The population of the metropolitan area at the 2011 census was 655,013, with the city proper having an estimated population of 111,557. People from Rouen are known as Rouennais.
Rouen and its metropolitan area of 70 suburban communes form the Métropole Rouen Normandie, with 494,382 inhabitants at the 2010 census. In descending order of population, the largest of these suburbs are Sotteville-lès-Rouen, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Le Grand-Quevilly, Le Petit-Quevilly, and Mont-Saint-Aignan, each with a population exceeding 20,000.
Rouen has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Koeppen climate classification).
Rouen is known for its Notre Dame cathedral, with its Tour de Beurre (butter tower) financed by the sale of indulgences for the consumption of butter during Lent. The cathedral's gothic façade (completed in the 16th century) was the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet, some of which are exhibited in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
The Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock dating back to the 14th century. It is located in the Gros Horloge street.
Other famous structures include Rouen Castle, whose keep is known as the tour Jeanne d'Arc, where Joan of Arc was brought in 1431 to be threatened with torture (contrary to popular belief, she was not imprisoned there but in the since destroyed tour de lady Pucelle); the Church of Saint Ouen (12th–15th century); the Palais de Justice, which was once the seat of the Parlement (French court of law) of Normandy; the Gothic Church of St Maclou (15th century); and the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics which contains a splendid collection of faïence and porcelain for which Rouen was renowned during the 16th to 18th centuries. Rouen is also noted for its surviving half-timbered buildings.
There are many museums in Rouen: the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, an art museum with pictures of well-known painters such as Claude Monet and Géricault; the Musée maritime fluvial et portuaire, a museum on the history of the port of Rouen and navigation; Musée des antiquités, an art and history museum with local works from the Bronze Age through the Renaissance, the Musée de la céramique and the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles.
The Jardin des Plantes de Rouen is a notable botanical garden once owned by Scottish banker John Law dated from 1840 in its present form. It was the site of Élisa Garnerin's parachute jump from a balloon in 1817.
In the centre of the Place du Vieux Marché (the site of Joan of Arc's pyre) is the modern church of St Joan of Arc. This is a large, modern structure which dominates the square. The form of the building represents an upturned viking boat and a fish shape.
Rouen was also home to the French Grand Prix, hosting the race at the nearby Rouen-Les-Essarts track sporadically between 1952 and 1968. In 1999 Rouen authorities demolished the grandstands and other remnants of Rouen's racing past. Today, little remains beyond the public roads that formed the circuit.
Mainline trains operate from Gare de Rouen-Rive-Droite to Le Havre and Paris, and regional trains to Caen, Dieppe and other local destinations in Normandy. Daily direct trains operate to Amiens and Lille, and direct TGVs (high-speed trains) connect daily with Lyon and Marseille.
City transportation in Rouen consists of a tram and a bus system. The tramway branches into two lines out of a tunnel under the city centre. Rouen is also served by TEOR (Transport Est-Ouest Rouennais) and by buses run in conjunction with the tramway by TCAR (Transports en commun de l'agglomération rouennaise), a subsidiary of Veolia Transport.
Rouen has its own airport, serving major domestic destinations as well as international destinations in Europe.
The Seine is a major axis for maritime cargo links in the Port of Rouen. The Cross-Channel ferry ports of Caen, Le Havre, Dieppe (50 minutes) and Calais, and the Channel Tunnel are within easy driving distance (two and a half hours or less).
The main schools of higher education are the University of Rouen and the École Supérieure de Commerce de Rouen (Rouen Business School), ésitpa (agronomy and agriculture), both located at nearby Mont-Saint-Aignan, and the INSA Rouen, ESIGELEC and the CESI, both at nearby Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.
The main opera company in Rouen is the Opéra de Rouen - Normandie. The company performs in the Théâtre des Arts, 7 rue du Docteur Rambert. The company presents opera, classical and other types of music, both vocal and instrumental, as well as dance performances. Every five years, the city hosts the large maritime exposition, L'Armada.
Rouen was the birthplace of:
Rouen Cathedral is the subject of a series of paintings by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet, who painted the same scene at different times of the day. Two paintings are in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; two are in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow; one is in the National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade. The estimated value of one painting is over $40 million.
During the second half of the 20th century, several sculptures by Jean-Yves Lechevallier were erected in the city.
The Rouen area is an integral part of the work of French writer Annie Ernaux.
The 2000 film The Taste of Others was filmed and set in Rouen. In the 2001 movie A Knight's Tale, the protagonist William Thatcher (played by Heath Ledger) poses as a noble and competes in his first jousting tournament at Rouen. The 1952 film "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" references the memoirs of Harry Street titled "The Road to Rouen" in the scene with Harry and Uncle Bill.