A little story about our train tickets.......
We had purchased our train tickets to Rouen on Wednesday, as we had a little extra time before touring the Catacombs, and there was a nearby ticket boutique, as they call them here. We walked in and a lovely young lady greeted us in French, of course. I asked "parlais vou Englaise"? She said yes, a little. Great, I thought--we've got it made! She asked where we wanted to go, and I said "Rouen" in my best French accent. She said "pardon me"???? I repeated myself, using a little more "french", or so I thought. Wrong.
Hmmmm, she said as she slid a slip of paper and a pen toward me, so I could write it down. Humbled, I wrote it down. Ahhh! She exclaimed--and then proceeded to hawk a lugi, at least that's exactly how she pronounced it! I hadn't even come close--no wonder she had no idea where we wanted to go! We all chuckled a little, and completed our ticket transaction without further embarrasment on my part.
Thursday morning, hard earned tickets in hand, we took the Metro to the BIG train Station-Gare St. Lazare.
We arrived in plenty of time to find our platform, check the reader board, and watch how other people validated their tickets prior to boarding the train. We're nubies at this train stuff--and even managed to get on the wrong car! Finally settled it our proper seats in the correct car, we were off to Rouen!
Roen is a mid-sized town (pop. 106,000) in the province of Normandy. Rouen dates back to at least the 1400's, as it's main claim to fame is as the place where Joan of Arc was tried and burned at the stake in 1431. It is also known for it's gothic cathedrals, notably Notre Dame, which Monet painted many times.
It's a charming city, full of narrow winding streets that were fun to explore:
We started with the Cathedral Notre Dame du Rouen. Oh, my! How to describe this beautiful place? I've used all the superlatives I know in describing Paris, and words really aren't adequate. First of all, it's huge!
We had read about an antique market held on Thursdays, and so decided to check it out. It was across the river Seine, so we consulted our map, chose a pedestrian bridge to walk across. Look at the strange art installation on this bridge--hopefully it's only temporary:
Well rested and well fed, we explored this side of Rouen a bit, it wasn't quite as pretty as the other area of town, Back across the river, and on to some Joan of Arc sites. here is the church built (in recent times) in her honor, it's very modern in it's design, and seems strangly out of place:
The last Joan of Arc site we visited was an ancient tower, which is all that's left of the building in which she was tried, convicted and sentenced to burn a the stake: