Monday, May 7, 2012

Walking Around Rouen

Rouen has lots of colorful buildings and we really wanted sun to make them pop. The weather didn't cooperate so we had to see them in somewhat gloomy conditions. We set out to see what we could.

The most noticeable feature of this town is the large number of wonky old half-timbered buildings. Some towns in England have a few; some towns in Germany have a few; Rouen has streets and streets of them. Here are just a couple of the wonkiest.

First up, because it's just down the block from our hotel, was the Rouen cathedral. Here is the main (West) facade.

The stonework over the North door is quite striking.

Inside, there are the usual soaring pillars, and a small congregation hearing mass.

and this lovely staircase.

Next stop was Le Gros Horloge (The Great Clock), a civic emblem since the 1500s. It still keeps time with its one hand.

Above the dial is a half-black, half-silver ball that shows the phase of the moon (full at the time of this shot).

Underneath the dial is a sector that shows the day of the week as a symbolic graphic.

This is Saturday's image. It will change at noon to Sunday.

You can tour the interior with an audio guide. We did that, pausing along the way to look down the street at the cathedral.

And ending up atop the tower next to the clock for views like this one.

Rouen is where Joan of Arc was martyred. Nearby in the 1970s they built an extremely modern church. Here's an overview of it.

This marks the spot where she was burned at the stake.

We also visited another massive church, Saint Ouen. Here's its back end with buttresses.

St. Ouen has a west window that is almost psychedelic in its swirlyness.

Imagine making this out of stone?

For more wonky buildings, interior shots of the Cathedral and St. Ouen, views from the top of the clock tower, more of the Joan of Arc church and who knows what else, take a look at the Rouen Gallery. It's a new gallery with just the pics from the past two days in it, so, not quite as overwhelming as the Paris gallery became.

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