Beauvais, Picardy: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Beauvais in Oise

Visit Beauvais (Picardy, France)

Beauvais is a large town about 75 kilometres north of Paris, in the direction of Amiens. It is the 'capital' of the Oise department. The ancient centre of the town was severely damaged during the Second World War, but in the town there remain some interesting monuments and buildings to discover.

Exploring Beauvais

Your visit will focus in the area around the cathedral and the Town Hall. As you walk around Beauvais you will notice metal markers set in the pavement that denote the places of interest - visit the tourism office for an explanation of what these refer to.

Beauvais cathedral

The Cathedral of Saint Pierre in Beauvais has had a long history of problems due to over-ambitious plans and various disasters: the choir was destroyed by fire in 1225 and rebuilt over the following decades; a large part of the walls collapsed in 1284; the transept was added in the 16th century then followed by a very large tower (rather than a nave which should have been built first to increase the strength of the building) - that collapsed less than five years later.

The tower was never rebuilt and the nave was never constructed, but the existing cathedral is already very large.

Even recent years have brought further problems. After the revolution many of the statues were damaged, then the cathedral was further damaged in the second world war. In the late 20th century the choir, that was left standing when much of the rest of the building collapsed in 1284, started to collapse itself. Major reinforcement work is ongoing.

Despite this the cathedral of Saint Peter remains the highlight of a visit to Beauvais and is a substantial gothic style building mostly dating from the 14th-16th centuries and with some interesting carvings and stained glass windows to enjoy. The 19th century astronomical clock is also interesting and is said to be the largest of its type in the world (it has more than 50 dials to try and understand)!

Elsewhere in Beauvais

You can also visit the church of Saint Etienne, for its interesting mix of roman and renaissance style architecture and the attractive 16th century stained glass windows. While most of the church dates from the 16th century, there are parts of the original 12th century roman style church, and the large tower was only added in the late 17th century.

Jeanne Hachette statue in BeauvaisThere is also a scattering of medieval houses to be seen in streets around the cathedral and the town hall. A particularly interesting group of buildings is the 'maladrerie' where monks looked after the sick at 203 Rue de Paris. You can see the dormitory, chapel, barn and various other associated buildings.

The classical style town hall dates from the 18th century. The statue in front of the Town hall is of Jeanne Hachette, a local hero who led the battle to save Beauvais from being captured during a siege by the Burgundy dukes in the middle of the 15th century.

There is a museum in Beauvais celebrating its important historical role in the rug and carpet industry, at the 'Galerie Nationale de la Tapisserie de Beauvais'. The museum is found in a modern building next to the cathedral.

The departmental museum for the Oise department is in the old Episcopal Palace in Beauvais.

Note: Beauvais is also known for its proximity to Beauvais airport.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Oise guide and the Picardy guide.

See also:

Map of Beauvais and places to visit

Visit near Beauvais with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Oise

Tourist classifications

Beauvais is classified as a village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*

Address: Beauvais, Oise, Picardy, 60000, France || GPS: latitude 49.4303, longitude 2.0952

Plan your visit to Beauvais, Picardy

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Cathédrale Saint Pierre (Beauvais): religious monument
  • Plan d'eau du Canada: site of natural beauty (4km)
  • Forêt du Parc de Saint-Quentin: site of natural beauty (6km)
  • Parc Saint Paul: theme park (8km)
  • Hortillonnages d'Amiens: site of natural beauty (13km)
  • Remerangles: ville fleurie 4* (14km)
  • Forêt de Hez-Froidmont: site of natural beauty (17km)
  • Gerberoy: most beautiful village (21km)
  • Abbaye Saint Germer de Fly (Saint-Germer-de-Fly): religious monument (23km)
  • Réserve naturelle régionale des Larris et Tourbières de Saint-Pierre-es-Champs: site of natural beauty (26km)
  • Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais de Gisors (Gisors): religious monument (28km)
  • Mureaumont: ville fleurie 4* (32km)

Market days in Beauvais, France

Regular market(s) are held in Beauvais each Wednesday all day & Saturday all day. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Beauvais (Francais)