Palais de Justice
Monday 18 May 2015
Four years ago we visited Rouen. Back then it seemed to be a quiet day and everything we wanted to visit was closed. So today we set off for the centre of the city full of optimism. When we made our initial bookings this time we had intended to be closer to the city so we could use public transport. For some strange reason our hotel seemed to have moved about 23 km since we made the booking. There is always a bright side to every story. The Premiere Classe Hotel was only two years old and had a wonderful bathroom, unlike the usual bathroom capsule found in this chain of hotels.
Polly was happy to guide us to an enormous underground car park in the centre of the city. Without this help we're sure we would have bailed out and given the city a miss. We'll worry about payment later.
We emerged from the vast underground cavern beside the Palais de Justice. This building had been extensively damaged by Allied bombing during World War II and has now been wonderfully restored. It still has signs of shell fire damage, a reminder of what
Half timbered houses with tourist
happened over seventy years ago.
Four years ago when we were here the cathedral was closed. We knocked on the door and it was closed. Oh no! History seemed to be repeating itself. We were not sure if this was the same building we tried to visit in 2011. Something seemed to be different. We'll need to look at the photos we took last time. Wandering the streets around the cathedral we discovered very narrow alleyways between half timbered houses. The fire risk must be huge.
A quick visit to the tourist office allayed all fears that the trip had been wasted. The cathedral would open at 2:00 pm. After a light lunch and a visit to Eglise Sainte Jeanne D'Arc we joined tour groups from a visiting cruise ship and explored the interior of this cathedral. We noticed the lack of stained glass in the many large windows. We wondered whether this was a result of damage caused through the ages by warfare and many lightning strikes. One of the many tombs was that of Richard the Lionheart. It appears this one contains his heart. His body is buried with his mother at Abbaye Fontevraud in the
Eglise Sainte Jeanne D'Arc
Loire, a place we visited previously and a must on any tour of the area.
Nearby is Abbaye Saint-Ouen, a church we may have mistaken for the cathedral on our last trip. Back then it was closed for renovation. Today it was closed because it was Monday. Oh well, next time.
Back at the car we had to flash the credit card to pay for our day's parking, cash not accepted. Looks like crackers and cheese for dinner tonight. The use of GPS in big cities is vital, especially when you pop up from the bowels of the Earth not knowing where you are. We needn't have worried, Polly was on to it and had us heading back to our hotel where beer and nuts were waiting.
We have had a satisfying day feeling pleased that another part of the adventure has been safely completed. Tomorrow it is off to Normandy.
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