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Rouan (Breton)
Rouen (37903223574).jpg
Palais de justice de Rouen (30812947341).jpg
Place du Vieux-Marche, Rouen (2).jpg
Gros Horloge, Rouen.jpg
Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, Tour de Beffroi.jpg
Rouen - Maison des Mariages-02.jpg
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Pont Gustave-Flaubert 4.JPG
From left to right, top to bottom: partial view of the city and the Seine from Côte Sainte-Catherine; the courthouse; Place du Vieux-Marché; rue du Gros-Horloge, at night; Rouen Cathedral; the National Museum of Education; sailboats during the 2019 edition of the Armada; the Gustave-Flaubert Bridge.
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Coats of Arms of Rouen.svg
Location of Rouen
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Normandie region location map.svg
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Coordinates: 49°26′34″N01°05′19″E / 49.44278°N 1.08861°E / 49.44278; 1.08861 Coordinates: 49°26′34″N01°05′19″E / 49.44278°N 1.08861°E / 49.44278; 1.08861
Country France
Region Normandy
Department Seine-Maritime
Arrondissement Rouen
Canton 3 cantons
Intercommunality Métropole Rouen Normandie
  Mayor (20202026) Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol (PS)
21.38 km2 (8.25 sq mi)
461.1 km2 (178.0 sq mi)
2,792.2 km2 (1,078.1 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019) [1]
  Rank 36th in France
  Density5,300/km2 (14,000/sq mi)
  Urban density1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
  Metro density250/km2 (650/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Rouen ( UK: /ˈrɒ̃,ˈrɒn/ , US: /rˈɒ̃,rˈɒn/ ; [2] [3] French:  [ʁwɑ̃] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) or [ʁu.ɑ̃] ; Breton : Rouan)[ needs Norman IPA ] is a city on the River Seine in northern France. It is the prefecture of the region of Normandy and the department of Seine-Maritime. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, the population of the metropolitan area (French : aire d'attraction ) is 702,945 (2018). [4] People from Rouen are known as Rouennais.


Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries. From the 13th century onwards, the city experienced a remarkable economic boom, thanks in particular to the development of textile factories and river trade. Claimed by both the French and the English during the Hundred Years' War, it was on its soil that Joan of Arc was tried and burned alive on 30 May 1431. Severely damaged by the wave of bombing in 1944, it nevertheless regained its economic dynamism in the post-war period thanks to its industrial sites and its large seaport, which today is the fifth largest in France.[ citation needed ]

Endowed with a prestige established during the medieval era, and with a long architectural heritage in its historical monuments, Rouen is an important cultural capital. Several renowned establishments are located here, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Secq des Tournelles museum, and Rouen Cathedral.

Seat of an archdiocese, it also hosts a court of appeal and a university. Every four to six years, Rouen becomes the showcase for a large gathering of sailing ships called "L'Armada"; this event makes the city an occasional capital of the maritime world.


Rouen was founded by the Gaulish tribe of the Veliocasses, who controlled a large area in the lower Seine valley. They called it Ratumacos; the Romans called it Rotomagus. It was considered the second city of Gallia Lugdunensis after Lugdunum (Lyon) itself. Under the reorganization of Diocletian, Rouen was the chief city of the divided province Gallia Lugdunensis II and reached the apogee of its Roman development, with an amphitheatre and thermae of which foundations remain. In the 5th century, it became the seat of a bishopric and later a capital of Merovingian Neustria.

From their first incursion into the lower valley of the Seine in 841, the Normans overran Rouen. From 912, Rouen was the capital of the Duchy of Normandy and residence of the local dukes, until William the Conqueror moved his residence to Caen. [5] In 1150, Rouen received its founding charter which permitted self-government.

During the 12th century, Rouen was the site of a yeshiva known as La Maison Sublime. Discovered in 1976, it is now a museum. [6] At that time, about 6,000 Jews lived in the town, comprising about 20% of the population.[ citation needed ]

On 24 June 1204, King Philip II Augustus of France entered Rouen and definitively annexed Normandy to the French Kingdom. He demolished the Norman castle and replaced it with his own, the Château Bouvreuil, built on the site of the Gallo-Roman amphitheatre.[ citation needed ] A textile industry developed based on wool imported from England, for which the cities of Flanders and Brabant were constantly competitors, and finding its market in the Champagne fairs. Rouen also depended for its prosperity on the river traffic of the Seine, on which it enjoyed a monopoly that reached as far upstream as Paris.[ citation needed ]

In the 13th and 14th centuries urban strife threatened the city: in 1291, the mayor was assassinated and noble residences in the city were pillaged. Philip IV reimposed order and suppressed the city's charter and the lucrative monopoly on river traffic, but he was quite willing to allow the Rouennais to repurchase their old liberties in 1294.[ citation needed ] In 1306, he decided to expel the Jewish community of Rouen, then numbering some five or six thousand. In 1389, another urban revolt of the underclass occurred, the Harelle . It was suppressed with the withdrawal of Rouen's charter and river-traffic privileges once more.[ citation needed ]

During the Hundred Years' War, on 19 January 1419, Rouen surrendered to Henry V of England, who annexed Normandy once again to the Plantagenet domains but Rouen did not go quietly: Alain Blanchard hanged English prisoners from the walls, for which he was summarily executed while Canon and Vicar General of Rouen Robert de Livet became a hero for excommunicating the English king, resulting in de Livet's imprisonment for five years in England.[ citation needed ] Joan of Arc, who supported a return to French rule, was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431 in this city, where most inhabitants supported the duke of Burgundy, the French king's enemy. The king of France, Charles VII, recaptured the town in 1449.

Rouen was staunchly Catholic during the French Wars of Religion, and underwent an unsuccessful five-month siege in 1591/2 by the Protestant King Henry IV of France and an English force commanded by the Earl of Essex. A brief account by an English participant has survived. See 'Memoirs of Robert Carey', (F.H.Mares (ed.), Oxford, 1972), pp. 18–21.

The first competitive motor race ran from Paris to Rouen in 1894.[ citation needed ]

During the German occupation in World War II, the Kriegsmarine had its headquarters located in a chateau on what is now the Rouen Business School. The city was heavily damaged during the same war on D-day, and its famed cathedral was almost destroyed by Allied bombs.

Main sights

Left to right: St Ouen, Notre Dame, St Maclou Cathedrale de Rouen vue de l'Opera.JPG
Left to right: St Ouen, Notre Dame, St Maclou

Rouen is known for its Rouen Cathedral, with its Tour de Beurre (butter tower) financed by the sale of indulgences for the consumption of butter during Lent. The cathedral's gothic façade (completed in the 16th century) was the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet, some of which are exhibited in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

The Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock dating back to the 14th century. [7] It is located in the Gros Horloge street.

Place Barthelemy with the church St Maclou, 360deg-panorama 2019
(view as a 360deg interactive panorama) Place Barthelemy, Rouen, France - 360deg panorama 2019.jpg
Place Barthélémy with the church St Maclou, 360°-panorama 2019
( view as a 360° interactive panorama )

Other famous structures include Rouen Castle, whose keep is known as the tour Jeanne d'Arc, where Joan of Arc was brought in 1431 to be threatened with torture (contrary to popular belief, she was not imprisoned there but in the since destroyed tour de lady Pucelle); the Church of Saint Ouen (12th–15th century); the Palais de Justice , which was once the seat of the Parlement (French court of law) of Normandy; the Gothic Church of St Maclou (15th century); and the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics which contains a splendid collection of faïence and porcelain for which Rouen was renowned during the 16th to 18th centuries. Rouen is also noted for its surviving half-timbered buildings.

There are many museums in Rouen: the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, an art museum with pictures of well-known painters such as Claude Monet and Géricault; the Musée maritime fluvial et portuaire, a museum on the history of the port of Rouen and navigation; Musée des antiquités, [8] an art and history museum with local works from the Bronze Age through the Renaissance, the Musée de la céramique and the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles.

