June 5, 2015.
Arriving late afternoon in Rouen.
Although we prefer to go places on a whim, our rough schedule had us arriving in Rouen late on a Friday in June; consequently we thought it prudent to book three nights ahead of time.
After dealing with the hotel and parking our first stop was the market. Under this modern roofline you can find all sorts of goodies – and if you’re picnic-inclined you will be in picnic heaven! Even though it was just about to close we picked up some yummy French bread.And managed to snag 20 sausages for five Euros at the farmer’s market plus a treat or two at a nearby pastry shop.
An archway with its elaborate clock overhead led us into the oldest part of the city. We stopped at the huge Gothic cathedral and spent some time doing a walk around the exterior along with taking a hundred or so photos of the interior details.
Near the cathedral Norman-style half-timbered buildings lined the narrow streets.
By now we were hungry but Al refused to order off of any more French menus as “everything we get is either weird or unusual!” An hour later we finally located a restaurant with an English menu. I was pleased as it was my idea of a perfect-looking French bistro, and Al was pleased as they had Grimbergen beer for him.Our choice for dinner was ‘turbot + asparagus + ratatouille’. I was a bit surprised that ‘asparagus’ meant only one stalk of asparagus and that the ‘ratatouille’ consisted of two slices of eggplant with some vegetables stuffed in between. However it was very tasty and redeemed French cooking in Al’s eyes.It had chilled down considerably by the time we left the restaurant so we went back to the hotel for warm fleecies. This tower caught in the evening light was on our walk.
Out again, and another big search – this time for a bar where we could just order a beer and not food. It was Friday night and there seemed to be only restaurants open. Finally we found the Bar Shahmeran, named after a lovely mystical woman/snake. There was subtle Middle Eastern music and Belgian beer! One Lachouffe later we done in and call it a night.So ended our first evening in Rouen. The next day we would be off to the ruins of Jumieges Abbey followed by our first French picnic and then a drive along the ‘cider route’ which later changed to the ‘cheese route’ at Livarot.
More of our 2015 trip to Northwestern France.