In the department of Oise, Compiègne is an important town in France's history. It became a royal and imperial city in the 18th century, when the castle was built. Louis XV, Louis XVI, Napoleon I and Napoleon III spent time there in succession, transforming the castle into a bastion of power. See all the opulence of the place in the richly decorated and furnished royal and imperial apartments, as well as the works of art and memorabilia of the imperial family in the museums of the Second Empire. For lovers of classic cars, the French National Car and Tourism Museum looks at the development of the automobile over the centuries, with a wonderful collection of horse-drawn carriages and cycles from the 18th to early 20th centuries. Before leaving the castle, walk down Allée des Beaux-Monts, which Napoleon III had designed to offer a stunning perspective.
In the town, discover some pretty medieval houses, the oldest of which dates back to the 15th century: La Vieille Cassine. The town hall is also a very fine building. Its Late Gothic belfry has one of the oldest municipal bells in France, dating back to 1303.
Also don't miss the Museum of Historical Figurines, with its collection of thousands of figurines made of tin, lead, wood, paper... It tells the story of Compiègne and France through amazing arrangements like the last great battle of France's First Empire. Based in the former Songeons mansion, the Antoine Vivenel Museum houses a superb collection of art from Antiquity, the Renaissance and the 19th century.
Continue to delve into French history in Compiègne forest and more specifically the Armistice clearing. It was here that Marshal Foch received the German plenipotentiaries on 11 November 1918 to put an end to four years of appalling war. The state-owned forest also has more than 1,000 kilometres of roads and paths, ideal for beautiful outings in the heart of nature!