Rouen, on the banks of the Seine, is one of France's oldest cities and has plenty of interest to travellers in Normandy. Founded in 911, it was here that Joan of Arc was tried and subsequently burnt at the stake in the Place de Vieux-Marche in 1431. It was in Rouen, too, that the famed French painter Théodore Géricault was born and where Monet spent many sittings painting portraits of the city's cathedral, now among his most celebrated series of works.
Many of Rouen's landmarks are situated on the northern bank of the Seine and of those, Rouen Cathedral takes centre stage. This magnificent gothic masterpiece is intricately sculpted on the outside and grand and expansive on the inside. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries, and has been updated and restored several times.
Nearby are Rouen's many museums including the city's Musée des Beaux-Arts - Caravaggio, Rubens and Monet are all represented - and the Musée Jeanne d'Arc, which is located close to the spot on which the Maid of Orléans was executed.
A popular excursion from Rouen is to Giverny, home to Monet's house and garden, half way between the city and Paris. Art lovers flock here to admire the famous water-lily pond and gardens in which the great French Impressionist painter produced some of his recognisable scenes.