The Jardin des Plantes de Rouen is a notable botanical garden once owned by Scottish banker John Law, dating from 1840 in its present form. It was the site of Élisa Garnerin's parachute jump from a balloon in 1817. There is also a park and garden at the Champs de Mars, to the east of the city centre. The Paris–Rouen motor race of 1894, Le Petit Journal Horseless Carriages Contest, ended at the Champs de Mars. [9]

In the centre of the Place du Vieux Marché (the site of Joan of Arc's pyre) [10] is the modern church of St Joan of Arc. This is a large, modern structure which dominates the square. The form of the building represents an upturned viking boat and a fish shape. [11]

Rouen was also home to the French Grand Prix, hosting the race at the nearby Rouen-Les-Essarts track sporadically between 1952 and 1968. In 1999 Rouen authorities demolished the grandstands and other remnants of Rouen's racing past. Today, little remains beyond the public roads that formed the circuit.

Rouen has an opera house, whose formal name is "Rouen Normandy Opera House – Theatre of Arts" (in French: Opéra de Rouen Normandie – Théâtre des arts).


Rouen has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Köppen climate classification).

Climate data for Rouen (URO), elevation: 151 m (495 ft), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1968–present
Record high °C (°F)14.7
Average high °C (°F)6.4
Daily mean °C (°F)3.7
Average low °C (°F)1.1
Record low °C (°F)−17.1
Average precipitation mm (inches)76.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)13.010.311.910.711.
Average snowy days4.
Average relative humidity (%)90868378798079808489909184
Mean monthly sunshine hours 58.674.5117.4158.0182.8202.2199.2191.8156.1107.860.049.21,557.5
Source 1: Meteo France [12] [13]
Source 2: (relative humidity 1961–1990) [14]


Mainline trains operate from Gare de Rouen-Rive-Droite to Le Havre and Paris, and regional trains to Caen, Dieppe and other local destinations in Normandy. Daily direct trains operate to Amiens and Lille, and direct TGVs (high-speed trains) connect daily with Lyon and Marseille.

City transportation in Rouen consists of a tram and a bus system. The tramway branches into two lines out of a tunnel under the city centre. Rouen is also served by TEOR (Transport Est-Ouest Rouennais) and by buses run in conjunction with the tramway by TCAR (Transports en commun de l'agglomération rouennaise), a subsidiary of Transdev.

Rouen has its own airport.

The Seine is a major axis for maritime cargo links in the Port of Rouen. The Cross-Channel ferry ports of Caen, Le Havre, Dieppe (50 minutes) and Calais, and the Channel Tunnel are within easy driving distance (two and a half hours or less).

Gros-Horloge Gros-Horloge, detail.jpg
The tramway Rouen Citadis trams II.jpg
The tramway


Rouen and its metropolitan area of 70 suburban communes form the Métropole Rouen Normandie, with 494,382 inhabitants at the 2010 census. In descending order of population, the largest of these suburbs are Sotteville-lès-Rouen, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Le Grand-Quevilly, Le Petit-Quevilly, and Mont-Saint-Aignan, each with a population exceeding 20,000.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 84,323    
1800 80,755−0.62%
1806 86,672+1.19%
1821 86,736+0.00%
1831 88,086+0.15%
1836 92,083+0.89%
1841 96,002+0.84%
1846 99,295+0.68%
1851 100,265+0.19%
1856 103,223+0.58%
1861 102,649−0.11%
1866 100,671−0.39%
1872 102,470+0.30%
1876 104,902+0.59%
1881 105,906+0.19%
1886 107,163+0.24%
1891 112,352+0.95%
1896 113,219+0.15%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 116,316+0.54%
1906 118,459+0.37%
1911 124,987+1.08%
1921 123,712−0.10%
1926 122,898−0.13%
1931 122,957+0.01%
1936 122,832−0.02%
1946 107,739−1.30%
1954 116,540+0.99%
1962 120,857+0.46%
1968 120,471−0.05%
1975 114,834−0.68%
1982 101,945−1.69%
1990 102,723+0.10%
1999 106,592+0.41%
2007 108,569+0.23%
2012 111,557+0.54%
2017 110,145−0.25%
Source: EHESS [15] and INSEE (1968-2017) [16]


The main schools of higher education are the University of Rouen and NEOMA Business School (former École Supérieure de Commerce de Rouen), Unilasalle (agronomy and agriculture), both located at nearby Mont-Saint-Aignan, and the INSA Rouen, ESIGELEC, ESITech and the CESI, the three at nearby Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.


