| Upper Normandy|
Yvon Robert (PS)
| University of Rouen, Institut national des sciences appliquees de Rouen|
Rouen Cathedral, Church of St Joan of Arc, Church of Saint-Maclou, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Church of St Ouen - Rouen
Rouen is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Upper Normandy and the historic capital city of Normandy. One of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries. It was here that Joan of Arc was executed in 1431. People from Rouen are called Rouennais.
The population of the metropolitan area (in French: agglomeration) at the 1999 census was 518,316, and 532,559 at the 2007 estimate. The city proper had an estimated population of 110,276 in 2007.
Unknown to Julius Caesar, Rouen was founded by the Gaulish tribe of the Veliocasses, who controlled a large area in the lower Seine valley, which retains a trace of their name as the Vexin. They called it Ratumacos; the Romans called it Rotomagus. Roman Rotomagus was the second city of Gallia Lugdunensis after Lugdunum (Lyon) itself. Under the reorganization of the empire by Diocletian, Rouen became the chief city of the divided province of Gallia Lugdunensis II and reached the apogee of its Roman development, with an amphitheatre and thermae of which the foundations remain. In the 5th century, it became the seat of a bishopric and later a capital of Merovingian Neustria.
Rouen is known for its Notre Dame cathedral, with its Tour de Beurre (butter tower) financed by the sale of indulgences for the consumption of butter during Lent. The cathedrals gothic facade (completed in the 1500s) was the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet, some of which are exhibited in the Musee dOrsay in Paris.
The Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock dating back to the 16th century, though the movement is considerably older (1389). It is located in the Gros Horloge street.
Other famous structures include Rouen Castle, whose keep is known as the Tour Jeanne dArc, where Joan of Arc was brought in 1431 to be threatened with torture (contrary to popular belief, she was not imprisoned there but in the since destroyed tour de la Pucelle); the Church of Saint Ouen (12th–15th century); the Palais de Justice, which was once the seat of the Parlement (French court of law) of Normandy; the Gothic Church of St Maclou (15th century); and the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics which contains a splendid collection of faience and porcelain for which Rouen was renowned during the 16th to 18th centuries. Rouen is also noted for its surviving half-timbered buildings.
There are many museums in Rouen: Musee des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, an art museum with pictures of well-known painters such as Claude Monet and Gericault; Musee maritime fluvial et portuaire, a museum on the history of the port of Rouen and navigation; Musee des antiquites, an art and history museum with local works from the Bronze Age through the Renaissance; Musee de la ceramique, Musee Le Secq des Tournelles...
The Jardin des Plantes de Rouen is a notable botanical garden once owned by Scottish banker John Law and dating to 1840 in its present form. It was the site of Elisa Garnerins parachute jump from a balloon in 1817.
In the centre of the Place du Vieux Marche (the site of Joan of Arcs pyre) is the modern church of Saint Joan of Arc. This is a large, modern structure which dominates the square. The form of the building represents an upturned viking boat and fish shape.
Rouen was also home to the French Grand Prix, hosting the race at the nearby Rouen-Les-Essarts track sporadically between 1952 and 1968. In 1999 Rouen authorities demolished the grandstands and other remnants of Rouens racing past. Today, little remains beyond the public roads that formed the circuit.
Rouen Cathedral is the subject of a series of paintings by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet, who painted the same scene at different times of the day. Two paintings are in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; two are in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow; one is in the National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade. The estimated value of one painting is over $40 million.