Founded in the 19th century by the industrialist Jean-Baptiste André Godin, inventor of the famous cast iron pan, the Familistery of Guise, made up of several buildings originally designed to house factory workers and their families, is a real social palace which is now a listed Historic Monument. Dreaming of an ideal society, where everyone could access the "equivalents of wealth", Godin used his fortune to improve the living and housing conditions of his employees. He created amenities and accommodation with an exceptional standard of comfort for the time. A social palace, company stores, schools, theatre, laundry room/swimming pool and kitchen gardens all contributed to the well-being of factory staff. Now partly converted into a museum, the Familistery of Guise invites visitors to discover the architecture and history of the site, through the impressive inner courtyard of the central pavilion, Godin's apartment and permanent exhibitions in the company store and laundry room/swimming pool.
Labour Day was born here, at the Godin Familistery, in 1867. This day is celebrated every year on 1 May in Guise, with a big community party, street arts and a funfair.
In the heights of the town, on a rocky spur overlooking the Oise Valley, the Castle of the Dukes of Guise has been redeveloped many times throughout its history. It retains a fine fortified ensemble from its ten centuries of military history. This listed Historic Monument can be admired on a guided tour.
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