Rouen, France : sunset on the city of hundred spires

A quick visit of Rouen, the French city of hundred spires.

Rouen, sunset on the Cathedral from Cote Sainte-Catherine
Rouen, France :  sunset on the Cathedral from Cote Sainte-Catherine

Last Saturday, as I woke up around 5 a.m. to go and take some pictures of Paris at sunrise, I eventually found myself short of new places to photograph, and thought it would be nice to go somewhere else than Paris for a change. Three hours later, I was waking my girlfriend up and suggesting the “wild” idea of going to Rouen in the morning and coming back late in the evening. Despite my fears of her being mad at me for such an unplanned idea, she hesitated a bit, and yet got convinced that this might end up being a great idea.

I had been thinking about going to Rouen for quite a long time. The capital city of Normandy is famous for its gigantic cathedral, which once was Europe’s tallest building, and its colourful and charming streets surrounded by half-timbered medieval houses. What prompted me to eventually go to Rouen last Saturday was the very nice weather and the fact that with the upcoming time change, it would have been more difficult later in the year to enjoy sunset there and leave for Paris late at night.

Indeed, before I first went to Rouen, I already knew there was one photo I absolutely wanted to take there. From the top of Cote Sainte-Catherine, there’s a panoramic view on Rouen which is astounding : the whole city lies before your eyes, with its numerous spires, and the Seine river gently flowing down to the Channel at the right hand. At sunset, when the sun disappears in the far distance, the view becomes mesmerising.

But to go there, one must deserve it : the long way to the top of Cote Sainte-Catherine is pretty steep. Of course, you might want to take the bus, which can take you up there in less than 10 minutes, but there aren’t many buses at sunset hours first, and then, the view is so much more rewarding when you’ve had to lug yourself up the hill by yourself.

In the end, I think going to Rouen was my greatest idea this year until now : the city was marvellous (I’ll post pictures in future articles), and the view I was dreaming of was even more breathtaking than I could ever had hoped. That’s one new city you should add to your trip if you ever go to France !

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