Prefecture de l'Oise, Beauvais takes place in the Hauts-de-France region, north of the Paris basin. The town is about sixty kilometers from Amiens and Compiegne, and eighty kilometers from Paris, the capital of the country.
That which takes its name from a Gaulish people, the Bellovaques, was born of a Roman camp, Caesaromagus. Destroyed by the Barbarians, it is reborn from its ashes in the Middle Ages. From the eleventh century, the city of Beauvais enjoyed a certain economic prosperity, especially in the field of textile industry with the famous cloth of Beauvais exported all over the world. Its industrial decline at the end of the eighteenth century made it profoundly painful, and it was not until the reconstruction of the 1960s that the city resumed its colors.
Today, it is mainly for its architectural and historical heritage that Beauvais is appreciated by tourists. A marking on the ground has been installed throughout the city to indicate the most remarkable monuments. The city has been awarded numerous labels for its tourism efforts, such as the Tourism and Handicap label, four flowers in the Concours des villes et villages fleuris, and the Blue Flag of Europe for the Canada.
The important architectural heritage, as well as the nearby airport, give the city of Beauvais an international reputation from a tourist point of view.
A true masterpiece of Gothic art, the Saint-Pierre cathedral is still the highest in France. Unfinished, it has the particularity of not revealing a complete nave. Classified as Historic Monuments, the present building dates from the first half of the 13th century and takes place on the remains of a 10th century church. Inside, you can admire the astronomical clock of Auguste-Lucien Vérité. Built in the second half of the 19th century, it reveals a decoration inspired by the Bible with notably 70 automatons animating on a scene of the Last Judgment, at the top of the object.
Also listed as Historic Monuments, the church of Saint-Etienne allows to admire magnificent stained-glass windows revealing in particular the tree of Jesse, whose dominantes of blue offer a mystical aspect to the whole. The mixture of a Romanesque nave and a Gothic choir reconstructed in the sixteenth century adds to the eccentricity of the building. Other religious buildings attract attention in Beauvais, like the Notre-Dame de Marissel church of the eleventh century, the remains of the Saint-Barthélémy collegiate church or the Notre-Dame-du-Thil church.
Set in the former episcopal palace, the Oise Museum offers collections of works from the 17th to the 20th century. The building itself has been classified as a Historic Monument. Built in the 12th century, it takes its place on the ancient Gallo-Roman ramparts.
A medieval hospital complex, the Saint-Lazare de Voisinlieu shed is the best preserved in northern Western Europe. Dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, the building now serves as a cultural and tourist center. Several buildings of the former leprosarium can still be admired: the chapel of Saint-Lazare, the barn, the sheepfold, the home of the community, the rest of the building formerly dedicated to plague victims, as well as the remains of an old stone dwelling Which served as the administrator's house. You will also see a 19th century farmer's house. Outside this last building, everything has been classified or listed in the Historic Monuments. Concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events are regularly organized on the site. At the end of 2000, a medieval garden was recreated, in the spirit of the gardens of former times.
Built in the middle of the 18th century, the town hall of Beauvais is classified as a Historic Monument. It offers a classic façade, as well as very beautiful bas-reliefs. Inside the building you can enjoy many works of art. Opposite, a statue of Jeanne Hachette was installed, paying tribute to this important figure of the Beauvaisian resistance during the attacks of Charles the Bold, former Duke of Burgundy.
Inaugurated in the 1970s, the national gallery of the tapestry of Beauvais takes place not far from the cathedral, skirting the ancient Gallo-Roman ramparts. The site offers temporary exhibitions unveiling collections of tapestries, furniture or carpets from the National Furniture.
Some old houses are still visible in the old town center, revealing interesting half-timberings. The Gréber house, an old artistic sandstone factory, deserves to be dwelt on to admire the scenery of the façade.
The museum of the R101 airship is also interesting.
The weekly markets of Beauvais take place on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday morning.
In March, the music festival, Blues around the Zinc, offers concerts in the city.
The Rencontres d'ensemble de cello are organized every year in May.
The feast of Jeanne Hachette, which pays tribute to the child of the country, take place in June.
Between June and September, Beauvais offers its Summer Scenes with diverse and varied shows throughout the city.
Beach Beauvais highlights summer activities and sports between July and August, bringing a bit of beach in the city of Oise.
Also in the summer, a festival of current music unveils its programming at Elispace.
On the first Sunday of September, the Carrot Festival celebrates the famous vegetable in Voisinlieu.
The international film festival of Beauvais takes place every year since 1991 in October.
In November, the city hosts an antique and decorative arts fair.
A Christmas market is held in December.