Day 593 – Back to Rouen 

  Somehow I forgot to post this sketch I did of Rue Martainville from the square in front of St Maclou in Rouen.

 These half timber frame houses proliferated in the Rouenduring the medieval period.  More still remain here than anywhere else in France. The medieval Europeans thought they were more fireproof than timber houses. Hmm?!

 Notice how the bottom leans. Oh my!! 
 Rouen has them in great variety and shape, overhanging streets, leaning crazily. Often doors and windows are totally leaning a kilter on the front of the houses. Nothing is square though we were told they were inside. How is that possible. Je ne sais pas. I don’t know! But I have seen them with my own two eyes. Now you have too. 

   Lining an alley. 
 And how is it that these crazy wonky leaning buildings don’t fall down upon our heads. Once again. Je ne sais pas! C’est un miracle. 

Surrounding the market place. 

  Marching toward St. Mclou. 

And of course cheek to jowl with St Maclou. 
Rouen has street after street lined with these teetering ancient beauties like old women in spikes towering and tilting down the narrow cobbled lanes waiting to tumble down momentarily. 
Thanks for reading. 
Margaret xxx hot planning maps to make to fill in blanks in my French travel Journals. 

Day 575 – Monets Cathedral 


 Due to the Christmas Market construction it was impossible to get close by to sketch so I stood in the middle of the street – swarmed by shoppers on the Rue de Gros Horolage  which  runs into the Rouen Cathedral. 

Since Monet painted it 28 times I could not resist its lure and sketched.  Sadly it was also closed so no tours that day. Rouen I shall return. 

  It’s gone thru lots of changes. This is the original light version of it. 

I darkened the cerulean sky to make the cathedral pop aka contrast. Originally this was painted w a coat of Winsor yellow and vermilion for shadows with touches of cerulean and burnt sienna. I was trying to keep it light and airy. 

Last nite that didn’t suit so I darkened the sky with Marine blue and added darks of Inathrodone Blue and burnt umber plus more burnt sienna to the cathedral. 

A second sky wash did not make the Strathmore mixed media journal happy. It was very crummy and blobby. I almost wish I had left it alone.

Which do you prefer?! Tell me what you think oh readers.  I can take it. 😘

Thanks for Reading!!

Margaret on 26 heading to Asheville. Xxx

Day 565 – St Maclou 

St Maclou Neighborhood Rouen

Noodler Konrad Platinum Black Ink Strathmore 500 Mixed Media journal

I sketched this late one grey afternoon sitting under an old tree in the square in front of St Maclou which is a lovely Gothic Church surrounded by half timber buildings. People continually walked by and I dropped them in here and there in the drawing. 

St McClou was probably my favorite church. A gothic pile of confection like a wedding cake encrusted on every surface with lace and gargoyles and embellishments  of every kind. 

  The church is on the small side in the sketch  but I like it a lot anyway.   Originally I had the church too light. I was trying not to get it too dark but the house was too dominant so I had to darken it. 

I also darkened the sky which made the very light church pop more. 

Colors used. The ones I usually use aka I can’t remember which ones. Oops. Sorry!!

Thanks for reading. 


Day 561 – Rouen returns?! Changes!! 

 Final for the moment – Place du Vieux Marché – the Old Market Place in Rouen

Can’t remember if I posted this since I have painted on it for a couple of days which is why I am calling this Changes. See if you can find the changes.  I know I posted it on Instagram but not sure about my blog. 

  Earlier this evening 

This is the the market place where Julia Child first tried French cooking in one of those buildings in the background. It’s also the place where Joan of Arc was burned and the large grey roof is the church dedicated to her in the middle of the market place. Rouen is also the capital of Normandy and forty miles or so from the coast or La Manche – the Sleeve – as the French call the English Channel. 

 About three pm
The customers were sketched in as the drifted by doing their shopping. A lot of them had dogs or small children. It was a holiday – Armistice Day which is a big deal in France still. 

This was the original. Some of the figures and the trees did not stand out. So I spent the next day off and on brightening or darkening the surroundings to make the painting pop more. I used my camera a lot taking photos of it to see if something else was needed. 

Too tired to post the colors.  Maybe tomorrow. 

Thanks for reading.

Margaret xxx

Day 514 – bored yet?


A bit more Rouen. How fancy is this for a postcard shop on the Rue de la Gros Horlage? Nothing like that here. 
Am art nouveau shop front? No not here either. I wish. 


A leaning 700 yr old house.  We only had wigwams then. And yes the posts are that crooked leaning at 85 degrees? They straighten the insides and square the floors and Windows but keep the lean in the old houses! No idea how. 

A door a couple of houses down from the leaning  building. That lean must be so contagious. 

