Rouen, France

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Rouen, France Gros Horlage Clock
Rouen, France Gros Horlage Clock

I had a few photos from Rouen that did not fit elsewhere and I thought I would include them in a separate post. First there is this incredible clock that stretches across the main street of the central zone. The Gros-Horloge or Great Clock cannot be dissociated from the surrounding buildings, since their history is so intimately linked.

Since its construction in the late 14th century, the Gothic belfry has housed the town’s bells and clock, the latter being a simple mechanism meant to sound the bells on the hour, half-hour and quarter-hour.

In 1409, a clock face was installed on the archway over a gate in the ancient Roman walls. The current archway and clock faces (one on each side), were rebuilt between 1527-1529. On the two Renaissance clock faces, a single hand indicates the hour. Under the number VI, a divinity associated with the day of the week appears at noon on a chariot. Above the clock face, a globe indicates the phase of the moon (in our picture we have a full moon). Many depictions of sheep show the importance of the wool trade in Rouen and the Paschal Lamb, which has been part of Rouen’s coat of arms since the 14th century, is represented on the underside of the arch.

Rouen, France Gouverner de L’Horloge and Fountain

The gouverneur de l’Horloge, or clock keeper, was responsible for its maintenance and lived in the small loggia next to the archway. A Louis XV (noted on the plaque) fountain is the final object of note here. It depicts the love between the river god Alpheus and the nymph Arethusa. The fountain itself has obviously been capped and I suspect the clock keeper no longer lives here.

Rouen, France Palace of Justice

As you walk up the street, you see the Palace of Justice to your left.

Rouen Cathedral, France

And the towers of Rouen cathedral ahead.

Jaques Thouret Rouen, France

You pass by the street named for Jacques Thouret, a revolutionary lawyer from Rouen who was sentenced to the guillotine in 1794 during the Terror. The Terror (1793-1794) was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of “enemies of the revolution.” The death toll ranged in the tens of thousands, with 16,594 executed by guillotine (2,639 in Paris), and another 25,000 in summary executions across France.

Rouen Cathedral, Normandy

The cathedral is big and dominates the central part of the town. Here is a view from the side.

Rouen, France Palace of Justice

The Palace of Justice seen above was built between 1499 and 1508 on a plot of land taken from the local Jewish population about ten years prior. It’s flamboyant Gothic styling is due to the architects Roger Ango and particularly Rolland de Roux who also worked on Notre Dame, Rouen. Under the courtyard is a 12th century room with the inscription “Let this house be sublime!” written in Hebrew. You can only see it with an appointment and we didn’t have one. It is basically where the courts of Rouen are located. It was heavily damaged during WWII and has been rebuilt.

Rouen, France Palace of Justice

Here is a view from the other side, facing out on the street. Pretty fancy courthouse if you ask me.

Rouen, France Palace of Justice

And another side with lots of gargoyles, I love gargoyles, who doesn’t?

Palace of Justice, Rouen, Lawyers and Gargoyles

In this closeup, you can that there are lawyers up on those pedestals and gargoyles at the bottom. Want to guess who is more scary, the lawyers or the gargoyles?

Rouen, France Building Fragment

There are little leftover bits of old buildings all over town, like this arched doorway sitting by it’s lonesome on the sidewalk, probably from WWII.

Rouen, France Tower

Finally, there is this tower, which had no name on it as far as I could tell. Well, I’m out of pictures, hope you enjoyed.