Rouen Ceramics Museum and Palais des Thes and Dame Cakes

Rouen Ceramics Museum and Palais des Thes and Dame Cakes

Rouen Ceramics Museum and Palais des Thes and Dame Cakes

Having spent a full day in Bayeux the day before, we got an early start on our fourth day in Rouen, a Thursday.  In the afternoon, we took a bus over to the Musee des Beaux-arts stop, and walked past that august museum (which we would visit the next day), to approach one of the museums on our list that we had not seen in 2014 – the Ceramics Museum.

The entrance to the museum is actually in the back, so first you see the front of the building, but you walk up the stairs to its right –

Ceramics Museum at the Street Level

Ceramics Museum at the Street Level

then you turn left and walk through one door into the museum’s courtyard –

Ceramics Museum Entrance to the Courtyard

Ceramics Museum Entrance to the Courtyard

then finally, you enter through a set of double doors into the museum.

Ceramics Museum Entrance Door

Ceramics Museum Entrance Door

The Ceramics Museum is another branch of Rouen’s City Museum, with hours only in the afternoon, and free admission.  Housed in the former Hotel d’Hocqueville, a modest mansion with several floors of manageably-sized rooms, visiting this museum is the perfect way to pass an afternoon.

First Plate You See When You Walk in the Door

First Plate You See When You Walk in the Door

From the first plate displayed behind glass not far from the admission desk, I was thrilled.  And while I can’t tell you a lot about the different sorts of ceramics, I have made note of some details that may be instructive.  Rest assured that what I make note of is a tiny fraction of what we saw that day.

The first room is noteworthy as a room all by itself – the walls are covered with the decorations original to the house from before it was a museum.  Nevertheless, the display in this room stole the show – among the pieces exhibited was a Deruta plate from the 16th century that was just splendid.

Deruta Original Plate

Deruta Original Plate

The next room we entered was dedicated to the works of Masseot Abaquesne, mainly floor tiles created by his studio.

Another room contained earthenware sculptures such as these two entertaining ones of Cleopatra and Mark Antony.

Earthenware Sculptures of Cleopatra and Marc Antony

Earthenware Sculptures of Cleopatra and Marc Antony

One piece on display that I found extremely intriguing was a violin covered in Delft ceramic.  I wonder if this piece was made to honor a particular musician, or if it in fact could ever be played.  It doesn’t show any signs of ever having been strung, but it could have been.  I am sure one of my string player friends could tell me whether you would be able to get any good sound out of an instrument with a ceramic body.

Delft Violin

Delft Violin

Probably my favorite piece of the entire collection was also contained in the display cases in that first room – a plate ringed with rabbits and hunting dogs with a pair of lovers in the center, from the Renaissance as I recall.

My Favorite Piece in the Entire Collection

My Favorite Piece in the Entire Collection

When we left the museum, we walked southward into the center of Rouen, first passing through the Allee Eugene Delacroix and its awesome gate.

Gate at Southern End of Allee Eugene Delacroix

Gate at Southern End of Allee Eugene Delacroix

Our destination was the Palais des Thes.  We had brought some teabags with us from our stay at Astor St-Honore Hotel in Paris, but those only lasted us a couple of days.  So we were hoping to get enough tea – in bags or loose – to last us for the rest of our stay in France.

The shop sells mostly loose tea.  We indicated our preference for mint tea, and they let us sniff two kinds, one that was a sort of Moroccan mint with green tea, and a second that was a very intense perfumy mint.  We decided on the former, and left very happy with a container of first class tea.

Half-timbered Houses Near Palais des Thes

Half-timbered Houses Near Palais des Thes

As on many occasions in Rouen, we turned and looked up and there was a breathtaking vista of the city’s ancient looking architecture.

Fountain Across from Dame Cakes

Fountain Across from Dame Cakes

Our next stop was at Dame Cakes for some afternoon refreshment.  Situated right across the street from the old Archbishop’s Palace, Dame Cakes has quite an auspicious location.

On this occasion, we decided to get a table and have some refreshment in the cafe itself.  None of their cakes are dairy free, sadly (they sound fantastic).  But, as had happened the first time we visited here during our stay in 2014, when I told the waitress about my allergy, she steered me toward the front counter and its display of dark chocolates.  I selected one that was made with dried fruit and nuts.  Coupled with a Diabolo Menthe, a typical French soft drink made with spring water and mint syrup served over ice, I was very very happy.

Typical Rouen Walkway

Typical Rouen Walkway

About Karl Peterson

Karl Peterson is an avid traveler, passionate about food and food-related entertainment, completely allergic to dairy. He is founder, owner and principle contributor to “The Dairy Free Traveler” blog. The Dairy Free Traveler perfectly dovetails two of his greatest areas of interest: traveling near and far, and searching for great cuisine (especially dairy free!)

The Dairy Free Traveler publishes original material about the dairy free lifestyle, eating the best food in the most interesting destinations around the world. Karl’s tours take him from thriving New York City, to exotic Marrakesh, to elegant Paris bistros — (yes! even Parisians have gotten on the dairy free bandwagon.)

The Dairy Free Traveler himself also engages with independent dairy free food producers, highlighting new dairy free product launches and events that support dairy free entrepreneurs.

Peterson is among the top 7 most widely read TripAdvisor reviewers in New York City and is repeatedly cited as a Top Contributor at TripAdvisor.com. His reviews have garnered more than 542,000 readers — half in the U.S., and half among the many countries he has visited around the world.

Beyond writing this blog, Peterson is a published author, with contributions to “Savoring Gotham” edited by Andrew F. Smith (published 2015 by Oxford University) and the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese (a bit ironic, yes, but a professional is often asked to stretch beyond their comfort zone!).

This entry was posted in Cafes, Candy, Chocolate, Countries, Food, France, Museums, Rouen, Tea, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Rouen Ceramics Museum and Palais des Thes and Dame Cakes

  1. Pingback: France and Bulgaria Month-long Vacation OverviewThe Dairy Free Traveler

Leave a Reply