2015-01-222015-01-22 Motorhome Rental Rouen, the heartbeat of France
Motorhome Rental Rouen, the heartbeat of France
The town of 100bell towers, Rouen is the historic capital of Normandy and a popular destination for motorhome holidays. Joan of Arc looms large here, with a museum in her honour, and a church built on the site where she was burnt at the stake. The medieval old town is distinctive, with its Norman half-timbered houses. A campervan rental in Rouen gives you access to the city, and also to the whole of Normandy.
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Road Trips From Rouen
There is plenty to see in Normandy, so a campervan rental is very handy! Head to the coast for World War II history:the D-Day Academy runs interactive tours in a mobile museum.
Honfleur is the most picturesque seaside town on the ‘Norman Riviera’, while Monet’s house and garden is a living museum. There’s even a water-lily pond preserved exactly as it was when the artist lived there. It is in the village of Giverny - very quaint, with narrow cobbled streets, so not so camper-friendly! To make a day of it, head to the larger town of Vernon, especially on Saturday when the markets are busy. Grab a bike and head down the 5km cycleway, along the Seine, to Giverny.
The nearest international airport to Rouen is Deauville-Normandie, 80km away. Ryanair fly there directly from London Stansted. But Normandy is accessible from Paris by train, or ferry into Le Havre.
Finding a place to stay in Rouen
Just out of Rouen, luxury sites with a swimming pool are available at 4-star Camping la Foret, set in National Park forest. Camping L’aubette is 2-star, but perfectly comfortable, with a restaurant and shop on-site, plus hot showers.
Culinary Experiences, the restaurants of Rouen
While your campervan stove is undoubtedly reliable, you simply have to indulge in some Rouen cuisine. The greater Normandy region has unique produce. With 600km of coastline, seafood is a speciality. Oysters are classified the same way as wine and cheese with an AOC (controlled origin name). A Rouen speciality is apple candy, ‘Sucres de Pommes’. Apples and pears are plentiful throughout the area, and feature in regional specialities such as cider and calvados. Calvados with apple ice-cream, ‘Trou Normand’, is the traditional way to clear the palate between luscious Norman courses. Pascaline is a Rouen restaurant that serves traditional cuisine. It is especially good value for lunch, with a Formule Midi (fixed price menu). At night, there is live piano and jazz on a Thursday.
What to see and do in Rouen
Immerse yourself in medieval history, starting with a walk through the pedestrianised Old Town. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is a gothic structure, but is continually evolving. Its 19th century cast-iron spire rises to 151m, the highest in France. The church was the inspiration for Monet to paint his Cathedral series - the Impressionist movement had a stronghold in Normandy.
A modern church stands on the site where Joan of Arc was killed, featuring restored 16th century stained glass panels. There is more to learn at the Joan of Arc Museum and Tour Joan D’Arc, where her trial was held.
The Musee des Beaux-Arts is another must-see. It has stunning exhibitions from all periods of French history, but is best known for its Impressionist collection and sculpture garden.
Driving Tips for Rouen – toll roads in France
There are many toll roads on the French auto-route system. Generally you take a ticket at the beginning of the road, and pay by cash or credit card at the exit. A sign with a ‘T’ on it means it’s a lane for electronic tag holders - don’t use that lane unless it indicates it also takes cash or cards.