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The capital of Normandy in northern France is a great destination for a holiday with a campervan. The port city on the Seine already played an important role under Roman rule. In the Middle Ages, Rouen was one of the richest cities in France.
The Gothic churches of Saint-Maclou and Saint-Ouen are therefore particularly impressive. In the old town, you can admire cobbled streets and medieval half-timbered buildings. The cityscape is dominated by the towers of Notre-Dame.
This cathedral became famous worldwide through the Impressionist artist Claude Monet. He painted it at different times of the day and year. Many people consider Rouen to be the most beautiful city in Normandy.
The old town with its alleys is completely car-free. Only delivery men and taxis are allowed to drive into the centre. Of the 2000 old half-timbered houses, 5000 are purely wooden buildings. The number of perfectly preserved houses is astonishing.
The best time to travel by campervan is from May to October. During these months, the temperatures are particularly pleasant. It also rarely rains. The best months for swimming are July and August.
From mid-May onwards, the time to travel by campervan begins. In general, spring is a very pleasant season in Normandy. From mid-May, the fields begin to blossom.
July is really warm with 25 degrees Celsius. Summers in the city are pleasant and slightly humid. From September onwards it slowly gets cooler. In winter, temperatures are around 5 degrees Celsius.
Rain in Rouen on a campervan roadtrip - What to expect
Rouen receives the most rain in winter. 50 mm of precipitation is not uncommon in December. The driest month is September with 22 mm of precipitation. In June, you can expect 39 mm of precipitation. So it's worth packing rain gear all year round.
The fifth largest port city in France has many sights to offer. You can book an interesting guided tour of the city at the tourist information office. If you prefer to explore the city on your own, you should not miss the following attractions:
Notre-Dame de L'Assomption Cathedral is the city's landmark and tallest building. It is located in the middle of the old town on the Place de la Cathédrale. Claude Monet, one of the most famous Impressionists, made 33 paintings showing it.
Richard the Lionheart is buried in the cathedral. More precisely, only his heart rests here. It was his will to be buried in three different places. The bell tower is a proud 151 metres high. This makes it the highest tower in France.
Astronomical clock and Rue du Gros Horloge
The astronomical clock strikes every 15 minutes. For this reason, you don't really need to look at your watch in Rouen. This clock impresses with its beautiful appearance and its technical perfection. It has been showing the time on the Rue du Gros Horloge shopping street for over 500 years.
There it spans the large archway. The enormous clockwork is located in the bell tower. It ran continuously from 1389 to 1928. The clock face has a diameter of 2.50 metres and is decorated with 24 golden sunbeams.
The hour hand is the only hand on the clock, but instead the moon phase is indicated by a sphere. It turns darker as the moon waxes. Each day of the week, a different planet appears in the viewing window.
Sightseeing in the Old Town
There are many half-timbered houses and restaurants in the old town. One of the oldest inns is located on the Place du Vieux Marché. The first guests were pampered here as early as 1345. You can easily recognise the house by its numerous flags.
The picturesque Rue Eau-de-Robec is one of the most beautiful streets in the city. The small river creates a special ambience. In the past, tanners and dyers lived along this river. The old town is best explored by bike, as many of the alleys are very narrow.
Tip: Rent a bike in Rouen: It is possible to rent bikes at the bike rental station Sation Cy'clic Square Verdrel - Musée des Beaux Arts in the Allée Eugène Delacroi. Another good option is the Cy'clic station on Rue des Carmes.
In Rouen, it is easy to find a good and safe pitch for a campervan, as there are over seven sites here. These three campsites promise a pleasant stay:
This pitch is free of charge and is located in the middle of the city on a small island. There is a swimming pool and a large sports field in the immediate vicinity. With a bit of luck, you can watch ducks, birds and nutrias right from the campervan.
When it is warm, the river is a good place to swim. The centre is a 15-minute walk away. If you're looking for comfort and service, you'd better go to a campsite; apart from rubbish bins, there's not much on offer here.
Camping Les Nénuphars
This site is a little outside of Rouen. It is very quiet and rural, although the motorway is close by. It is therefore an ideal place for an overnight stay with a camper van.
The sanitary facilities are clean, although not necessarily modern. The Wifi is free of charge. This is one of the cheapest campsites in Normandy.
Camping les Terrasses
This campsite is idyllically located in a forest. The approach via a small road is a bit adventurous with a campervan, but then you experience pure nature. The sanitary facilities are located in a small country house.
There is also a mini kitchen. The reception is very friendly. The pitches are located in steps on a slope.
By campervan to Rouen: The quickest way for visitors to reach the city by campervan is via the A28. The motorway starts in Abbeville and ends in Tours. It has a total length of 362 km.
By plane to Rouen: The nearest airport is located in the municipality of Boos in the Seine-Maritime department. However, not all airlines fly to it, as it is quite small. If you want to fly into the city, you should book your flight with Air France.
Rouen is one of the most beautiful cities in Normandy. The old town with its numerous half-timbered houses invites you to stroll around. Special sights are the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Astronomical Clock.
The campsites just outside the city are very clean and well maintained. If you are just looking for a good location for excursions, you can park your campervan at the caravan park near the centre. It's worth renting a bike, as the cycle paths along the Seine are simply gorgeous.