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Definition: Rouen from Collins English Dictionary


1 a city in N France, on the River Seine: the chief river port of France; became capital of the duchy of Normandy in 912; scene of the burning of Joan of Arc (1431); university (1964). Pop: 110 276 (2006)

Summary Article: Rouen
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Industrial port and administrative centre of the Seine-Maritimedépartement in France, situated on the River Seine 120 km/75 mi northwest of Paris; population (2005 est) 108,300. Rouen is the world's leading port for grain exports, and the leading port in the European Union (EU) for the export of agricultural produce. The port accounts for 12,000 jobs, making it one of the area's largest employers. Other industries include textiles (particularly cotton), electronics, distilling, chemicals and petrochemicals, car manufacture, and oil refining. The civil service is also a major employer.

History Rouen dates from Roman times, when it was called Rotomagus, a derivation of the Celtic name Ratuma. It was an important ecclesiastical centre from 3rd century, when St Mellonius was bishop. It was ruled by England from 1066, until lost to the French by King John in 1204. Rouen surrendered to Henry V of England in 1419 after a protracted siege, but was reclaimed by France in 1449. By the end of the 15th century it had become a centre of the French Renaissance.

Features Serious damage was inflicted during World War II, but many interesting and historical buildings survived. The cathedral of Notre-Dame has a western facade that is a fine example of the French flamboyant style. The northern tower dates from the 12th century, the southern from the 16th; the central spire, 148 m/485 ft high, is modern. Other churches include the 15th-century church of St Ouen; and the church of St Maclou (1437), another notable example of French flamboyant architecture. The Gros-Horloge is a Renaissance pavilion containing a 15th-century clock, and the Tour de Jeanne d'Arc is where the saint was imprisoned before her execution. The Hôtel de Bourgheroulde (1501–37) is the best example of the city's medieval domestic architecture. Rouen has museums, a library, and a university founded in 1966. The Museum of Fine Arts includes works by Velázquez, Monet, and Sisley.

Famous people Rouen was the birthplace of the dramatist Corneille, the philosopher and writer Fontenelle, and the painter Géricault. The novelist Gustave Flaubert, whose father was chief surgeon at a hospital that was converted into a Flaubert museum, was also born here. William the Conqueror died here in 1087, and Arthur, Duke of Brittany, was murdered here in 1203.

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