Monday, April 14, 2014

Paris Part III: Rouen

I had stumbled on Rouen in my research a few months ago and thought it'd be a great day trip from Paris, especially since I knew we weren't going to be able to go up the Eiffel Tower or have enough time in the Lourve when we were planning our visit to Paris.
Rouen ("Rue-On" but it's difficult to spell out the French pronunciation) was once the most prosperous French city in medieval times, now it is the capital of Upper Normandy and is where Joan of Arc was imprisoned and then burned at the stake in 1431.  Isabelle had heard of Joan of Arc but knew nothing about her, and Eric and I only knew she was burned at the stake at a young age and there was something about her hearing voices.

I'm just going to skip the part where we spent a good long time waiting in line at the train station outside of Disneyland trying to figure out how to get to Rouen from Paris.  All that matters is that we did figure it out.

Rue de Gros-Horloge- the "Great Clock."

Rouen was a mixture of enchanting and creepy.  It may have been the gloomy weather again, and that most of the little shops were closed and there weren't a lot of people out, and that this was where an innocent women was burned alive over 580 years ago, but parts of the medieval town center definitely felt creepy.  I actually felt a little like we had gone back in time.

I had Googled everything we wanted to see in Rouen and Google said that everything would be open on the Sunday we were visiting.  Mostly what we wanted to see were cathedrals and where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake so it would make sense that these places would be open on a Sunday, but, I didn't realize that everything else would be closed.  All of the cute shops and the tourist office were closed, which was disappointing and left us on our own for finding our way around.  Since the tourist office was closed we couldn't get a city map which made us feel very vulnerable.  So not only had I forgotten to pack jackets for our entire weekend, but I also didn't think to MapQuest things before we arrived in Rouen.  

.....I was feeling pretty terrible about my trip planning.....  

But then, we wandered around just a little, I kept taking pictures and.... we found it!  We found the exact place where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake!  It was a larger garden with a plaque in the middle dedicating this little place to her memory.  I was SO happy!  Who needs a map, anyway?!

We didn't spend a lot of time in Rouen, especially after we visited the garden dedicated to Joan of Arc, and especially since it took most of the morning getting there.  But we did tour the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen before leaving.  Isabelle likes to light a candle and say a prayer in every cathedral we visit, so that was important to her before we could head back to Paris.

After we got home to Germany we watched a documentary on Joan of Arc to help Isabelle understand why we went to see where she died.  It helped me and Eric understand her a little more too.  Isabelle said that all parts of our trip to France were her favorite places she's visited so far, and I love that she's seeing so many places!  It's so special that she can watch a documentary on a historical person and event and then say she's been there!

We are blessed.

So, that was the last trip we've got planned until June.  I've got some medical things coming up that will not allow me to travel for a little while.  Don't worry, just some small procedures that will finally end this chapter of our path.  They aren't a big deal and I promise I'll be fine, but I'll be spending most of my time resting and staying off my feet as much as possible.  Eric and I do not want to talk about it yet, so please don't ask.  Yeah, I hate it too when people post super vague statuses or whatever on Facebook and don't give any information but still post stuff anyway, so you can be annoyed with me.  You know me though, I'm an open book, so when Eric and I are ready to talk about it we will.  But I don't know when that will be, so until then, don't ask.  
I just wanted to explain since my blog will be quiet or super boring for a while and I don't want y'all to give up on me :o)  I'll be back soon and better than ever!!!!

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