The city of Rouen is located in the northwest of France, 140 km away from Paris, at the lower reaches of the River Seine. Rouen is a large port city, after Le Havre and Marseilles. Rouen covers an urban area of 2,000 square km, with a population of 500,000. A history of thousands of years has endowed Rouen with abundant cultural relics, such as the Rouen Cathedral dating back to the end of the 4th century.
On the right bank of River Seine sits the Old City. Known as the “City of Museums”, the old city possesses many world famous collections of fine art. It is surrounded by low mountains and dotted with ancient architectural complexes. On the left bank is the newer part of the city, which was heavily damaged during World War II, and later re-built to extend northward. Most buildings in this part of the city inherited the French architectural style characterized by elegant simplicity. A railway and highway bridge connects the two parts of the city.
Rouen Port is a river port composed of four harbor districts. The primary outbound cargo includes cereals, petrochemicals and containerized goods. Inbound cargo includes refined products, phosphate fertilizer, timber and crude oil. There are regular lines from Rouen to Africa and the Indian Ocean. Very often, the port accommodates vessels from China. Rouen port ranks as the third largest river port in France, mainly handling agricultural, sideline products, building materials and coal.
Well-developed agriculture and industry have enabled GNP per capita of Rouen to be the second highest in France. The service industry and economic trade have played an important role in its economy. Totaling over 6000 enterprises, the city's industrial sector comes with a fairly complete array of petrochemicals, refined chemicals, natural gas, pharmaceuticals, food processing, electrical equipment and machinery, aviation, automobile manufacturing, paper-making, construction and transportation services.
The active absorption of foreign capital has aided in establishing Rouen as the largest foreign investment zone within France. Reputed multinationals such as Renault, Shell, Mobil and Esso have all set up their own production bases in Rouen. Moreover, commercial activities such as the annual Rouen International Expo and other influential trade fairs are always welcomed in the city.
As one of leading cities in opera performance in France, Rouen has more than 10 theaters and over 40 cinemas.
In March 1990, Rouen signed an agreement with Ningbo to become sister cities. During the past decades, the two cities have engaged in many friendly exchanges and beneficial cooperation.