Settled by the Celts, Rouen really flourished in the Middle Ages. In a natural amphitheater on the Seine, the capital of Normandy is important as a commercial and cultural center. Today the city is a blend of ancient and modern. Rouen is known as the City of a Hundred Spires; many of its important edifices are churches. The most magnificent one is the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture immortalized in Claude Monet’s series “Cathedrales de Rouen.” Surrounding the large square are picturesque half-timbered houses with steeply pointed roofs. The wealth of architectural treasures and the ambience of Rouen
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