Rouen has a lively history as a political seat, a source of contention and a capital of the arts. Through it all, it has delighted visitors and residents alike and today, can boast a population of more than half a million people.

It’s believed that Rouen was likely founded by the Romans, who called the town Rotomagus. In the 5th Century, it came under Constantine’s rule and in the 9th Century, came under the rule of the Normans.

During the Hundred Years’ War, Rouen surrendered to King Henry V of England, but the town was recaptured by the French years later. It was in Rouen in the 1400s that Joan of Arc was executed.

Rouen played an important role during the French Renaissance and can claim many famous artists, poets and philosophers as its own. The famous playwright Pierre Corneille lived in Rouen, and while there wrote many famous words, including “El Cid”. The philosopher Blaise Pascal lived for at time in Rouen, and invented his arithmetic machine while here.

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen and today, the Rouen Museum honors him, while the master Claude Monet himself painted many scenes of Rouen, as he was inspired by the light and colors of the town.

Rouen was severely damaged during WWII, and its famous cathedral was nearly destroyed by Allied bombs, but it was just barely saved and is preserved today as a popular visitor’s attraction in Rouen. In fact, the entire city and cathedral were rebuilt and received facelifts after the war.