Rouen, which is 75 mi/125 km northwest of Paris, is most often seen as a day trip from the capital, but if time permits, spend two nights.

Rouen is located on the Seine river. Rich in history, it is where Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, was born (he explored the frontier along the Mississippi River in what is now the U.S.), where Richard the Lionheart lived and where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake on the Place du Vieux-Marche.

Sights include a statue of Joan of Arc by Maxime Real del Sarte, a beautiful Renaissance "great clock" and a fine-arts museum featuring art and Rouen pottery. Do not miss seeing Notre Dame Cathedral, and linger for a while in front of the western facade that so inspired Monet, it became the subject of a series of paintings exploring the subtle shifts and play of light at different times of day.

One of the most famous dishes of the area is canard a la rouennaise which is duck served in a sauce of blood and bone marrow, or "pressed duck" as is served in La Tour Argent, in Paris. It is a regional specialty considered to be a very elegant dish.

About 30 mi/50 km toward Paris from Rouen is Chateau Gaillard, a fortress once occupied by Richard the Lionheart.

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