Sunday Breakfast in Rouen.

When I heard someone say that on a recent visit to Rouen one sunday morning, they had finally found sustanance in the local Macdonalds, I nearly sat down and wept!

Had they only known to turn left out of their hotel door and not to the right, they would have found ‘le monde’ in all its colour and vivacity, the air full of aromas and scents and the hubub of the masses going about their business at the big sunday market at Place St Marc.

I stopped a few people to ask where would be the best place for ‘petit dejeuner’, and they looked about smiling at the surrounding crowds- well you do what the French do of course.


…park your bike and find a seat in a local cafe, if indeed a seat can be found!

…have a strong coffee and muse over the ‘marché’ on the other side of the street. Many cafés are right next door to a patisserie, and most will provide a croissant or two when asked!

Then get down to business: the real french business of ‘petit dejeuner’ – which of course literally translates as ‘little lunch’…

A fresh crèpe would be a lovely start – nutella, citron sucré, confiture…

…then there are little morceaux of home made ‘Pain d’Epîces’, a local honey producer’s spicy honey cake to try.. and maybe a pot of honey to take home…

a few strawberries would be nice..

..or an apple or two. But being Normandy, with over 13 varieties of apples on display it becomes a difficult choice. More than likely, I will be sweet-talked by the producer, and will wander away with several bottles of  locally produced cider!

..before I know it I am sampling the cheese..

The cured salami and olives are delicious..

…and I am impressed by the queue for locally grown cress and mushrooms. It must be good!

There is Neufchatel cheese, formed in the shape of hearts and traditionally given to the allied soldiers by the Normandy dairymaids. Little morsels are on the counter to sample!

… perhaps a spicy paella?

Appetite appeased, it’s time to wander through the brocante at the far side of the market..

I can’t resist the flowers

But wait – If a strong cup of coffee and sampling all the produce at the market don’t constitute a fully satisfying breakfast, why not try either of these…

Appreciate the  interior of this great café, dedicated to discussion and the meeting of ‘minds’. One might expect to meet the great thinkers of the ‘Belle Epoque’. Open every sunday morning from 10-2, the owner serves food on weekdays, but is open to clients selecting their vienoisserie from the Boulangerie next door to enjoy with their coffee on a sunday morning.

..or if a formal breakfast is in mind – Try the Couleur Café on rue Eau de Robec where for 5€ an immense ‘petit dejeuner’ can be ordered with the most incredible selection of teas and coffees and vienoisserie.

Now there’s just time to drop the flowers, cider and ‘finds’ from the brocante off at the hotel before going to visit the…

Musée de Beaux Arts

…or the Musée de Ceramiques,

both open for free the first sunday of every month.

or perhaps the Jardin de Plantes,

for a game of petanque,

or perhaps just a stroll along the Seine before dinner.

Bon Apetite!

15 thoughts on “Sunday Breakfast in Rouen.

  1. Yummy! I wish I would have know all of this before my trip to Rouen. Luckily, we found pain au chocolat before we found the McDonalds and only had to buy our coffee there 🙂 We did end up at the market a little later and saw a few cafes there too, but I think we were just too early for a proper French breakfast. I think we left the hotel around 9am and nothing was open yet.


  2. I was born and raised in Rouen, but I now live and work in Japan. It is really good to see some pictures of my hometown. Thank you for your blog! Bonne continuation! ^^


  3. Hi there! 🙂 I have stumbled across your blog while looking up various things to do in Rouen. I am here for one month studying and would love to get your insight on the places I should explore in this magical city. I’m going to this very same Aterlie de Patisserie this weekend!


    • Hi. What atelier are you doing? Macarons or eclairs? If you need a translator let me know, though I imagine you are a good level if you are studying here. It is pretty miserable weather but I recommend a boat trip as a good way to see further up river if you dont have a car (go to Tourist info at the cathedral sq), The lido Eurocean at Mt St Aignan is great for wet weather (no 4 bus from gare and a little walk), Get the 2hr audiotour from Tourist info for the monuments and antiques quarter. Ice rink and lots of café hopping! Come back to me for more ideas! Remember all museums are free first sunday of month and Hangar 23 for music; Have fun!


