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Rouen sits on the edge of the River Seine in Northern France, in the region of Upper Normandy, of which it is the capital. It is also the historic capital city of Normandy. Placed between Paris and the English Channel, the city has a population of 110,000 while its metropolitan area includes some 520,000 inhabitants.
Rouen became the Norman capital from 912 until the time of William the Conqueror. With easy access to the sea through the Seine, it became a prosperous trading city and port, exporting wine and wheat to England and importing tin and wool in return. During the Hundred Years War Rouen and the surrounding area were conquered by Henry V of England in 1419, eventually resulting in Joan of Arc’s burning at the stake, before Charles VII recaptured the city in 1449. The Wars of Religion in the 16th century saw some brutal battles between the Protestants and Catholics in the city. Rouen was badly damaged in WWII with its cathedral narrowly escaped total destruction. Today it is a thriving city offering visitors a beautifully restored town centre.