I opted for a weekend to France to celebrate my birthday. I received our free flexible tickets from the Eurotunnel customer relations department, Part of this was due to the fact that they had overcharged me and made me pay twice on the last trip.
A two and half hour trip from Dorset to Kent in time to board the train at 8.20 am. The regular car train was packed so they allocated one of the carriages that usually carry trucks.
On arrival in France it was raining and grey, it wasn’t a good start to the trip. I checked my phone to see if any part of Central or Northern France had decent weather, the only place within feasible driving distance was Rouen. I got on the highway and made our way to Rouen which was approx. another three hours.
Rouen in France is an incredible city that is steeped in early European architecture that is home to some of the most beautiful buildings and churches in Europe. I didn’t spend a lot of time in Rouen just enough to have a good walk around and visit a few sites including St. Maclou’s church.
Saint Maclou’s Church, Rouen
In the 10th Century, a chapel was dedicated to St Maclou (St Malo), a 6th century Welsh monk.
In 1437 Pierre Robin, the King’s general Mason built the present church which was finished 50 years later and consecrated in 1521 by George d’Amboise the archbishop of Rouen.
Death in Rouen
After our visit to Saint Maclou’s, I walked through the cobbled streets and alleyways that take you through the heart of Rouen and looked at some of the old buildings and sites.
Usually, when a city preserves its architecture it gets ‘mixed in with the modern’ and you know that you are looking at sites as a tourist. Rouen is different in this respect, it gives you the feeling that you are actually there and part of the history. Even the more modern shops are integrated and woven tightly into Rouen’s history. It is easy for the imagination to come alive and get a real feel for how it was in early Europe.
After a walk through parts of Rouen, we came to the courtyard of death that was marked by ancient sculptures depicting the plague that swept throughout Europe. The courtyard was a makeshift cemetery to bring the dying during the plague of 1348. In true Gothic fashion, the sculptures depicted the plight of these people and the plague that ravaged them.
On the way back through we noticed something that no city is without and we all wished (at times) they didn’t exist: Traffic Wardens! No matter where you go there is nothing worse and having a fun day out and coming back to finding a ticket plastered on your car. I know I have been at the receiving end of a traffic warden’s ire. I could only feel pity for the recipient of this ticket.
I decided to follow the sun for a while and get near to the coast as possible and made the trip all the way to Le Havre a large sprawling port which is not the most beach friendly place as it is mainly industrial and the time was getting late when I arrived. I decided to make my way to Wimereux and to Le Mini Golf where I was going to have a quick dinner. Unfortunately, I was so exhausted by the time I reached there it all went by in a blur, though I enjoyed the meal I was looking forward to some well-needed sleep and decided to go to Calais and opt for the Hotel Metropol (Again).