Despite the addition of all sorts of towers, spires and vertical extensions, Rouen’s Cathédrale de Notre-Dame remains at heart the Gothic masterpiece that was built in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The west facade of the cathedral, intricately sculpted like the rest of the exterior, was Monet’s subject for more than thirty studies of changing light, several of which now hang in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Monet might not recognize it today, however – in the last few years, it’s been scrubbed a gleaming white, free from the centuries of accreted dirt he so carefully recorded.

On summer nights, colours inspired by Monet’s cathedral paintings are projected onto the building’s facade in a thirty-minute light show known as La Cathédrale de Monet aux Pixels, transforming it quite magnificently into a series of giant Monet-esque canvases. Inside the cathedral, the ambulatory and crypt hold the assorted tombs of various recumbent royalty, such as Duke Rollo, who died “enfeebled by toil” in 933 AD, and the actual heart of Richard the Lionheart.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

France features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
20 fantastically romantic places

20 fantastically romantic places

Whether you're looking for a beautiful beach to share a sundowner on, or you want to get lost in each other amongst the bustle of a city, these are the best pl…

09 Feb 2017 • Tim Chester camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month