The main opera company in Rouen is the Opéra de Rouen – Normandie. The company performs in the Théâtre des Arts, 7 rue du Docteur Rambert. The company presents opera, classical and other types of music, both vocal and instrumental, as well as dance performances. [17] Every five years, the city hosts the large maritime exposition, L'Armada. [18]

The city is represented by Quevilly-Rouen football club, currently in Ligue 2. [19] Officially called Union Sportive Quevillaise-Rouen Métropole, the club play at the 12.018 capacity Stade Robert Diochon in nearby Le Petit-Quevilly. Rouen Normandie Rugby represent the city in Rugby Union. [20] One of few professional rugby teams from northern France, Rouen Normandie Rugby, currently play in the second-tier Pro D2. Dragons de Rouen, an ice hockey club, play in the top-tier Ligue Magnus at the Île Lacroix arena. Baseball is also played in the city at Stade Saint Exupéry. The local team, Huskies de Rouen play in the top French tier, they also play some games in European competition.

Notable residents

King Edward IV King Edward IV.jpg
King Edward IV
Pierre Corneille Pierre Corneille 2.jpg
Pierre Corneille
Thomas Corneille Jacob van Loo Thomas Corneille.JPG
Thomas Corneille
Jean Jouvenet Jean Jouvenet Selfportrait.jpg
Jean Jouvenet
Jean Restout Maurice Quentin de La Tour - Jean Restout - Musee Antoine-Lecuyer.jpg
Jean Restout
Gustave Flaubert, 1865 Gustave Flaubert.jpg
Gustave Flaubert, 1865
A class at the Lycee Pierre-Corneille, Rouen 1902, artists Robert Antoine Pinchon (second row, right) and Marcel Duchamp (third row, left) A class at the Lycee Pierre-Corneille, Rouen 1902, Robert Antoine Pinchon and Marcel Duchamp.jpg
A class at the Lycée Pierre-Corneille, Rouen 1902, artists Robert Antoine Pinchon (second row, right) and Marcel Duchamp (third row, left)
Salon des Artistes Rouennais, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, c. 1930 Salon des Artistes Rouennais, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, c.1930.jpg
Salon des Artistes Rouennais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, c. 1930
Francois Hollande, 2017 Francois Hollande - 2017 (27869823159) (cropped 2).jpg
François Hollande, 2017

Rouen was the birthplace of:

International relations

Rouen is twinned with:

Artist Arne Quinze ArneQuinze byDaveBruel (cropped).jpg
Artist Arne Quinze


During the second half of the 20th century, several sculptures by Jean-Yves Lechevallier were erected in the city. Inaugurated in 2010, the Rouen Impressionnée hosted the contemporary urban (re)development [52] installation sculpture 'Camille' by Belgian artist Arne Quinze. Quinze's use of interlocking systems in sculpture employ wood, concrete, paint and metal. The Quasi-Quinze [53] method of sculpture utilizes structural integrity and randomness as key elements for 'Camille'. Located on the Boieldieu Bridge in the center of Rouen, this intentional location was chosen by the artist [54] to magnify the historical separation of its city's citizens.

Fleurs d'eau, by Jean-Yves Lechevallier Fleur d'eau Rouen. Jean Yves Lechevallier.jpg
Fleurs d'eau, by Jean-Yves Lechevallier

Representations in art

Rouen Cathedral, Full Sunlight, by Claude Monet, 1894. RouenCathedral Monet 1894.jpg
Rouen Cathedral, Full Sunlight, by Claude Monet, 1894.

Rouen Cathedral is the subject of a series of paintings by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet, who painted the same scene at different times of the day. Two paintings are in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; two are in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow; one is in the National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade. The estimated value of one painting is over $40 million.


Arms of Rouen Arms of Rouen.svg
Arms of Rouen
The arms of Rouen are blazoned  :
Gules, a pascal lamb, haloed and contorny, holding a banner argent charged with a cross Or, and on a chief azure, 3 fleurs de lys Or

This may be rendered, "On a red background a haloed white pascal lamb looking back over its shoulder (contorny) holds a white banner bearing a gold cross; above, a broad blue band across the top bears 3 gold fleurs de lis".
On the front of the "Grand Poste" (rue Jeanne d'Arc), the banner is charged with a leopard (the lion passant seen on Norman and English arms). This was the official seal of Rouen at the beginning of the 12th century, before Normandy was incorporated into Capetian France.

See also

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