Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rouen & Honfleur

Our second class trip was a day trip to Rouen & Honfleur in the Normandy region of France. There wasn't anything in particular that I wanted to see in either city, so I spent much time wandering looking for stuff to photo or sketch. I have returned to both cities a few other times during trips to the area.

My rememberence of Rouen on that first visit is it was very gothic. Meaning that it was cloudy, everything seemed grey, and I was visiting various gothic churches. I'm a big fan of gothic churches, though none of these are significantly covered in books on the subject. There are three gothic churches that are the main sights in Rouen. First there is Notre Dame Cathedral. The facade was painted numerous times by Claude Monet as a lighting study. One of the tower facades was replicated in the design of the Tribune Tower in Chicago. It was an impressive church with a unique crossing tower. But something didn't grab me about it. It seemed quite ordinary at times.

The second church I visited was the Church of Saint Maclou. This church 1s noteworthy for the flamboyant late-gothic facade. But it seemed very dark and clunky for a gothic church. It did not have that soaring ceiling that I like so much and I couldn't get very good pictures of the exterior.

The last gothic church I visited was the Abbey Church of Saint-Ouen. This was my favorite. The interior (seen in the above photo) is very tall and the piers and arches accentuated that verticality. The facade is very ornate and I like the arrangement and shape of the different components. I also like the composition of the tower over the crossing. A center drum surrounded by four tourettes (as seen in the first photo). Now that I look at it again, it is probably my favorite church other than the gothic church in Amiens. The interior was also interesting because all of the seating had been removed and if I remember correctly, there were pieces of modern art displayed in it's place.
Honfleur is a quaint seaside town at the mouth of the Seine River. The Pont du Normandie has since been constructed not far from there. It was a fun little village to explore. There is a central harbor with some very nice buildings bordering it. I spent most of my time wandering around alone. So I saw quite a bit and had time to take many photos including the one below of fishermens nets drying out at the end of the day. Quite a picturesque little town.

1 comment:

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