France, Seine-Maritime Departement – Rouen
Many sights in Rouen are situated within the pedestrian zone which is very pleasant. There are many narrow cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses. The main attractions of Rouen are grandiose cathedrals, the renowned Museum of Beaux-Arts or Gros-Horloge – a fascinating clock tower.
One of France's largest Gothic cathedrals – Notre-Dame. Cathedral's center was built in the 13th century. However, the building itself was not finished until the 16th century. Despite bombing runs during the WWII, some stained glass remained unbroken. Moreover, the cathedral's facade will surely impress you. It even inspired Claude Monet's work. The motiff of the main entrance appeares in different time periods on many of Monet's paintings. Two towers rise above the cathedral. One of them is tour du Buerre (the Butter Tower). It was paid by the faithful who in turn were granted the priviledge to eat butter during Lent.
The 14th century Saint-Ouen abbey is another sacral building worthy your attention. The main tower of the abbey resembles a royal corwn. No wonder it has been dubbed "the crown of Normandy". The abbey is truly large. 80 stained glass windows provide the light inside the abbey. The south of the cathedral consists of a transept displaying the scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. Pay attention to the famous organ made by the famous Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. If the name doesn't ring a bell than consider he was the most famous organ maker of the 19th century. Close to the abbey there is Hôtel de Ville, the town-hall where monks formerly lived. A public park is situated just behind the public park, formerly abbey gardens.
Next we take you to the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) which is one of the best museums of its kind in France. The variety of its collections – paintings, statues, and other works of arts from the 15th to the 21st centuries. Works of Delacroix, Degas or Monet are icing on the cake here.
Dnešní procházku zakončíme u středověké památky, která je patrně nejzajímavějším místem ve městě, byť s poněkud mrazivou historií. Aître Saint-Maclou je v současné době domovem školy výtvarného umění. Její počátek se datuje do doby černé smrti – morové epidemie, která ve 14. století pustošila Evropu. Podobně jako jinde, i zde jí padlo za oběť na třetinu obyvatel. To, co je v současnosti nádvoří, byl v minulosti masový hrob a budovy kolem nádvoří byly kostnice.
Text: Maxim Kucer
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