In Saturday’s edition of French Week, let’s take a look at Ian Mahinmi’s hometown. In an era where players are proud of representing their hometowns, let’s head across the Atlantic Ocean to see how things are like in Rouen.
Many of us know that Ian Mahinmi is a Frenchman. Assuming you don’t know very much about France or Europe, all you can think about is Paris and places within it. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc du Triomphe, Avenue Champs-Élyseé, the Louvre, berets, mimes like the famous Marcel Marceau:
and that stock accordion music you hear at the bistro or any touristy place in Paris. (And Alexa Sage the Accordionist isn’t FRENCH!)
Unfortunately, Mahinmi isn’t from Paris. I don’t think he went to mime school. He probably HATES berets, striped shirts and accordion music at the bistro.
He’s from Rouen, the capital of Normandy a northern region in France. You may have heard of Normandy before if you’re a history buff. But what else does this city of 110,000 and metro area of over 600,000 have to offer both in the modern day as well as in the past? let’s find out.
Claude Monet’s made a series of paintings after the Rouen Cathedral
French impressionist painter Claude Monet painted several paintings of the Rouen Cathedral in the 1890s. He was based in Paris but rented a temporary studio so he could paint the cathedral at various times. Monet made 30 paintings of the cathedral and sold many of them later on. Today, the paintings are located in museums throughout Europe and the United States. Two of them are on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Speaking about the Rouen Cathedral, it is a beauty to see in person and has a record of its own. From 1876-1880, it was the tallest building in the world!
Rouen’s home to one of the oldest clocks in the world!
Le Gros Horloge, or the Great Clock was a mechanical clock created in 1389. An arch was created between 1527 and 1529 according to Archaeology Travel where it remains today. Back in the old days, the clock was mechanical. But today it is run on electricity.
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake here
Normandy is well-known as the landing spot where Allied forces attacked in D-Day in World War II. It was also a major region in medieval history when France and England were in the Hundred Years War from 1337 to 1453. Rouen was under English control in 1419 after King Henry V sieged it. Joan of Arc was part of the French side where she played a major role in the Siege of Orleans from 1428-1429. She was later captured by the English, tried and executed in Rouen on May 30, 1431.
The place where she was executed is the Place du Vieux Marché. Today, there is a church named after her and it is the historical center of town. Even Ian Mahinmi himself is proud to call Rouen home.
It was one of the many cities that was severely damaged in World War II
The Allied forces know that they entered Europe through Normandy in 1944. But Normandy and France as a whole was bombed well before then including in 1940 when the Nazis invaded. Warfare History Network has a detailed column on how Rouen was ruined (pun not intended) during the 1940s.
Cleveland is a sister city of Rouen’s
The second-largest city in Ohio is a sister city of Rouen where they share cultural partnerships and economic initiatives. But I wouldn’t think that the Rouennaises are Cavaliers fans through thick and thin.