Where else would you find this charming old French car parked in front of that awesome green door. Not in America who we need everything brand new. 

Bytw we waited for Audrey Hepburn to show up but she never did. We thought it might be her car from Sabrina or Charade. 


Turn another corner and you can buy fresh scallops for your dinner. 


And some fabulous fresh flowers nearby for your table. 

Wandering back to the boat the way I came I decided to change course. One left turn and there was the back of Notre Dame. Not a bad sight to find by accident. 

You know they added that spire recently – in the last 100 years – to make it the tallest French cathedral?  These things are important! Oui?!

The Normans still guard the bridge but the Quai out boat was moored at. Normandy was given to the fierce Norseman by the French kings back in the 900s to keep them from attacking the rest of France. 5% of the people that live in Normandy still speak Norman. Hmm who knew?
Guess that’s it for Rouen. I do hope to get back to try that sole meunière. What was I thinking not going there for lunch?

Thanks for reading 

Margaret xxx

Day 513 A Little more Rouen


Rouen brought us Julia Child. On the town square Sits the oldest auberge in France -La Couronnes founded 1345 – where she shook her first bite French cooking – Sole Meunière. The auberge sits on the old town square and still serves the sole for a mere 42 euros but maybe a taste of it could still change the world?

La Couronnes menu. Under La Mare on the right you will find the Sole Meunière an astronomical revelation that started Julia Child off on her quest at revolutionized American cooking and produced Mastering the Art of French Cooking as well made her the first tv chef superstar.  

The lawyers practice in a Gothic spired cake called the Palais de Justice.


  A panorama of the Palais De Justice. Fantastic glowing in the morning light. 

Turn left and walk down Rue de Gros Horlage aka the big clock which runs from Notre Dame to the Market Square. The big clock complete with sheep dates from the 1600s when Rouen was a wool capital.


Accordion players on the street corners.  They have to pay for a license. In Paris they even have auditions. Not everyone gets to be a street entertainer!


The town market square where you can buy candy or flowers or scallops, ride on a carousel, eat at a cafe or visit the site of Joan of Arcs funeral pyre. 


More village square. For some reason they stuck a great modern church dedicated to Joan of Arc in the middle of it. 


Magnificent old stained glass windows from a church destroyed in World War 2 were installed in Joan of Arcs new church on the market square. 

Thanks for reading.

Margaret having  ahard time being enthused about drawing her everyday life after France. Xxx

Day 512 – Rouen

   The much smaller charming capital of Normandy – William the Conqueror and Rochard the Lionhearted’s French capital city.  Smaller than Paris but filled with medieval charm…think of it as an arrondissement sized town.


There are 100s of half timber houses charmingly titling along the streets. Two fabulous gothic cathedrals minutes from each other. It also stretches along the Seine like my beloved Paris. Many live here instead because it’s affordable and there are no mobs of people.

All reasons that drew Monet there from Paris to paint the cathedral 28 times. Living was affordable. The townspeople living around the cathedral  let him paint from their house’s windows. Handy in the changing French weather. Our guide said they have three seasons spring fall and a long wet grey season aka winter. 

 Saint Mc Clou. Maybe two blocks from Notre Dame. 

The lacy intricate carvings on these two buildings are just incredible.   There are layers of encrustations unique to these buildings. The spires soar to the heavens. Rouen’s Notre Dame spires make  it the tallest church in France. During the reformation Protestants tried to destroy the images on the churches facade because they thought Catholics worshipped them as idols. Maybe they did but they are magnificent. 
100s of gargoyles twist off the face of St McClou. Such fancy waterspouts.  Some seem to climb down the building. Others turn toward heaven. 

One of the spires of Notre Dame seen thru a wall of tracery. 

Where else can you walk down a street lined with medival half time be houses and see a Gorgeous gothic church peeking at the end?

Tomorrow a little more Rouen. 

Thanks for reading 

Margaret xxx


Day 502 – playtime

Really like this one of our chef Dimitris favorite Patisserie en Conflans.  Evidently you have to have a lot of training to be able t use the name Patisserie and have a special pastry chef on staff. 

Our first meal in France at L’ Artois on Rue de l’Artois around the corner from our hotel. The food was ok but the host and hostess were trés charmante as was the restaurant. 

 The Ranville church and cemetery. Love the colors of the flowers combined with the somber tombstones. 

Cathedral en Vernon. Did I say I love all the gothic churches? Pregothic ones too. 

One of my favorite was St Mclou in Rouen with Notre Dame that Monet painted 28 times in the background. St Mcclou was smaller and just lovely with all its encrustations.  

The front of Saint Mcclou.  The Rouen Notre Dame looked very similar to Paris Notre Dame. 

Thanks for reading

Margaret xxx