Rouen is the historical capital city of Normandy, in northwestern France
on the River Seine, and currently the capital of the Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy) région.
Once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe,
Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages.
It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and
large parts of modern France from the 11th century to the 15th century.
People from Rouen are called Rouennais.
The population of the metropolitan area (in French: aire urbaine) at the 1999 census was
518,316 inhabitants and 541,410 inhabitants at the 2007 estimate.
The city proper has an estimated population of 109,000 in 2007.
read full wikipedia reference about Rouen, France
ROUEN , the capital of Upper Normandy,
is one of France's most ancient and historic cities.
Standing on the site of Roman Rotomagus, the lowest point on
the river then capable of being bridged, it was laid out by the
Viking Rollo shortly after he became Duke of Normandy in 911.
Captured by the English in 1419, it was the stage in 1431 for
the trial and execution of Joan of Arc, and returned to French
control in 1449.
Over the centuries, Rouen
has suffered repeated devastation; there were 45 major fires
in the first half of the thirteenth century alone. It has had
to be almost entirely rebuilt during the last fifty years, and
now you could spend a whole day wandering around the city without
realizing that the Seine ran through its centre. War-time bombs
destroyed all its bridges, the area between the cathedral and
the quais , and much of the industrial quarter. The riverside
area has never been adequately restored, and what you might expect
to be the most beautiful part of the city is in fact something
of an abomination.
Enormous sums have, however,
been lavished on an upmarket restoration job on the streets a
few hundred metres north of the river, which turned the centre
into the closest approximation to a medieval city that modern
imaginations could come up with. The suggestion that for historical
authenticity the houses should be painted in bright, clashing
colours was not deemed appropriate, but so far as it goes, the
whole of this inner core can be very seductive, and its churches
are impressive by any standards.
Outside the renovated quarters,
things are rather different. The city spreads deep into the loop
of the Seine, with its docks and industrial infrastructure stretching
endlessly away to the south, and it's increasingly expanding
up into the hills to the north as well, while the river bank
itself is lined with a fume-filled, multi-laned motorway. As
the nearest point that large container ships can get to Paris, even in decline this remains
the fourth largest port in the country
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