  4. Hmm – I wrote back again a few days ago then checked tonight and realised my reply isn’t here. Ah well – thanks so much for your response 🙂 I’m doing the Atelier de Vienoisserie – I’m really looking forward to it, although I am quite the beginner. Would love to do more of these over the next couple of weeks!
    Thanks for your recommendations! I went by the tourist info and am going to do the audiotour this weekend. Unfortunately they said there weren’t any available Seine boat trips at the moment being winter, which is a a pity. Another question – is there an actual market at the Place de Vieux Marché on Sundays? Or is the main event the other one (Place St Marc?). I’m here by myself for the month and love going to cafés and soaking up the feel of the city- do you possibly have some recommendations for your favourites? 🙂 I’d also love to explore all these antique stores and bookstores. Again, any particular recommendations for areas? I haven’t gone much further beyond the Centre Ville/Vieux Marché area. It’s such a beautiful city – I’m so envious that you live here!


    • Hi, I’m so glad you are having a great time. If you do more ateliers, you must do Macarons, Pate de choux, and Royal Chocolat. For second hand books, the absolute best is on rue de Beauvoisine at the end furthest from the cathedral (rue de Carmes turns in to rue de B) The best antiques shops are around eglise st Maclou on rue Damiette, but if you find rue Victor Hugo (not far away) there are a couple of brocante(junk/antique barns). There usually is a mini outdoor brocante near metro Joffre Mutualité on a thursday morning in the ground floor of a ‘carpark'(?) building. A google search for brocante thursday rouen should tell you if it is still happening because there were building works going on there.
      My favorite cafés are The Metropole by the station because its a listed building. There is another cool one on the ‘rue de Juifs’ (can’t remember if the street name is ok) toward the Vieux Marché. Again slightly ‘deco’. I’ll think up some more and let you know. There is a small market at the Vieux marché on sundays but not much b bigger than during the week. I’m just sorry you don’t have lovely weather to complement your stay!


  5. This is fantastic, thankyou so much!! 🙂 I have been working my way through your list! You are a wonderful source of knowledge. I liked your post about your quartier and that forest you were cycling in looks beautful. Is it possible to go walking there? Thankyou again! 🙂


    • The forest is called La Foret verte. It is spectacular in spring and summer. The best buses up there are the no 11 (check this at the gare routière by the Theatre des Arts) which stops after the Cité d’Agriculture, and then a five minute walk, and also the number 40 stops at La Breteque near the Carrefour there, (again another 5 minute walk). The first bus journey is only about 10+ minutes, the second goes about the houses!.


  6. How I wish I’ve read your blogs when I was visiting Rouen every year from 2009-2012. I was really focused on L’Eglise St. Sever, St. Yon, Place Clement, L’Eglise St. Maclou and Aitre Maclou because those places have great significance in the life [and death] of St. John Baptist De La Salle, the founder of the Brothers of Christian Schools and the Patron Saint of all Teachers. I really enjoy reading your blogs and it gives me more reasons to visit Rouen again.


    • Thanks for tour lovely comment. Funnily enough m’y son goes to the school Jean Baptiste de la salle. I love showing people around aitre st maclou. It’s history Is fascinating and great to see the school still exists!


      • This is really a small world. I’m so glad to know that your son goes to Pensionnat Jean Baptiste De La Salle. This is the one in Rue Saint Gervais, right? I love the story behind Aitre St. Maclou, I wrote a review on that at Tripadvisor. It was the former site of a school of St. John Baptiste De La Salle. I should really come back to Rouen and hope to meet you in person.
        Oh, it’s Bastille today. Enjoy the fireworks.


  7. When does the market close for the day? I see the cafe Belle Epoque is 10-2, we will be heading over this way on Sunday 18th Aug from Paris and will try to not miss it 🙂


    • Hello, I enclose a link to the Rouen Market website:

      The market is open fridays, saturdays and sundays, apparently from 6am to 6pm. I can’t verify the times, but I suspect that it will start closing by 1.30pm. August in France is a funny month whan the French population head for their holidays, including all the stall-holders. It may be slightly smaller than usual or close slightly earlier depending on weather and the holiday season. Have a great visit, there’s lots to see, including the Impressionists at the Musée de Beaux Arts and the ‘son et lumiere’ on the facade of the cathedreal at 11pm.


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