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ROUEN

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 769 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROUEN, a city of France, capital of the department of Seine-Inferieure and the ancient capital of the province of Normandy, on the Seine, 87 M. N.W. of Paris by rail. Pop. (1906) 111,402. The old city lies on the north bank of the river in an amphitheatre formed by the hills which border the Seine valley. It is surrounded by boulevards. Outside the ellipse formed by ROUEN these lie the suburbs of Martainville, St Hilaire, Beauvoisine, Bouvreuil and Cauchoise; 21 M. to the east is the industrial town of Darnetal (pop. 6770), and in the level plain on the opposite bank of the Seine is the extensive manufacturing suburb of St Sever with the industrial towns of Sotteville (pop. 18,096) and Petit Quevilly (pop. 14,852) in its immediate neighbourhood. Finally in the centre of the river, north-east of St Sever, is the Ile Lacroix, which also forms part of Rouen. Communication across the Seine is maintained by ferry and by three bridges, including a Pont transbordeur, or moving plat-form, slung between two lofty columns and propelled by electricity. Rouen possesses four railway stations., The central point of the old town is the Place de 1'HOtel de Ville, occupied by the church of St Ouen, the hotel de ville and an equestrian statue of Napoleon I., and traversed by the Rue de la Republique which leads from it past the cathedral to the Place de la Republique and the Quai de Paris. Parallel to this street to the west are the Rue Beauvoisine with its southern continuations, the Rue des Carmes and the Rue Grand-Pont, and the wide and handsome Rue Jeanne d'Arc terminating on the Quai de la Bourse. These thoroughfares, which are all within the boulevards, are crossed at right angles by the Rue de la Grosse-Horloge and by the Rue Thiers, running from the Place Cauchoise on the west to the Place de 1'HOtel de Ville, and passing on the left the Jardin Solferino and the museum. The cathedral was built on the site of a previous cathedral which was destroyed by fire in 1200, and its construction lasted from the beginning of the 13th century, to which period belong the lateral doors of the west portal, to the beginning of the 16th century, when the Tour de Beurre was completed. The spire surmounting the central tower, which is the highest in France (485 ft.), is modern. The western facade, with its profusion of niches, pinnacles and statues, belongs, as a whole, to the Flamboyant style. But the northern tower, the Tour St Romain, is in the main of the 12th century, its upper stage (with its steep, pointed roof) having been added later. The southern tower, the Tour de Beurre, so named because funds for its building were given in return for the permission to eat butter in Lent, is of a type essentially Norman, and consists of a square tower pierced by high mullioned windows and surmounted by a low, octagonal structure, with a balustrade and pinnacles. The juxtaposition of these two towers, so different in character, is the, most striking feature of the main facade, which is notable besides for its width. The portals of the transept are each flanked by two towers and decorated with sculpture and statuary. That to the north, the Portail des Libraires, looks upon the Cour des Libraires, once the resort of the booksellers of Rouen. That to the south is known as the Portail de la Calende. The plan of the church comprises a nave with aisles and lateral chapels, a transept and a choir with ambulatory. The most remarkable part of the interior is the Lady Chapel (1302–20) behind the choir with the tombs (1518-25) of Cardinal Georges d'Amboise and his nephew, the statuary of which, including the kneeling statues of the two cardinals, is of the finest Renaissance workmanship. The chapel also contains the tomb (1536–44) of Louis de Breze, seneschal of Normandy. Behind the cathedral is the archiepiscopal palace, a building of the 14th and 15th centuries. St Ouen, formerly the church of an abbey dating to the Roman period and reorganized by Archbishop St Ouen in the 7th century, exceeds the cathedral in length as well as in purity of style. In spite of the juxtaposition of the second and third, the Radiant and Flamboyant types of Gothic architecture, the building, as a whole, presents a unity which even the modern facade has failed to mar. It was founded in 1318 in place of a Romanesque church which previously occupied the site and of which the only relic is the chapel in the south transept. The choir alone was constructed in the 14th century. The nave of the church