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Rouen

Rouen, Place de la Pucelle

Here blooms the legend, fed by Time and Chance,
Fresh as the morning, though with centuries old,
The whitest lily on the shield of France,
With heart of virgin gold.

Along the square she moved, sweet Joan of Arc,
With face more pallid than a daylit star,
Half-seen, half-doubted, while before her dark
Stretched the array of war.

Swift passed the battle-smoke of lying breath
From off her path, as if a wind had blown,
Showing no faithless King, but righteous Death
On the low wooden throne.

He would reward her: she who meekly wore
Alike the gilded mail and peasant gown,
As meekly now received one honor more,
The formless, fiery crown.

A white dove trembled up the heated air,
And in the opening zenith found its goal;
Soft as a downward feather, dropped a prayer
For each repentant soul.

-- Maria White Lowell

With its soaring Gothic cathedral, beautifully restored medieval quarter, imposing ancient churches, excellent museums and vibrant cultural life, Rouen is one of Normandy’s most engaging and historically rich destinations.

-- Lonely Planet