Famously described by Victor Hugo as the city of ‘a hundred spires’, Rouen’s medieval buildings, colourful half-timbered houses and rich historic heritage draws tourists from all over the world in search of a quintessentially Norman experience. Whether it’s comtemplating the iconic cathedral, marvelling at masterpieces at the Fine Arts Museum, enjoying Rouen’s thriving cultural and student scene or learning about the city’s glorious past at the Gros Horloge, this is the place, no matter what time of year you choose to go.

Rouen in spring

Springtime in Rouen brings with it the glorious sight of lively cobbled streets, bright half-timbered buildings and sunny terraces bustling with activity. A leisurely lunch or relaxed dinner at one of Rouen’s many outdoor restaurants is one of the very best ways to enjoy the city, as you soak up the sun. It’s a great time of the year to wander in the parks and public gardens as they come alive with beautiful blossom or to rummage for antique treasures in one of the city’s outdoor flea markets.

L’Espiguette restaurant in Rouen © V. Rustuel

Rouen in summer

Every summer evening when the sun goes down, visitors gather in front of the sublime Gothic cathedral for a spectacular free light show projected onto its facade. Immerse yourself in a magical world of bright lights and colours as you learn all about Rouen’s history. Get your cultural fix at any one of Rouen’s many fascinating museums, explore the back medieval streets in search of hidden gems, enjoy fine dining at a multitude of restaurants across the city and get stuck into Rouen’s buzzing nightlife.

Old market square in Rouen © H. Sentucq

Rouen in Autumn

Whether you’re looking to prolong the summer, you want to avoid the crowds or you’re after dramatic landscapes bursting with golden colours, autumn is an ideal time to explore Rouen and appreciate all of its natural and man-made beauty. Head out of the city centre to Bonsecours and climb 140m to the top of St Catherine’s Hill for breathtaking views of the River Seine and the city, by day and by night.

© R. Hondier

Rouen in winter

Winter in Rouen can be truly magical. See the city come alive after dark and make the most of the longer nights in the city’s illuminated streets full of old-world charm and winter wonderland which runs through December. Wrap up warm and enjoy some evening shopping on the rue du Gros-Horloge, admire the city’s Christmas decorations, and sip mulled wine or cider as you browse the stalls of the Christmas market on the cathedral square.

© Miles and Love

City break in Rouen

City break in Rouen

Quirky and unusual spots in Rouen

Quirky and unusual spots in Rouen