Capital of the Dukes at Big Clock time !

Its location in a loop of the Seine, nearly halfway between Paris and the estuary (Le Havre – Honfleur), had favoured its commercial dynamism for a long time.

Photo : Matthieu Blin - 20.7 ko

Photo : Matthieu Blin

Capital of the Dukedom of Normandy (911-1204), the cathedral was the Dukes’ crowning place. The cathedral topped by a slender cast-iron steeple is one of the symbols of the town. It shelters among the most gorgeous stained-glass windows in France, while its façade was made famous by Claude Monet who painted 30 versions of it.

A resounding moment of the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) was Joan of Arc’s trial that sentenced her for heresy to be burnt alive on the Old Market Square, on May 30, 1431.

The “rue du Gros-Horloge” (Big Clock Street) is the main street that links this square to the cathedral. The famous Big Clock Tower is a pavilion of renaissance style displaying on both of its sides an imposing 16th-century polychromatic screen that gives the time with the help of a single hand. The illustrated screen diary permits to guess the day of the week, as well as a globe to find out the moon phases.

As this is a place where people are constantly coming and going, the Big Clock Tower is sustained by an arch spanning the street. This main street, reserved for the pedestrians, is lined with a series of sumptuous half-timbered façades painted with vivid colours.

Photo : Matthieu Blin - 15.4 ko

Photo : Matthieu Blin

Other interesting sights :

Bourgtheroulde Mansion : 16th-century private mansion having a gallery of renaissance style ornated with fine low relieves.

Saint Maclou atrium : former parish graveyard in a cloister shape whose galleries sculpted of funeral scenes used to be an ossuary.


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