Saturday, 12 September 2015

They burnt a saint

Rouen's Notre Dame

There are a couple of places in France that do a illumination show - where they project a light show onto a building and synchronise it with music. They do this at the Notre Dame in Rouen. We timed dinner so that we would be at the church in time for the 9:30pm start. It was a real highlight. There were two stories - the first was of the Vikings and the second was for Jean d'Arc.

Rouen is where Jeanne d'Arc was burned at the stake in the 15C. She was the teenager who received political visions and instruction from other saints. Not a good thing to admit to. She supported Charles VII and wanted to free France from England's domination. Twenty five years after her execution, they decided she was innocent.  Oops, too late. Napoleon made her a national symbol and in 1920 she was canonised. There are some who say she escaped, but I doubt it. Amazingly they still have her trial records.

Bullet holes from WWII
Many of the beautiful buildings such as the court house and some of the churches have bullet holes from WWII. Like most churches in France, they removed the stained glass from the churches during 1939. Six thousand bombs where dropped on Rouen on April 19, 1944. It's a wonder anything is left.

The Court House
An unloved church
Parts of the church retained for the day they can be put back where they belong
The historic sector of the city is full of half timbered medieval buildings and narrow winding cobbled streets.

So, I wonder what the floor is like in that room...
Our GPS couldn’t find our B&B in Rouen. Google could because it knows where we are staying and marks them on the map (scary I know) so it took a bit of retracking to find the spot, even then I thought I’d made a mistake. It was on a busy road full of boring modern buildings and a light rail. The address we had just showed us some back metal gates. When you got inside, it was like an oasis: a beautiful garden hid the house at first, as you moved between the plants, it opened out to show an ivy covered maison. Inside had been recently decorated to a modern colour palette while keeping a mixture of the old and new which was gorgeous. Franc met us at the gate and showed us to our room. The pictures on the web don’t do it justice, it is beautiful. And the bathroom is the biggest on our trip with a doorless shower with a rainshower shower head. Lindsay was in heaven.

Franc invited us downstairs for a drink with another couple from England and we had an enjoyable chat over beer and cider with pistachios. You can tell Franc loves having guests to stay and he is very enthusiastic about everything. His guests come from everywhere – and while many can't speak French, they can usually speak English even if they are from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands or Japan. So Franc has started to take lessons in English so he can converse more with his guests.

1 comment:

  1. Great to see the Rouen entry - happy travelling (Ange and Chris)