

Entrance to the museum is free, which will allow you to easily discover the permanent collections of this superb place.

Chanoines Street

A wonderful alley

If you want to relive for a moment in medieval times, take one of the most intriguing and narrow streets in downtown Rouen, the Rue des Chanoines.

In the Middle Ages, monks used to take this passageway 5 to 6 times to go to pray. Today, it still testifies to the standards of the time by its width and architecture of houses timber-framed all corbelled.

Go through this passage and engulf yourself in time.