Would you like to come and explore the very best sites and monuments in Beauvais and Beauvaisis? The Tourist Office has compiled a list of the top 5: follow the guide and treat yourselves to a getaway!
1- Cathedral of St. Peter of Beauvais and the astronomical clock
The Cathedral of St. Peter, a must-see of Beauvais
The Cathedral of St. Peter of Beauvais is a one-of-a-kind monument, and a real masterpiece of Gothic-style art! As you venture inside the monument, you’ll be taken aback by the sheer height of it, a monumentous achievement from the builders at that time. The 13th-century Gothic choir is the highest in the world and the 48.5 m under the vaults will leave you speechless. Stand at the centre of the choir and admire the light streaming in through the stained-glass windows, the colours bouncing off the white stone arches.
This cathedral was never actually completed and so does not have a nave, making it all the more unique. Due to a number of issues and collapses, the cathedral was not completed and therefore did not become the biggest in the whole Kingdom. Another special feature that is most definitely worth mentioning is that in Beauvais, there are in fact two cathedrals in the same spot. As if it were suspended in time, the former cathedral known as the ‘Basse-Œuvre’ is a precious testimony from the year 1000.
The Cathedral is undergoing some significant renovation work to prepare for its 800th anniversary in 2025. However, it is still possible to come and visit the monument, either alone or with a guide. To find out more, browse our offers or contact Beauvais Tourist Office on +33 (0)3 44 15 30 30.
Auguste Lucien Vérité’s astronomical clock
Just like the cathedral itself, the Astronomical Clock inside it boasts eye-catching dimensions. This masterpiece of accuracy stands inside a 12-metre-high and 6-metre-wide Roman-Byzantine casing and is made up of 90,000 mechanical pieces, 52 dials and 68 automatons, that are all perfectly synchronised. It was designed between 1865 and 1868 by master clockmaker from Beauvais Auguste Lucien Vérité. It is a major highlight of the Cathedral of St. Peter. It is also the oldest chiming clock in the world still in working order.
It is a magical sight when, on a daily basis, the astronomical clock springs to life and all the different pieces are set into movement. What is the purpose of all the dials? Some show sidereal time, others represent solar cycles, the position of the sun, the various times, days and months of the year. At the top of the clock, the automatons portray scenes from the Last Judgement. Find out more about opening times and prices.
2 – The Maladrerie Saint-Lazare
Did you know that there is a former leper house in Beauvais? This is pretty much a one-of-a-kind in France in terms of 12th and 13th century hospital architecture. The Maladrerie Saint-Lazare is a fascinating construction, set in beautiful grounds. This precious heritage site still has three distinct sections: the farm, the living quarters for members of the clergy and the Romanesque chapel. The early 12th-century barn has been beautifully restored and there are cultural and musical events organised there from time to time. From spring onwards, come and take a stroll around the medieval gardens, and enjoy this peaceful place.
The Tourist Office organises a fun way to explore this place with an escape game! Victor fell asleep in the garden… When he woke up, he found himself stuck in the past! From the 21st century, your mission is to help him get back to the present, using the clues! This is an original adventure, to explore the Maladrerie Saint-Lazare, unveil its secrets and learn about the 900 years of history. Find out more about the adventure.
If you would like to find out more, the town’s archaeology department has made 5 videos showing the site in 3D. This is a virtual, educational and very visual way to wander around the site, for a unique experience of the Maladrerie of the Middle Ages.
The Maladrerie Saint-Lazare in the Middle Ages
The farm in the Middle Ages
The courtyard for healthy people in the Middle Ages
The living quarters in the Middle Ages
The barn in the Middle Ages
Between 1 April and 30 September, the Maladrerie also organises audio tours in and around the Maladrerie with a smart umbrella called a SonoPluie. The SonoPluie provides visitors with an original, audio tour of the Maladrerie featuring interviews and testimonies from the residents, from some special contacts, with anecdotes, literary and poetic writings. The SonoPluie uses WiFi and geo-tracking technology to create a tour in real time, detecting the visitor’s location. The shape of the umbrella makes this tour all the more intimate and immersive.
3 – Painter André Van Beek’s garden
Don’t miss painter André Van Beek’s garden in Saint-Paul, just a 10-minute drive from Beauvais. This garden resembles an open-air colour palette, and the painter got all his inspiration from the dahlias, water lilies and hydrangeas here. This is a quiet, peaceful and luxurious place where you’ll be amazed as you wander past the flower beds and the ponds with water lilies.
You’ll also have the opportunity to admire some of the painter’s artworks in the garden, as well as his collection of fossils. André Van Beek also provides a sound-proof exhibition and function room that can accommodate up to 150 people seated for cocktail evenings, receptions, professional meetings, weddings or birthday celebrations.
4 – The Steam Train
All aboard for Crèvecœur-le-Grand! Come and journey back in time, to step inside the world of your grandfather’s trains on the steam train. The kids will love this surprising locomotive from 1898 and the whistle that signals it’s time to leave. The passionate team from the museum will guide you through the countryside as far as Rotangy, for a rustic experience aboard a train classified a Historic Monument. Last call for the 19th century, all aboard!
5 – The MUDO – Musée de l’Oise
The MUDO-Musée de l’Oise is inside the prestigious bishops and Counts of Beauvais palace, at the foot of Beauvais Cathedral, and has recently been renovated, to offer visitors an interactive and dynamic discovery of the 19th-century collections and temporary exhibitions. Admire the remarkable painting by Thomas Couture at the heart of the bishop’s palace, wonder at the decorative arts and daydream in front of the paintings of landscapes, French forests with Italian lakes, the Far East and the Danish winter landscapes. The visitor’s tour has been designed to take visitors on a journey.
There are 4 sections to the tour of the MUDO: you’ll begin with the fortification, otherwise known as the castle entrance, then St. Peter’s wing, the Renaissance palace and iconic garden, before ending the tour in the area under the rafters at the top of the palace.