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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Celebrating strong women in the city of Rouen: Julia Child and Joan of Arc

I love the film Julie and Julia and after hearing the restaurant the ignited the passion of Julia Child cookery career resides in Rouen, I knew I had to visit this place. This, coupled with the fact that Joan of Arc was tried, and burned alive in this city, and then remembered, having been canonized by the Pope in 1920.

As such, Joan of Arc becomes the patron saint of France for her infamous role in the Hundred Years War. Joan is fascinating as she acted on a divine premonition and dressed in the guise of a man in order to speak with the King to tell him her urgent news. She convinced the King to lead an army against the English and win her first siege in Orleans.

The Joan of Arc Museum has interactive rooms that tracks her life from being a peasants daughter to army leader, from wins to subsequent losses, and the courts loss of faith in a woman who then tried her for blaspheming for having demonic visions which lead her to be burned at the stake, here in Rouen.

History doesn't stop there, Rouen was badly damage by a wave of bombing in 1944 and this is evidenced in the beautiful stone-carved Palace de Justice. Fortunately there is still a good section of the old medieval town intact that you can wonder about, as well as visiting the spectacular gothic cathedral and the Gros Horloge, which is an ornate astronomical clock, which houses the oldest clock mechanism in France.

Shopping here is abundant and after walking and browsing the streets we reached the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, marked by a memorial cross next to the Sainte Jeanne-d'arc church.

Which just so happened to sit opposite our final destination. La Couronne is famed to be the oldest Inn in France, but is also the place that Julia Child ate her first french meal that made her fall in love with French food and learn the art of French cookery. The restaurant is cosily chic and adorned with famous portraits of many celebrity and heads of state that have dined within these walls.

There are six dining rooms at La Couronne you can hire for private events, I had a peek at a couple, but we were positioned in the Jeanne D'Arc room, that felt very lavish indeed. A pre-dinner glass of champagne ensued whilst we poured over the menus. I chose from their gourmet harmony menu. To start I had Tostada with Lobster Medallion, Lime Shrimp and Avocado Guacamole, followed by Honey-Roasted Pigeon with confit Kumquat Leg and Pearl Jus, followed by some Normandy cheeses then the famous Normandy Apple Tart. The food was tremendously good. They also catered for children well by providing some staple dishes for young ones. After such a hearty late lunch, we take the 2 hour drive back to camp to chill under the stars once more whilst wanting to google Julia Child's cookbook book to purchase for when I get home.

Rouen Cathedral

Walking through a medieval street

Joan of Arc statue

High view overlooking medieval streets of Rouen

Astronomical Clock in Rouen

Astronomical Clock in Rouen

Medieval Street in Rouen

Palace de Justice in Rouen

Shell damage on the walls of the Palace de Justice

World War II shell damage on the Palace de Justice

Joan of Arc Memorial

Memorial Cross marking the spot that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake

La Couronne Restaurant in Rouen

Dining Room in La Couronne restaurant

Sitting down to eat at La Couronne

Lobster tail taco

Road pigeon main dish

Normandy apple tart

Picture of Julia Child at La Couronne

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