Monday, October 3, 2016

Cruising the Seine and Walking in Rouen

We woke up this morning to an eerily foggy view. The fog was thick which only allowed us these ghostly outlines of the banks of the Seine. At 7:00am we met Dave and Deanne in the dining room for breakfast. After a nice meal Thomas and I returned to the room and I took some pictures of our foggy cruising. Then around 10:00am I met Deanne in the lobby and we played dominoes for about an hour. After that, I walked around and took some pictures of the ship and then ended up on the sun deck. By this time the fog had cleared and we got some beautiful views of the banks. I took pictures and then sat and just enjoyed the rest of the morning. I returned to the cabin about twenty minutes to noon and then at noon we went to the dining room for lunch. While at lunch we docked at Rouen. After finishing lunch we returned to the cabin and gathered our things. Then we stopped by the reception desk and got our cards and then met our group on the dock for our walking tour of Rouen.
We started our walk at 1:45pm at the southern end of Rouen and made our way north. We saw lots of half-timbered houses and a couple of gothic churches. We learned about the city during the war - what was bombed and what survived. Then we visited Cathédrale Notre Dame, such a beautiful and historic building. Our guide did a thorough tour of the inside of the Cathedral. Just on the right as we entered was a breathtaking staircase and the stain glass windows were phenomenal. We spent about 40 minutes in the church and then went out the front door so that we could get a look at the monumental facade. The Cathédrale Notre Dame is a stunning piece of architecture - I enjoyed the time we spent here.

From the Cathedral we walked along Rue de Gros Horloge to the Gros Horloge.
We turned onto Rue Thouret and walked to the Palais de Justice. This put us on Rue aux Juifs right in front of the courts. We continued along Rue aux Juifs which changed to Place du Maréchal Foch and then to Rue Rollon. At the end of Rue Rollon we reached Eglise Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc. This is where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Before going into the church our guide pointed out Restaurant La Couronne. This is the oldest restaurant in France and it is where Julia Childs ate her first french meal in France. This dining experience changed her life - it gave her the inspiration to go into cooking. Eglise Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc is a bit different in architecture than most churches and is dramatically different than the Cathedral. It has an asymmetrical shape and some strong angles. Inside it is open and cavernous. The pews are arranged in groups of three or four arcs. They have very low backs and no arms. They face the altar which is on a low raised stage and is simple in design. The ceiling curves upwards towards the middle and is made of wood - it looks like ribs holding the boards in place. Not sure if I liked it but it was different.

[NOTE: When we got home I searched the internet about the church and found that the sweeping lines of the church represent the flames that consumed Joan of Arc on the same square in 1431.]

Our guided tour ended here and we had the rest of the afternoon to walk around on our own. We did some window shopping, got some postcards and just explored. We spent our time in the older section of Rouen which was fine by me. It was a beautiful area and I loved it. My favorite part of the tour was the Cathedral.
At 4:30pm we headed back to the ship for a little rest before dinner. After taking a shower I spent some time editing pictures and then Thomas and I met Deanne and Dave in the lounge for a drink. During our drink, the program director talked about Viking and other cruises they offer and we got the daily briefing. At 7:00pm we headed to the dining room for dinner. We ended up eating dinner with a nice couple (Mike & Anne) from Seattle. It was another great meal. At 9:00pm we came back to the cabin and I continued editing pictures and wrote his post. Now it is time to get some rest - tomorrow we visit the area of the D-Day invasion.

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