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Rouen is a hidden gem in France that is worth a visit

Many travelers enjoy visiting France for the food, culture, wine, and experience. Rouen is an underappreciated magical town an hour outside of Paris. Rouen can even be used as a stopping point along the way to visiting the historic beaches of Normandy. It is a place that will not disappoint. A traveler does not have to worry about the steep prices seen in Paris. A stroll down the historic streets of Rouen transports the visitor to children’s books such as Beauty and the Beast. The aroma of roses permeates the air after a fresh rainfall.

The historic cathedral sits at the heart of Rouen
Elizabeth Smith

Rouen has something to offer every traveler. For the history lover, Rouen was the town where St Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431. A museum, the tower where she was imprisoned and the area where she was burned are shrines to her sacrifice. For the WWII history buff, the Rouen Cathedral is adorned with holes from shelling and bombing from WWII. Looking closer at the outside walls, one can still see some of the remaining bullet holes. The French also hold a special place in their hearts for Americans because American money helped the reconstruction of the Cathedral. A peak inside the Cathedral will give a visitor some exquisite stained glass windows and adornments.

The cuisine is out of this world with fresh seafood, fine dining bakeries, and crêpe stands. Stop by a crêpe stand for a quick lunch while you enjoy watching the crêpe being made in front of you. Crêpes can be thought of as thin pancakes that are rolled or folded with jams, sugar or chocolate. You can see the local children buying them for a snack on their way home from school. They are a delightfully tasty snack and treasure to experience in France.

For the average traveler, attempting to speak even a little French is highly appreciated and goes a long way whether it be meeting an owner or a restaurant or getting an extra discount shopping. The people of Rouen are very willing and friendly to help out a tourist attempting to speak or learn French. Check up on local festivals going on throughout the year for an even better French experience. Whether it is rain, snow, or sunshine, Rouen is a city of beauty. Nestled in the Seine River Valley and not over-populated by tourists, this town gives a traveler a true French experience one does not receive by simply visiting Paris.