France,  Destinations,  Europe

Exploring the Museum of Antiquities, Rouen, France

I visited Rouen as part of a larger tour of France, and one of the highlights of my visit was going to the Museum of Antiquities & Museum of Natural History. (They’re basically in the same building so it’s easy to go to both in one visit.)

I really liked this museum– or at least I liked half of it! The rooms featuring artifacts from the Roman era and onwards were great, with some amazing statues, tapestries, pots, etc.! But the natural history part was so weird: tons of taxidermy animals inside of glass cabinets. Turns out the taxidermy is fairly typical for French museums, though unusual compared to US museums where we have more things like skeletons and animal recreations.

This post shares some of the interesting things I saw in the museum(s) during my visit.

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Museum Quick Info

Address: 198 Rue Beauvoisine, Rouen

Free entry for permanent exhibits, €4 admission for temporary exhibitions.

Open Tuesday-Sunday afternoons, closed Mondays. More info here.

The museum has a cloakroom, shop and restrooms, plus coffee vending machines.

🤔 Looking for other fun things to do in Rouen?

Antiquities Museum, Rouen

The museum is housed in a converted 17th century convent, so it’s got some great vaulted ceilings reminiscent of the nearby gothic churches.

Entry to the gallery.
Inside part of the gallery.
Courtyard with statues and stone sculptures.

Religious Artifacts

This is the majority of the collection, I’d say, and most of it is Christian religious artifacts in particular. They do have a room for Ancient Egyptian artifacts as well, and some Greek/Roman/Mesopotamia artifacts.

Saint Jean-Baptist carving.
Collection of martyr statues and other little things I’m pretty sure were in churches before.
Statues from a church in Normandie.
I think the stained glass windows are from a church in Rouen?
Alabaster carving.
Wooden panel carvings.
Close-up of sheep on panel carving.
Wooden chest with religious scene etched inside.
Wooden panel carvings.

Ancient Roman Artifacts

I was hoping this section would be bigger than it was, but most of the interesting things were tiny carvings and small jugs and whatnot. However, they do have an amazing mosaic you can see and walk around!

Roman mosaic.

Tapestries

When I visited, they had a special section for tapestries and included modern artists! It was very difficult to get good photos as the room was super dark, but here’s one I managed to get.

The Winged Stags (2022) by Aurelia Jaubert.
Close-up of The Winged Stags.

Natural History Museum

The majority of the display is behind glass in these cabinets, which makes it a bit difficult to see the items but it DOES have a fun, almost spooky 19th century haunted school feel to it. The floors are all wooden and creak ominously every time you move.

Example of the taxidermy animals (and articulated skeletons) in the museum.
Preserved specimens in jars.
Very narrow walkways tbh.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to the museum(s). At the time, they didn’t have every info plaque in French AND English, so I had to do a lot of translating with Google Translate. The major parts of the exhibits did have large English language plaques going over the history of the things in that particular section, but the smaller parts weren’t 100% translated. Just fyi!

I’d say give yourself at least two hours to get through everything in the museum, more if you plan to translate and read every info plaque. If you only have a little bit of time, then just quickly go through the main part of the antiquities museum and skip the natural history museum.


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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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