Towns and villages
Beauvais, the city and its Saint-Pierre Cathedral
Originally built by the Bellovaci tribe of ancient Gaul, the city of Beauvais is full of character and home to an impressively long list of monuments: a Gothic cathedral boasting the world's highest chancel, a Royal Tapestry Workshop that once furnished the most beautiful salons of France and Navarre, the MUDO, one of France’s most unique regional museums, a rare lazar house and an episcopal quarter home to small sculpted houses.
Listed as a “Town of Art & History”, Beauvais presents a harmonious blend of urban culture and historic heritage, welcoming curious city dwellers searching for tranquillity, a relaxed art de vivre and out-of-the-ordinary discoveries.
Equestrian capital of France, royal Chantilly is world famous for its château and its eponymous cream, but this “Town of Art & History” boasts many more attractions thanks to its exceptional heritage: one of France’s oldest racecourses, hosting the prestigious Prix de Diane and Jockey Club horse races, Europe's largest training centre, racing stables, canals designed by André Le Nôtre in the 17th century, a forest covering 6,344 hectares…
The real recipe for Chantilly cream by Jean-Michel Duda, restaurateur of Aux Goûters Champêtres in Chantilly.
- 50 cl of fresh cream
- 20 g of vanilla sugar
- 20 g of icing sugar
- Pour the very cold cream into a pre-chilled mixing bowl.
- Add the vanilla sugar and icing sugar.
- Whisk rapidly by hand or using an electric beater, until the cream thickens and forms waves. When you remove the whisk from the cream, if a loop forms and the waves retain their shape, then you have Chantilly cream. Careful: at this stage, a little more whisking will transform your Chantilly into butter!
The royal and imperial town of Compiègne has been the setting of major events in French history. Discover such fascinating sites as the Town Hall, the Palace and its museums, the Saint-Corneille Cloister Museum, the Historical Figurine Museum, the Antoine Vivenel Museum, the Armistice Clearing memorial site and the Internment and Deportation Memorial. Compiègne is also a veritable “green lung”, inviting you to enjoy a breath of fresh sylvan air while exploring the paths of one of France’s largest national forests.
Crépy-en-Valois and the Automne Valley
From east to west, north to south, lovely limestone is everywhere to be seen. This warm stone is an architectural treasure, indispensable for the construction of the city of the Dukes of Valois and the 35 bell towers of the picturesque Automne Valley. The area’s landscapes, a succession of plateaus and vales, are ideal for bucolic strolls punctuated with out-of-the-ordinary encounters.
Gerberoy is a veritable gem, listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France. No one is immune to its many charms, with its cobblestoned lanes, dollhouses of cob and colourful timber framing, hollyhocks and wisteria set against old stones… Visitors ever enjoy a warm, fragrant welcome to this fairy-tale village, where roses reign. Every third weekend of June, the village hosts its famous rose festival. The remarkable garden of the post-impressionist painter Le Sidaner is home to 25 varieties of rare and antique roses. French flower power only a short distance from the capital.
Noyon, the town and its cathedral
Birthplace of John Calvin, one of the founding fathers of French Protestantism, Noyon is home to Notre-Dame Cathedral, whose prestigious history includes the coronation of Charlemagne and the consecration of Hugh Capet.
This charming village is nestled in the very heart of the Compiègne Forest. Saint-Jean-aux-Bois was founded in the 12th century around a Benedictine abbey, whose abbey church with its chapter hall can still be seen. The purity of its interior architecture and its grisaille stained-glass windows dating back to the 13th century have made the abbey church justly famous. Stroll about the village to discover its 16th-century gatehouse and bridge, its stone houses, its gardens and abundant flowers, its old wash house… A short walk from the village, be sure to admire the Saint Jean Oak, thought to be around 850 years old and one of the oldest oak trees in France.
Surrounded by shady forests, the royal medieval town of Senlis reveals an exceptional architectural and cultural heritage, including a cathedral wonderfully illustrating the evolution of the Gothic style, cobblestoned lanes, the vestiges of a royal château, Gallo-Roman arenas and an ancient wall, medieval fortifications and elegant townhouses.