Châteaux and Monuments
The Saint-Lazare Lazaret in Beauvais
Exceptional for its sumptuous style and beautiful garden, the Saint-Lazare Lazaret is a remarkable example of 12th- and 13th-century hospital architecture in France. Visitors are free to stroll about this special heritage site and discover the Romanesque chapel, the medieval-style garden, and the old barn with its magnificent oak framework.
The Domaine de Chantilly
In Chantilly, there exists a magical place where one can admire works of art, discover the world of equestrianism and stroll about a park designed by the renowned André Le Nôtre. The Château de Chantilly houses the second largest collection of premodern paintings after the Louvre, with masterpieces by such artists as Raphael, Ingres and Delacroix. Thanks to the superb “Grand Apartments”, visitors can also marvel at the pomp and splendour of the Ancien Régime nobility.
Notre-Dame d’Ourscamp Abbey in Chiry-Ourscamp
All that remains of this medieval abbey are the soaring ruins of breathtaking beauty. The abbey was built during the 12th century upon the foundations of an earlier structure built in 641 by the future Saint Eligius, counsellor to King Dagobert. Legend even has it that Eligius there tamed a bear, of great help for heavy work, which explains the name Ourscamp or "Bear Camp". The subsequent centuries and wars left their mark on the abbey, pillaged during the Hundred Years War, partially reconstructed in the late 16th century, resold following the French Revolution, transformed into first a hospital, then a cotton factory (one of the most beautiful in France), and finally occupied by the Germans during the First World War. Shelled and destroyed by the French in 1915, the abbey would be resuscitated in 1941 with the arrival of the monks who still occupy the site to this day.
The Compiègne Palace, museums and national estate
Transformed and enlarged under Louis XV, then renovated by Napoleon I following the French Revolution, the Imperial Palace of Compiègne enjoyed its greatest glory under Napoleon III. During its celebrated "Séries", the château hosted Europe’s most famous figures. Discover the private lives of these past sovereigns by touring the château's imperial apartments, a splendid ensemble of perfectly restored First and Second Empire decors. The Second Empire Museum and the Automobile Museum are also well worth the visit. The paths of the landscaped park, listed as a “Remarkable Garden”, are perfect for naturally recharging your batteries.
The Chaalis Abbey in Fontaine-Chaalis
The Chaalis Abbey is one of the largest Cistercian abbeys in France. Today, the vestiges picturesquely occupy a setting of verdure and ponds. Stroll about the listed park designed by the Cardinal of Este, who also created the Tivoli Gardens, and discover three-hundred-year-old trees, a rose garden, 13th-century ruins and a chapel adorned with Renaissance-era frescos.
Seduced by the romantic ruins of old Pierrefonds Castle, Napoleon III entrusted Viollet-le-Duc with the château’s restoration in 1857. Keen to restore the site’s past splendour, the architect gave free reign to his imagination, combining archaeological restoration and creation. While today’s monument embodies the model medieval fortress, it also abounds in surprising details to be found in its architecture, sculptures and painted, almost avant-garde décors.
Royal Moncel Abbey in Pontpoint
Founded in 1309 by King Philip the Fair, Royal Moncel Abbey invites visitors to discover its marvellous Gothic heritage, including its vast vaulted cellars (covering 500 m²), the frescos adorning the nuns’ refectory and the magnificent framework of Halatte Forest timber.
Founded in 661, this 12th-century abbey church wonderfully illustrates the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic style. Its adjoining 13th-century Sainte-Chapelle, a replica of the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris built by Saint Louis, is an excellent example of High Gothic architecture.
Saint-Leu d’Esserent Abbey Church
For 900 years, this abbey church has overlooked the Oise Valley like a castle perched atop its rocky promontory. The priory is a masterpiece of transitional architecture, built during the pivotal period between the Romanesque and Gothic artistic styles.
Château de Troissereux
This stone-and-brick Renaissance-era château has retained several elements from the Middle Ages. Its interior decor was redesigned in 1791 in the neoclassical style. The magnificent French formal garden, designed according to the precepts of Bernard Palissy, is home to a bird sanctuary.