An Afternoon in Rouen


Notre-Dame of Rouen Cathedral

Notre-Dame of Rouen Cathedral


Old postcards, flea market

Old postcards, flea market

Before we made it to Honfleur, we stopped for a few hours in Rouen, seeing as it was on the way on the A13. In theory, it’s on the way on the A13, that is. In actuality, we got horribly lost both entering and exiting Rouen, since the town is divided into two halves, much like Paris, with the Seine cutting right through it. That’s right, the Seine. The same Seine that flows through Paris snakes its way all the up north to the coast and into the English Channel at Le Havre. Rouen is bigger than Honfleur, but has the same sort of feel to it–the same architecture, crooked houses, quaint shops and restaurants. We pulled in to a parking garage at around 11am and were on the road again by 1pm, leaving us just enough time to wander the immediate downtown, including visiting the Rouen Cathedral (which has an AMAZING light show that we weren’t able to catch. Next time!), having quiche and a tarte au citron at an outdoor café, and stumbling upon a huge farmer’s market and flea market rolled into one.

The market was such a treat. In addition to stands of farm-fresh eggs and milk, fresh produce, and meats, there were hundreds of vendors selling antique furniture and old books and bits and bobs. We browsed the old boxes of postcards and letters, and I sincerely regret not buying any. We bought a tea-scented bar of handmade provincial soap, and as we were strolling up one aisle, we both said, “Do you smell that? It smells like a strawberry candle or something.” No no. Turns out, it was a stand selling actual strawberries, emanating the strongest, most luscious scent from the fresh berries piled in baskets on the table. We didn’t buy any of those, either, and we both regret that, too.

We were in Rouen long enough just to get our feet wet, and as we were driving out of town we both agreed we have to come back one day.

24 thoughts on “An Afternoon in Rouen

  1. -happy sigh-

    again! again! again!

    thank you! thank you! thank you!

    for sharing your marvelous photography.

    -repeat happy sigh-


  2. oh and just look at the lovely old handwriting……..

    hardly anyone today, still writes like that, i imagine.

    but think how sad. children today (in the us, any way) don’t learn cursive in school. merde! will they even be able to read a lovely old letter, if they happen to come upon it?

    actually, will there even be any old letters, postal cards, in and for the future?



    1. I hope they still learn cursive in school! I scribble in a mix of cursive and plain lettering, but I agree with you, true cursive is a lost art! It’s sad to think my generation won’t leave behind boxes of postcards and letters for future generations to pick through at flea markets! :( xo

  3. Et voilà, une autre belle ville de France que je ne connais pas! Il faudra aller un de ces jours.
    Je suis déçu que tu n’as pas acheté les fraises, tu pourras pas faire ta limonade à la fraise ! Tan pis!
    Les photos sont très belle Erin ! J’aurais aimée que tu visite Bordeaux pour le photographié ! xo

    1. Ah, je pourrais faire ta limonade à la fraise! C’est vrai. La prochaine fois! :) Merci, Eva! xoxo

  4. i really want some of those postcards. the handwriting, the sentimentality! you should go back and get a stack, i just love them so. and maybe some of those berries too, i don’t think i have ever experienced the scent of strawberries in the air – sounds heavenly. (is everything that much better in france?).

    1. I should have bought the entire box, but they were 50c each. Come to think of it they would have made wonderful wedding favors! We could have put one on each place setting! xo
      And yes, everything is so much better in France! xo

  5. That sounds/looks like a magnificent place to get lost in. I could spend hours looking at old photos and postcards like those. From now on, no more regrets, if you love it, you buy it, ok?!

    1. Haha that sounds like a dangerous plan, Santa! I’d end up buying EVERYTHING in my sight haha ;) xo

  6. oh how i wish i could visit that market! visiting markets is absolutely my favorite thing to do in cities near and far.

    1. You always post such lovely things about the market in your town, with your favorite bread maker! I need to go to more markets like this :) xo

  7. Way back when I took high school French, I did a project on that cathedral, and I’ve always wanted to visit it (not that I could tell you a thing about it now, mind you.) Stumbling along places like this are the best part of travel, aren’t they?

    1. No way! That’s so neat. Small world, eh? I was in a used art book store in Paris after the weekend in Normandy and found a book on Monet and his paintings of the Rouen cathedral for €2, so I bought it for J for a present. xo

  8. I am berry obsessed right now – I think I probably could have overdosed on berries if I were traveling with you all. Then again, I would probably have pleaded with you all to just ‘leave me behind!’ at the market

    1. Oh man, once berry season hits I am all about it. I love fruit, and there is just nothing like summer berries! “Leave me behind! Save yourselves!” xo

  9. Your photography is wonderful! I love the multicolored window in the fourth picture; even more I love old postcards, so that stand would have been heaven. Rouen is by far my favorite French city that still contains a significant amount of medieval architecture.

    1. Thank you, HIllary!! I had to go back and spot the window you referenced, but it confirmed that Rouen is the cutest. I feel like we got really lucky with our weekend getaway! The medieval architecture is so charming. xo

  10. Would those postcards not look fabulous in the hanging window idea I stole from you????

    1. They might have been too big to hang horizontally, and then you’d be turning your neck to read them. They’re so sweet though, I really regret not buying any!! xo

  11. My aunt lives in Rouen! She and her husband used to own a restaurant there, now they’re retired and enjoying life in their beautiful apartment there. The last time I visited was over five years ago… I remember there being so many fun little shops and restaurants though!

    1. Oh no way! That’s so funny, what a small world! She has a gorgeous hometown, lucky lady :) The restaurants we saw all looked adorable, but I bet they’re really enjoying retirement now. You should go back and visit! It’s on my “To-See” list again, so I can spend more time exploring! xo

  12. looks beautiful. a friend of mine is from Le Havre. maybe I should visit him finally.

    ps: I’m so glad you get to see so much of France xo

    1. Oh Le Havre is so close! You could do an entire Normandy tour and see all the cute little towns. xo

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