Friday, September 22, 2017

Rouen, France/Day 1

Bon jour! 
I've tried to think about the best way to share our trip to France.
I've decided to go ahead and write things chronologically as it will give you a bit of an itinerary in the event you embark on this journey for yourself. 

The non-stop flight out of DFW on American Airlines leaves at around 5:20 p.m.  
We booked 10 or 11 months in advance so all of us were able to get on the same flight. 
Once we were in the air, the flight attendants brought a snack, drinks and finally dinner. 
Once dinner was served, the lights were dimmed in the cabin and it was time to sleep.
They provided a pillow and a blanket.  
I took half of a sleep aide which I had tested at home. 
I also stayed up to 2:30 a.m. the night before so that even though I was geeked about our trip, I would be able to nap the next afternoon.  
I had the most success out of all of us in the sleep department.
 I was also the most "hungover" because of the sleep aide. 
My husband briefly dozed but he said I kept squirming and it kept him up. 
Trying to sleep in an airplane seat isn't the most comfortable and I had aches and pains by the time we landed.  
Shortly before we landed at 9:40 a.m., breakfast was served. 
The flight took a little over 8 hours.
We breezed through customs. 
We were being met by a driver who was taking us to Rouen which is in the Normandy region. 
It was about an hour and 45 minute drive but I think it took us longer than that with traffic.
The driver wasn't sure how much luggage we had so he brought a bus. 

A bus big enough for 56 passengers - hilarious. 
We had plenty of room to spread out and nap a little which we did once we left the Paris.  
We couldn't see much but were able to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. 

We dropped our luggage off at our hotel in Rouen -The Hotel Mercure Rouen Centre - Cathedral.
It was wonderful. 
We embarked on a walking tour of Rouen. 
Rouen was the capital of Normandy and it is a wonderful place to glimpse medieval history. 
Our first stop was the Rouen Cathedral. 
It was our first Cathedral in Europe and it did not disappoint. 

Richard the Lionheart's heart is buried in the Cathedral. 

The town was a wonderful place to explore as newbie European travelers. 
It looked like something out of a Disney movie. 

Do you notice the person in the window above the Gros Horloge (Great Clock)? 
Adore! I didn't notice her when I took the picture but saw it when I was editing photos. 
The movement of this clock dates from 1389. 

The cobblestone streets surrounding the clock area are narrow.

The buildings are whimsical and charming.

Modern stores are housed on the street level. 
There was shopping galore but we were a little too tired for that. 

We ate lunch at a little café. We were not so successful ordering or first meal in France. 
I think we were all too tired to learn how to translate the menu. 
My husband got glared at because he sat down in a chair and spoiled a dog's view. 
Aside from the magical scenery I wasn't sure at this point about foreign travel. 
We had no cash because our cards wouldn't work even though we'd given our banks and credit card company notice we were in France. It was Friday and the banks in the U.S. weren't open yet. 
I was stressed out by this. I'm sure lack of sleep didn't help my stress level.

We were able to see WWII damage to the 15th century Palais de Justice. 

At this point a French man stopped to converse with our little group.
He was able to give us the history of the building.
He was not shy about expressing his admiration for this humble blogger's appearance.
It was a little awkward but I will say that very rarely has anyone called me beautiful/belle.
Bill wasn't sure if I was going to follow this French man back to his appartement or not.
Of course I wasn't! 

There is a memorial to Joan of Arc who ended up in a funeral prye in the city in 1431. 
We ran out of time to visit the musée.

None of us can remember where we ate dinner or what we had because we were all so tired.
(It was Brasserie Paul and I think I had the Coq au Vin.)

We stayed awake for the light show at the Rouen Cathedral. 
It was well worth it but had I hit the ground when I fell asleep standing up, I'm not sure it would have been worth it. I literally caught myself falling over at one point. 

We fell into bed and slept soundly all night. 
Rouen is a wonderful and charming French town that is rich with history. 
It is well worth a visit.
It is close to the Normandy beaches which was our next destination.
Thanks for letting me share our first day in France. 


  1. Katie,
    I am reliving my visits to France through your blog posts. I loved Rouen. Manfield... I have more than one pair of shoes made by Manfield. Always time for shoe shopping! :)


  2. It's fun seeing the trip through your eyes and reading about it, too!

  3. Katie,
    Came back for another little French tour and had to comment about the Frenchman... Ahhh... you experienced firsthand why Frenchmen have the reputation of "typical" Frenchmen... charming, flirts, admirers, lovers...


  4. It's good that you enjoyed your trip. 8 hours is a long time to journey to a foreign country so you did well.. Getting to France is not quite so bad for me. it's only a short distance. If I had to go to America it would be very different. Why did you go to France though?

  5. Oh, I'm so glad you are going chronologically -- it will feel like we are with you! Rouen was a spot I didn't get in France and I'd love to see the Rouen Cathedral (the light show looks amazing!). Isn't that the one Monet did several studies of? I think so. Looks like a grand trip. And of course the Frenchman thought you were belle because you are!

  6. wow, i didn't know about the cathedral being lit up. we were based in normandy for a week, and paris for a week when we went a few years ago. can't wait to see more of your time in france!