Pack your picnic basket with a baguette, Camembert, a Normandy cider and a tarte au pommes, and head for the old town of Rouen. Relax on the bench at the foot of Rouen’s Notre Dame Cathedral where Monet stood with his easel and brushed his series of Cathedral images and bon appétit! If you are brave and maybe talented too take your charcoals with you and try your hand. If not take coffee on the pavement outside one of several little cafes, like Brasserie Paul, nearby to the sounds of the accordion. Inspiring.
Rouen in Normandy is just far enough away from Paris on a fast train to escape its day-trippers but not so that it would break your alarm clock or budget.
Apart from the wondrous cathedral, it is one of the homes of impressionism. Visit a gallery or see the interesting old town where you can photograph, shop or people-watch from a cafe to your hearts' content.
A beautiful ancient courtyard with timber frame houses, but on closer inspection you will spot human skulls carved into the wood! It was a plague graveyard in the middle ages and recalls how two-thirds of the town's people succumbed to this fate.
186 Rue Martainville, 76000 Rouen, France
Google map: bit.ly/NKlE3H
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