Who better to ask, than a local on their inside scoop of the city? We all know that the locals know their city best and here at Rouen Normandy Tourism & Congress we have asked Julien Leloup, on our Sales Team, for his advice and inside scoop on what to do and not to miss when you visit the Capital city of Normandy.
After 10 years of living abroad, I decided to return to Rouen and I was pleasantly surprised with my homecoming, by discovering my city unchanged as I left it.
Meeting up friends and acquaintances is so easy here, seeing that the city is concentrated over a few square kilometers and all of my favourite cafés, terraces and restaurants are not far apart and all in walking distance.
Personally, I love the Cauchoise district. The area is quite popular with students and visitors alike and Rue Cauchoise with its cobblestones and half-timbered houses is directly linked to the Old Market Square and the Rue des Bons Enfants. This district truly is alive – day and night – and is filled with shops, bars, restaurants and in particular the famous “Boîte à Bières”, one of Rouen’s most renowned beer bars.
Just a stone throws away, you can get lost in Rue des Bons Enfants, that is bestrewn with a dozen artist shops, art galleries and street art. In September 2020 the street’s parking barriers have been transformed into original pieces of art that are tagged with QR codes. This allows you to find more information on the artists who created each piece.
I highly recommend you visit this district, not only for its discoveries, but also its lively “atmosphere”.
I recently went to the newly renovated restaurant, Café Victor and tried the “canard à la rouennaise” or Rouen Duckling – a specialty of the Rouen Seine Valley. The rouennaise sauce is a gastronomic delight! Your duckling will be prepared before you by a master chef – who will insert the duck carcass into a press which will extract the “cooking juice”. Thereafter the tender meat will be flambéed with Cognac, Porto and lemon! Rouen duckling is a must-taste during your stay – be warned – come hungry.
Another restaurant I highly advise is the “Les brigades du kitsch”. It stays open late at night and you are always greeted with a big smile from the owner. Its offbeat decorations, garden gnomes, bright colors and kitsch paintings will welcome and delight you. I love this unpretentious restaurant and I come here often for its relaxed atmosphere, good humor and delicious home cooking dishes, with unusual names like: “la cirrhose poêlée”, “T’as chaud Marcel” or “T’as le poireau qui gratte”. Another great thing of this restaurant is that they serve “vin à la ficelle”, or “wine on a string”, this means you will only be paying for the wine in proportion to what you have consumed.
I am a keen cyclist and nothing beats an early morning bike tour in the city and its surroundings. Recently the Rouen Metropolis created and developed additional cycle lines to cope with the ever-growing tendance by locals, to use their bikes in and around the city. Now you too can crisscross the city (accompanied by a guide should you like), from the Old Market Square to Saint Mark’s Square with their weekend markets, passing through Cathedral Square and adjoining Saint-Maclou district. Finally, finishing of on the long stretch of the Seine’s newly renovated river banks, lined with restaurants, bars, shopping, nightlife, gardens and so much more.
Rouen indeed has an exceptional rich heritage which makes it truly a destination to tick off on your to do list.