Rouen is the capital of the French region of Upper Normandy on the River Seine, 135 km (approximately 90 minutes drive) northwest from the centre of Paris. The city has a population of 110,000 and its metropolitan area includes some 520,000 inhabitants. It is where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake, but the main reason for visiting is its incredible cathedral that inspired Monet to paint over 30 canvases. Rouen was the home of the author, Gustave Flaubert.
Rouen was for a long time France's second city, after Paris, which explains the richness of the town's artistic heritage. It has hosted many famous French writers, including Victor Hugo, Guy Maupassant, and Gustave Flaubert, among others. Today, it deserves a visit for its monuments, Gothic art being particularly well represented, but also for the charm of its alleyways and the many half-timbered houses there are.