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Top 5 of touristic sites

If you want to find out about the best tourist venues in and around Beauvais, the tourist office can tell you about its top 5. Just follow the guide!

Cathedrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais 

St. Peter’s Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and is unique in its own way! As soon as you step inside, you’ll be amazed by its sheer height, a feat on the part of its builders. The 13th-century Gothic chancel is the tallest in the world with a floor-to-ceiling height of 49 metres. It’ll leave you speechless! Stand in the centre of the chancel and admire the light flooding in through the windows. It’s like standing in a cage made of glass. Meanwhile, splashes of colour from the stained glass dance their way across the white stone vaulting.

The cathedral was never completed. It has no nave, so it looks rather strange. Another feature, and a major one at that, is the fact that, in Beauvais, there are two cathedrals standing side by side. The older cathedral, the "Basse-Oeuvre", seems to be hesitating over its style but it is actually a priceless example of architecture from the year 1,000 AD.

During the fairytale Christmas period, visitors can watch "Beauvais, the Infinite Cathedral" (last edition in december 2020), which is projected onto the south doorway. It’s a free, unusual open-air show – a great way to end your evening in Beauvais!

 

Astronimical clock

Like the cathedral that houses it, the astronomical clock amazes people for its size. Designed in the Romanesque-Byzantine style and with a height of 12 metres, this masterpiece of precision engineering comprises 90,000 mechanical parts, 52 dials and 68 automata. It was built between 1865 and 1868 by a master clockmaker from Beauvais named Auguste Vérité and is one of the main features in St. Peter’s Cathedral.

It is at its most magical when it comes to life at certain times of day and the myriad of parts creates a splendid sound and light show that dazzles young and old alike.

What do all these dials represent? They measure sidereal time, solar cycles, the angle of the sun, the hours, days and months of the calendar etc. In the upper section of the clock, automata perform scenes from the Last Judgment.

 

Le MUDO - Musée de l'Oise ( museum)

 

Housed in the opulent palace that belonged to the bishop-counts of Beauvais, this museum has recently been renovated and now gives visitors a dynamic interactive approach to its collections and temporary exhibitions. Admire the huge painting by Thomas Couture, be amazed by the decorative arts and gaze for a while at landscapes ranging from French forests to Italian lakes, from the furthest reaches of the Orient to frosty Danish scenes. You’ll find the programme of exhibitions, talks, guided tours and workshops on www.mudo.oise.fr

 

Watch a video for a sneak peek at what the MUDO has to offer.

  

Le quadrilatère 

 

The “national tapestry gallery” was recently renamed “Le Quadrilatère”, firstly because the programme of temporary exhibitions created more and more links between heritage and contemporary design and, secondly, because tapestry was no longer the sole subject of the exhibitions. The previous name, "Galerie nationale de la tapisserie", was no longer an apt description. A video explains the history of this cultural and arts centre. The permanent exhibition focuses on the history of the town ("Listen to the Story of Beauvais"). There are also temporary exhibitions on a wide range of subjects throughout the year.

 

 

Maladrerie Saint-Lazare ( former hospital)

Did you know that there was once a leper hospital in Beauvais? Maladrerie Saint-Lazare is one of the very few examples of 12th and 13th-century hospital architecture in France and it amazes people for its ornate buildings and beautiful garden. It is a historic gem, in three very distinct sections – the farm, the monastery and the Romanesque chapel. The early 13th-century barn has been beautifully restored and is now used for cultural events and concerts. In fine weather, take a stroll along the pathways of the garden inspired by mediaeval designs. It’s a haven of peace and tranquillity.

A 3D model produced by the town council’s Archaeology department can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet and you can spend some unique time wandering through the mediaeval hospital.

Special-interest tours are also available (programme online). Special-interest walks for families guarantee a great time.

 

The garden of artist André van Beek

 

A 10-minute drive from Beauvais, you’ll find the garden of artist André van Beek, in Saint-Paul. It’s an open-air palette of colour where the artist can find inspiration in the dahlias, water lilies and hydrangeas. The garden is steeped in a sense of peace, tranquillity and sensuality. Let yourself wander from flowerbeds to lily ponds – all of them create the same visual delight.