During the middle ages Rouen — with 40,000 residents — was France's second largest city. Only Paris was bigger. In the 12th century, half of today's France was ruled by England. Caught in the middle, Rouen walked a political tightrope between England and France for centuries. And because this was an important English base during the Hundred Years' War, this was the place where Joan of Arc was burned. Today, Rouen mixes dazzling Gothic architecture and contemporary bustle beautifully. It's a thriving port with a pedestrian-friendly old town and a grand cathedral standing as a reminder of the town's historic importance. For more information on the Rick Steves' Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit www.ricksteves.com.