Rouen and Le Havre


It was a gray day with intermittent drizzle when I visited Rouen. That wonderful, vibrant Impressionist sunlight remained hidden behind blanketing clouds, elusive. As I wandered dark cobblestoned streets with crooked Tudor painted-wood framed houses, outlined in deep colors with light between borders, I pictured shadowy figures slipping in between doorways. This post continues my pilgrimage to French towns that inspired the Impressionist artists. Previous posts in this series: Cézanne in Aix, Paris as a base, and Van Gogh in Auvers.

Cheese shop, a spot of color
Gare Rouen-Rive-Droite, train station

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen that Monet painted so many times was partially being restored, so parts of it were covered. Musée de Beaux Arts featured many Sisley and Pissaro works, so light and fresh looking on the canvas, after a day of dreary rain. There was only one of Monet’s paintings of the church and it was the same kind of day—all grays, just the way I saw it.

Le Havre

Another French town that has been immortalized in oils, Le Havre was my farthest destination, taking me out to the coast at the mouth of the Seine, small boats dotting the horizon. That was another rainy day, not good for photographs but a little imagination helped to see the beauty it might have been in the artist’s eye on a lighter day.

The museum, Musée d’art moderne André Malraux known as MuMa, reputedly second only to Paris in its Impressionist collection, was my reward. I walked up to the beach at Sainte Adresse along the English Channel coastline, a rocky beach where white cabanas lined up. Fresh caught seafood at a café, a good day all in all, despite the weather.

To be continued… Monet in Giverny

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

28 thoughts on “Rouen and Le Havre

  1. Beautiful introduction and a host of lovely images despite the grey sky. Love that wonderfully ornate house painted in beige and blue. These truly look and feel like places destined to attract dreamers and artistic souls. Thanks for sharing! Hope all is well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Takes me right back!. Thanks. You managed to leave out the gas station in front of Rouen Cathedral. At least it was right there when I went- 23 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Virginia! It’s always a challenge to avoid the unsightly in a photograph. The cathedral itself was a challenge, since there was plastic sheeting and scaffolding in places along the outside at the time. So only close-ups of sections were possible.


  3. I’ve never been to this part of France. I’m surprised at how English the half-timbered houses look! I like the cheese shop – the owner seems to have been influenced by Aesop rather than the Impressionists 🙂 The museums both sound excellent, and I like your Rouen cathedral details a lot.

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    1. I suppose it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that English architecture had an influence in parts of northern France. And the cheese shop had its own creative direction! Thanks for your comments, Sarah.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the very first photo of the train station through the flowers (tulips?) and the very last photo of the beautiful rocky beach and town beyond. America needs more clock towers so we can show off fancy clocks like France! Also, the one Tudor house with blue, beige, and brick accents is so inviting. I prefer my Tudor that way instead of the traditional dark stained timbers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dave, glad you enjoyed the photos! It was a challenge on two gray days. We have a great clock tower visitor center at the entrance to Georgetown these days – not historic, but built on that concept, and a lovely clock downtown by the library. Neither are ornate clocks though, such a European thing. I did love that house in Le Havre. It called to me.


  5. A good day despite the weather, and your photographs are lovely despite the weather. I’m enjoying the focus of this trip. Looking forward to Giverny – I have such happy memories of that place.

    Liked by 1 person

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