Visit Saint-Omer (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France)
Saint-Omer is found to the south-east of Calais, in northern France. Historically a region of marshes, these were in part drained to create a fertile environment for growing produce and there are now many market gardens in the area.
Saint-Omer has an attractive centre, with numerous impressive 17th century houses and buildings, many in the Flemish style typical of the region, to be admired. These include the neo-classical style Town Hall and the Hotel de Berghes (open to the public so you can admire the ornate wooden acrvings in the interior). Some of the other notable sights include:
- The public gardens, with a section of the original Vauban fortifications of the town. The gardens are well maintained and with a good range of interesting plants and are difintely worth a visitThe rest of the fortifications were destroyed to create the space for the fashionable wide 19th century boulevards that you see today.
- The attractive Gothic style cathedral of Notre Dame is the principal monument in Saint-Omer. Built on the site of an earlier chapel in the 14th-15th century, the cathedral is now one of the most imposing monuments in this region of France. Inside the cathedral you can see an important painting by Rubens, the shrine for saint Erkembode and an imposing 18th century organ.
- The evocative ruins of the abbey of Saint Bertin date from the 14th century
- The harbours - Saint-Omer built its prosperity around ships that sailed up the Aa River to carry out their trade.
- The Hotel Sandelin Museum, itself in one of the most outstanding 17th century houses, features a range of exhibits relating the history of the town, and also features fine arts and ceramics displays, each of which offers a high quality collection.
- The Jesuits College chapel and the exhibition inside about the history of the town
Saint-Omer Festival of Sacred Art
The Festival of Sacred Art is held in Saint-Omer cathedral for two weeks in June, during which numerous works of art from painters, sculptors, engravers, poets, chorists etc transform the cathedral.
The festival, established in 2008, knew an immediate and impressive success and is to be repeated each year (all going well). You can find more details of the Festival of Saint-Omer at their website Regardeurs de Lumiere.
Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to the protected natural reserve of the 'étangs du Romelaëre', a wildlife area of lakes and ponds that forms part of the Audomarois marshes and is well known for its varied birdlife including herons and cormorants. There is a marked trail through the reserve.
The town of Aire-sur-la-Lys, a few kilometres south-east of Saint-Omer, also has a historic centre with some interesting buildings to see.
Photos taken within 10 km
Tourist classifications for Saint-Omer
Saint-Omer is classified as a listed town of Art and History
Address: Saint-Omer, Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, 62500 || GPS: latitude 50.7461, longitude 2.26167
Map of Saint-Omer & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Saint-Omer, France
- Beffroi d'Aire-sur-la-Lys (Belfries of Belgium and France) - heritage site (15km)
- La ferme du mont des Récollets - remarkable garden (17km)
- Caps et Marais d'Opale - regional natural parc (25km)
- Bergues - recommended detour (28km)
- Beffroi de Bergues (Belfries of Belgium and France) - heritage site (28km)
- Loon-Plage - ville fleurie 4* (28km)
- Beffroi de Gravelines (Belfries of Belgium and France) - heritage site (28km)
- Gravelines - recommended detour (28km)
- Grande-Synthe - ville fleurie 4* (30km)
- Beffroi de l'église St-Éloi de Dunkerque (Belfries of Belgium and France) - heritage site (33km)
The French version of this page is at Saint-Omer (Francais)