Updated: Jan 25
We spent 3 days in Rouen, a little town about 2 hours north of Paris. We booked a cute little Airbnb in the historic district which had amazing restaurants right outside our door. It also had very small doorways.
There are two important things to know about Rouen.
The town was founded in the middle ages when people weren't very tall. So if you're 6'4" like Dave, you'll need to watch your head going through doorways.
Nobody knows how to pronounce the name of this town. Apparently there is wide agreement that the word "Rouen" is hard to pronounce unless you're a goose. One native Frenchman we consulted says that he still finds the town's name a mystery … rouan, wran, roin, roan, rouen”. For the official word from youtube check out this link.
There's a ton of interesting stuff to see and do in this place. We spent a lot of time walking around looking at buildings and taking pictures of rooftops. We also visited the Joan of Arc Museum which is a multimedia performance of the investigation and 2nd trial that took place 25 years after her execution.
An Unplanned Trip to Omaha Beach
Something we failed to research as we were planning our trip was whether or not there would be a strike in France. It turns out one of them was scheduled for the day before we were supposed to fly to Lisbon. Thursday, January 19, was the day all of the major unions in France were preparing to strike and predictions were that this was going to disrupt travel across the country, possibly into Friday. Since there was a really good chance our train back to Paris would be cancelled, I snagged a rental car as a back-up plan.
Once we had the car reserved, we realized we were only two hours from Omaha Beach so the next day, we picked up the car and headed north to see Les Braves memorial, La Pointe du Hoc, and the American Cemetery. When we got to the beach, we were the only ones there, which made an incredible experience even more incredible.
After a full day of touring, we stopped in Caen for some food at Pancake Fever. Why this place? Because it was the only place listed on Find Me Gluten Free within a 45 minute radius. And, it was delicious. It was also freezing cold because three of the four walls are made of glass. Fortunately, they have cozy fleece blankets at every booth to keep you warm.
After we ate, we got in our rented Peugeot and headed back to Rouen. I like driving in countries that use km/hr because your speedometer reads 130 which feels really fast.
With a car rental now added to our itinerary, we have officially qualified for the Planes, Trains and Automobiles trip blogger designation. We'll be looking forward to receiving our commemorative plaque and matching placemats soon!