Beauvais is the capital of the Oise department of the Picardie region of northern France. A relatively small city, its population is a little over 54,000. The area has been inhabited since Roman times when it was known as Caesaromagus, meaning “field”. It is most famous for its tapestry making which was at its height in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Calais to Beauvais is just 2 hours when you take our Dover to Calais route and if you choose to travel from Newhaven-Dieppe it’s an even quicker hour and 40 minutes It’s also only an hour and 45 minutes from Paris and an hour and 20 minutes from Rouen.
WHY VISIT BEAUVAIS?
Visit Beauvais and you’ll find a vibrant and compact town with a great deal to see and do.
Much of Beauvais was damaged in the two world wars so, like many of the towns and cities in the north of France, it has a combination of old and new architecture. With a stunning cathedral and several churches which show off the medieval past of the town it’s also a great place for history lovers to enjoy.
There are many open spaces and parks in and around Beauvais which are particularly well known for their beautiful floral and plant displays. The town was even awarded a “Four Flowers” ranking in the national Town in Bloom competition. Also nearby is the beautiful and quaint Gerberoy. Known as “the village of a thousand rose bushes”, it has many half- timbered houses and quaint, winding lanes.
Shopping in Beauvais is quite an attraction for visitors. The main stores are centred around Rue Carnot, Rue Gambetta, and the Place Jeanne Hachette. Restaurants and cafés also abound in Beauvais offering a great choice of local and regional cuisine so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a traditional taste of Normandy.
WHAT TO SEE IN BEAUVAIS
From historic buildings to fascinating museums and from outdoor activities to beautiful parks and gardens there are so many things to do in Beauvais that, in the words of the local tourist board, it’s “More than just a stopover, it’s a destination.”
In the imposing St Peter’s Cathedral it has one of France’s most stunning examples of a gothic cathedral. Begun in 1247 it’s still not completely finished to this day – though it’s a magnificent sight all the same. Its most stunning features are two huge rose-shaped stained glass windows in the transept and following a major repair process in 2008 it the cathedral has been restored to its former, if unfinished, glory.
The cathedral is also home to a very impressive astronomical clock made in the 19th century by a local clockmaker called Lucien Auguste Vérité. 12 metres high by 6 metres wide, it contains an unbelievable 90,000 individual parts, As well as telling the time in 18 cities round the world, it also shows the times of sun and moon rise, high and low tide and the position of the planets. As if this isn’t enough, on the striking of the hour 68 automatons come to life and act out the Last Judgement.
The city’s historic links with tapestry making are celebrated at the Galerie Nationale de la Tapisserie de Beauvais which is next to the cathedral and where there are many finely preserved examples of the art.
Beauvais is also famous for its gardens, and gardeners, and that is why it is a regular winner in the nationwide “Town In Bloom” competition. A great place to see the green-fingered skills of the Beauvaisiens is in the Marcel Dassault Park which includes a rose garden, orchards and a petting zoo. It’s also home to the Aquaspace water park.
WHERE TO STAY IN BEAUVAIS
There’s a good choice of hotels in Beauvais whether you want to be near the heart of the attractions or a little further out. You'll find many Beauvais hotels, when you visit our partner, booking.com.
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