Paris Home Sightseeing
Where to Stay Transportation

Paris > Beauvais > Photo tour

A Walk Around Beauvais

From: Beauvais, France

The heart of Beauvais is the Place Jeanne Hachette, a large and attractive square that has been turned into a pedestrian zone. (Don't be misled by outdated Google Maps, some of which show parked cars on the pavement.)

The Place Jeanne Hachette has cafés and restaurants, shops, park benches, and open space where children can run:

Place Jeanne Hachette, Beauvais, France

Park benches in Place Jeanne Hachette, Beauvais

Galeries Lafayette, the city's main department store, is on the right in the photo below, facing the northeastern corner of the square:

Place Jeanne Hachette with carousel and Galeries Lafayette

Near the top or northern edge of the Place Jeanne Hachette, children can enjoy rides on a carousel:

Place Jeanne Hachette Carousel, Beauvais

The 18th Century Hotel de Ville and its modern fountain are at the southern end of the square. (On some maps, the city hall is labeled "Mairie de Beauvais.")

Hotel de Ville with fountain, Beauvais, France

Tiles in the pavement show local symbols and icons--including the salamander, which is the official mascot of Beauvais:

Tile in Place Jeanne Hachette, Beauvais

Place Jeanne Hachette, Beauvais pavement tile

North of the square is a fountain that operates even when local businesses have been shuttered for the night:

Fountain in Beauvais, France

The city's Office du Tourisme, or Tourist Office, is a short block away from the square's northwestern corner, at the junction of Rue Saint-Pierre and Rue Beauregard.

We found the staff very helpful when we stopped in on a Saturday morning. Among other things, they gave us a copy of Walk Beauvais, a 12-page booklet with sightseeing itineraries and a city map:

Beauvais Tourist Office


Bronze salamander markers are embedded in sidewalks around Beauvais as visual aids for sightseeing. The Tourist Office's Walk Beauvais booklet explains:

"Let the salamander guide you and take a walk through 2000 years of the history of Beauvais from the Gallo-Roman ramparts through Le Quadrilatère, without forgetting the cathedral, of course."

Salamander in Beauvais, France

The Cathedrale Saint-Pierre is close to the Tourist Office and the three-star Hotel de la Cathédrale, where we stayed during our visit to Beauvais.

See our dedicated Beauvais Cathedral page with captioned photos of both the church and its son et lumière show, which takes place in summer and at Christmas.

Hotel de la Cathedrale and Beauvais Cathedral

Beauvais Cathedral light show

Next door to the cathedral is MUDO, the Musée de l'Oise. The museum occupies a palace where the Bishops of Beauvais once lived. One of its creepier occupants was Pierre Cauchon, who condemned Joan of Arc to be burned at the stake:

MUDO - Musée de l'Oise, Beauvais

Another landmark near the cathedral is the ruin of La Collégiale Saint-Barthélemy, which was one of the city's churches before the French Revolution. Only the choir has survived:

Ruin of Collégiale Saint-Barthélemy, Beauvais

The Gallo-Roman rampart dates back at least 1,700 years. The ruined walls, which are immediately behind the cathedral, are the oldest structure in Beauvais.:

Gallo-Roman rampart, Beauvais, France

Modern France may be a land of égalité, but compared to Beauvais Cathedral, the local Protestant church looks like a gatehouse:

Protestant church in Beauvais

Also in the cathedral district, 15th Century house and several other half-timbered structures are typical of Beauvais residences from before the 20th Century:

15h Century house, Beauvais

Half-timbered houses in Beauvais

Given that "cleanliness is next to godliness," it's appropriate that the Public Bath House of Beauvais is within walking distance of the cathedral.

The bath house opened in 1921 for the convenience of citizens who lacked full bathrooms. It operated for 60 years, closing in 1981:

Beauvais Public Bath House

Also close by is Le Thérain, the river of Beauvais, which has long been a source of water for drinking and industrial uses (ncluding textile production in the Middle Ages). Today, it's a pleasant spot for trout fishing:

Le Thérain - river and trout stream in Beauvais

Le Thérain - Rivière à Truites, Beauvais

If you can't get a room at the Hotel de la Cathédrale (see above), or if you prefer a four-star hotel with all the trimmings, the Mercure Centre Beauvais Cathédrale is a good alternative. It's slightly west of the historic center, a little beyond the cathedral.

The hotel has free parking, which makes it appealing if you're visiting Beauvais by car.

Hotel Mercure Centre Beauvais Cathédrale

During our visit to Beauvais, we noticed several vintage cars, including a Morgan sports car and a Citroën Deux Cheveaux:

Morgan car - Beauvais

Citroën 2CV in Beauvais

This antique residential mailbox also caught our fancy:

Mailbox in Beauvais, France

On the Rue du 27 Juin and elsewhere, we saw more historic half-timbered houses and brick houses with slate roofs:

House on Rue du 27 Juin, Beauvais

Cobblestoned street in Beauvais

South of the Place Jeanne Hachette is another ecclesiastical landmark, the Église Saint-Étienne.

Until the French Revolution of 1989, it was the municipal church where the mayor would take his oath of office. (The bells in its belfry were used to summon the citizenry.)

Église Saint-Étienne, Beauvais

Church of Saint Etienne, Beauvais

One of the church's nicer features is a garden that's open to the public. It includes an "insect hotel" for pollinators and other six-legged creatures:

Garden of Église Saint-Étienne, Beauvais

Church of Saint-Étienne 'insect hotel,' Beauvais

While we wandered outside the Church of Saint-Étienne, we spotted a bride and groom posing for wedding photos:

Wedding photos at Church of Saint-Étienne, Beauvais

Spiritual sustenance is fine, but sometimes you need more than a saint's bone to gnaw on. Downtown Beauvais is dotted with places to eat and drink, such as the Brasserie Les Halles (where we had a satisfying dinner) and several crêperies.

Brasserie Les Halles, a bistro in Beauvais

Creperie in Beauvais, France with bicycle and dog

Back to introduction: Beauvais, France

In this article:
Beauvais, France
Beauvais Cathedral of Saint-Pierre
Shopping & public markets
A walk around Beauvais

Also see:
Paris - Beauvais / Beauvais - Paris by train
Beauvais-Tillé Airport (BVA)
Ryanair Paris (Beauvais)
Local Beauvais-Tillé airport bus 6
Paris Beauvais (BVA) airport transportation

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for About.com, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Paris for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

For more information, see About our site, press clippings, and reader testimonials.