Located 1.5 hours northwest of Paris, Rouen is chock full of historic wonders. The ancient capital of Normandy is where Joan of Arc, the martyred saint and French national heroine, was burned at the stake in 1431. It’s also where Claude Monet painted a series of paintings of the grand cathedral. (The city’s Musée des Beaux-Arts houses a lovely Impressionist art gallery.) And for foodies following in the footsteps of Julia Child: this is the spot where the culinary legend had her first meal in France. A meal that was so good, it was transformative. She later said, “The whole experience was an opening up of the soul and spirit for me. I was hooked, and for life, as it turned out.”
Julia Child wasn’t the first to swoon over the fare at La Couronne. Today a wall of framed photos illustrates the celebs and famous personalities who have dined at the oldest restaurant in France. Dating from 1345, La Couronne is something of an institution, and you can’t miss it when walking around the medieval heart of Rouen. Right on the old market square, the restaurant’s half-timbered façade is covered in geraniums.
Luxury Travel Advisor was thrilled to dine at La Couronne recently, marveling at its seven centuries of history. In fact, it’s possible to order the “Julia Child” menu and sample the very dishes that she enjoyed. One taste of the oysters, fresh from the sea, and the sole swimming in butter, and you might just fall in love with classic French cuisine all over again.
Pictured: Meryl Streep as Julia Child in the recent film “Julie and Julia.”