Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen
What to See During Your Day in Rouen
Star of a 30-painting series by Claude Monet, the gorgeous, Gothic-style cathedral (also known as the Rouen Cathedral) was built starting in 1145, replacing an earlier, 11th-century Romanesque church. Construction was halted and delayed numerous times, due to fire and the French Religious Wars, continuing through the 19th century. Once it was adorned with its cast-iron spire in the 19th century, it was the tallest building in the world, until 1880 with the construction of the Cologne Cathedral.
You may have seen Monet’s many paintings of the cathedral, which capture differences in light throughout the day, hanging at such esteemed museums at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, The Met in New York City, The Broad in Los Angeles, The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade and The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Yet, nothing compares to the original.
Rue du Gros Horloge
Named for the “Great Clock” that you’ll see here - in operation since 1389, making it one of the oldest mechanisms in France! - this busy thoroughfare is lined with enticing shops, cafes and restaurants. The Gros Horloge itself is set in a Renaissance arch (where it has been since 1529) with the time, day of the week and phase of the moon depicted on both sides of the astronomical timepiece. The clock has inspired famous artists throughout the centuries, from author Victor Hugo to painted J.M.W. Turner.
Place du Vieux-Marché (Old Market Square)
A must-see historic spot to be sure, the Old Market Square is where Jean of Arc was burned alive on May 30, 1431. Look for the memorial - Le Bûcher by Jeanne d’Arc (“The Pyre of Joan of Arc”) - on the exact spot where this courageous French heroine, nicknamed the Maid of Orléans, was executed at the age of nineteen.
Notable for its flamboyant architecture and 80 stained-glass windows, the Abbatiale Saint-Ouen started life as a Benedictine abbey between the 14th and 16th century. While construction work started in 1318, it was interrupted by the Hundred Years War, and not completed until the 15th century.
Ready to visit Rouen on your Seine River cruise? I just know you’ll be delighted with this historic town’s character. Click the button below and let’s chat.
My personal photo of the front entrance to the Anne Frank House.
It's an easy 10 minute walk from Dam Square.
Visiting the Anne Frank House is a sobering, yet necessary, experience when visiting Amsterdam. The museum famously tells the history of the Frank family, who went into hiding in the building at Prinsengracht 263 on July 6, 1942. The family was later joined by the Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer.
Three years later, in June 1945, Otto Frank was the only one of the group to return from Auschwitz. The main home was opened as a museum 15 years later, while, at Otto’s request, the annex, which had hidden eight people, remained empty.
In the Diary Room, view the original red-checked diary Anne Frank received a month before her family went into hiding. In 1944, upon learning that the government would be collecting personal diaries after the war, she rewrote her entries. The end result was 215 loose-leaf pages, some of which you can see in the museum. View, also, Anne’s “Favourite Quotes Book,” and her “Tales Book,” full of her original short stories.
Be sure to visit the thought-provoking “Reflections on Anne Frank” exhibit, containing a film in which more than 20 writers, actors and people who knew Anne speak of her and what she meant to them.
For a young girl who wrote, “I want to go on living even after my death,” in an April 1944 diary entry, her impact on the world has been unmeasurable. In an unspeakably sad way, her ambition in life, to become a famous writer, has come true and it is by visiting this important museum and reflecting on her experience that we can honor a life cut much too short.
This simple plaque hangs by the front door.
For a more in-depth visit, consider a museum visit plus introductory program, during which the museum docents will guide you through the history of Anne Frank in the context of World War II.
Prior to your trip, I can help arrange your tickets to the Anne Frank House, accessible only with an online ticket for a certain time slot. The tickets are released two months in advance and on the day of. It is recommended that you plan and book well ahead of time for your visit.
Nearby Amsterdam attractions to consider during a day in the city are the Van Gogh Museum, the Royal Palace Amsterdam and beautiful Vondel Park. It’s easy to walk, or even bike, about the city, as well as take a canal cruise to soak it all in. Together, we can craft an itinerary that allows for plenty of time at the Anne Frank House, as well as Amsterdam’s other top sites and experiences. Click the button below to schedule a consult.
Delicious and perfectly prepared mulled wine
Christmas markets in Europe take the holiday traditions up a notch. With the scent of roasted chestnuts in the air, the sound of caroling in the background and the feel of the invigorating frosty air, it’s hard not to be smitten with this manner of winter celebration. Perhaps one of the most enchanting aspects? The chance to wander the craft stalls and ornament booths while sipping a small mug of delicious mulled wine.
Most Christmas market cruises in Europe will start and end in a major capital city. Typically, you’ll find several departures out of Budapest or Passau, while others sail from Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Prague, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. Among the most popular stops are Vienna, Bratislava, Salzburg and Strasbourg, where the Christmas market tradition is still going strong.
Magical European Christmas Markets
Whichever itinerary fits into your schedule, you’ll be treated to centuries-old holiday markets, which were traditionally a way for local villagers to stock up on the supplies needed for the winter ahead. Today, amidst sparkling lights and a dusting of snow, visitors and locals alike peruse the stalls of holiday treats, toys, ornaments, handicrafts, hot food and, yes, lots of Glühwein. Nearly every public house in town will pour a delightful mulled wine to take the chill off. Translated to “glow wine,” this is exactly how you’ll feel after indulging in this seasonal treat. (In the Czech Republic, look for the Svařák stand).
Mulled wine in the process of being cooked to perfection
In anticipation of your Christmas market cruise in Europe, or perhaps to remind you of a wonderful cruise you already took, here’s how to make Glühwein at home (keep reading for a snack suggestions to go with your wine):
Traditional Mulled Wine
What to Snack on While Sipping Mulled Wine at a Christmas Market
When it comes to savory and sweet snacks, you won’t want for choice at a European Christmas market. Bring an appetite! My favorite bites while strolling the market are:
Mulled-wine recipe courtesy of https://www.thekitchn.com.
Are you ready to experience the markets and mulled wine for yourself? Click the button below to schedule a consult!