belongs to the 15th century, by the end of which the central tower with its octagonal lantern and four flanking turrets had been erected. The building of the western facade, which is flanked by two towers, was not undertaken till 1846. The walls of the church are pierced by windows filled with stained glass of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries and cover more space than is usual even in French Gothic churches. The Portail des Marmousets, the entrance to the south transept, has a projecting porch, behind and above which rises a magnificent rose window. The north facade has no entrance. In the interior, now despoiled of many artistic treasures, there is an organ-case dating from 163o and a railing of the 18th century surrounding the choir. The church of St Maclou, behind the cathedral, begun in 1437 and finished early in the 16th century, is a rich example of the Flamboyant style, the characteristics of which are specially displayed in the decoration of the facade and the tracery of the portal with its five arched openings. It is celebrated for carving attributed to Jean Goujon which appears on the western doors and in other parts of the church, and has a handsome organ-loft reached by a graceful open staircase, and stained glass of the 15th and 16th centuries. The spire above the central tower is modern and was finished in 1869. Close by the church is the old parish cemetery called the Aitre de St Maclou; it is surrounded by wooden galleries of the Renaissance period, supported on stone pillars on which are sculptures representing a dance of death. The church of St Vincent, near the Seine, is a building of the 16th century and contains the finest stained-glass windows in Rouen; those at the end of the north aisle, by Engrand and Jean le Prince, artists of Beauvais, are the most noted. The stained glass in the churches of St Patrice (16th century) and St Godard (late 15th century) is inferior only to that of St Vincent. Among the less important ecclesiastical buildings of Rouen are the churches of St Gervais, St Romain, St Laurent, St Vivien, and the tower of St Andre, a relic of an old church of the 15th and 16th centuries. The most important secular building in Rouen is the Palais de Justice, once the seat of the exchequer and, later, of the parlement of Normandy. It is in the late Gothic style and consists of a main building flanked by two wings. The left wing, known as the Salle des Procureurs, was erected in 1493 and is remark-able for its lofty barrel-roof of timber. South of the Palais de Justice is the Porte de la Grosse Horloge, an arcade spanning the street and surmounted by a lazge clock of the 15th century with two dials. The Tour de la Grosse Horloge, which rises beside the arcade, was built in 1389. The tower known as the Tour de Jeanne d'Arc was the scene of her trial, and is all that remains of the castle built by Philip Augustus early in the 13th century. The Porte Guillaume-Lion, opening on to the Quai de Paris, is a handsome gateway built in 1749. There are numerous old houses in Rouen in the Gothic and Renaissance styles. The Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, the most famous of them, is a stone mansion of the 15th century added to in the reign of Francis I., the facades of which are decorated with bas-reliefs representing scenes from the meeting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold and allegories from the Triumphs of Petrarch. Among more modern buildings are the hotel de ville of the 18th century, adjoining the north side of the church of St Ouen, the Bourse dating from the same period, and the Musee-Bibliotheque constructed in 188o and containing rich collections of pictures and ceramics and a library with upwards of 133,000 volumes and many valuable MSS. An important museum of antiquities and a museum of natural history are contained in the old convent of the Visitation. A statue of the composer F. A. Boieldieu overlooks the Quai de la Bourse, and one of Pierre Corneille stands at the western extremity of the Ile Lacroix; both were natives of the town. At Bonsecours, on a hill on the Seine 2 M. above Rouen, are the modern church, which is a resort of pilgrims, and the monument to Joan of Arc consisting of three small Renaissance buildings with a statue of the heroine in the principal one. Rouen is the seat of an archbishop, a prefect, a court of appeal and a court of assizes, and headquarters of the Ill. army corps. Its public institutions also include a tribunal of first instance, tribunals of commerce and of maritime commerce, a council of
End of Article: ROUEN
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