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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Oise

Senlis - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Oise

Not far from Chantilly forest, discover Senlis, a medieval town in Oise with a remarkable architectural and cultural heritage! An ideal place for a leisurely stroll, the old town reveals cobbled streets lined with mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries along with some beautiful houses. These streets are in fact named after medieval trades. With its many transformations over the centuries, the Cathedral of Our Lady has become an example of the changing Gothic style. To see this, you need only compare the 12th-century main façade with the 16th-century latticework façade. A magnificent Gothic spire rising to a height of 78 metres stands atop it, and it also has a large, carved portal and some of France's finest tribunes.

Another of Senlis' heritage buildings is the royal castle. It is an integral part of French history since it is the place where Hugh Capet was made King of the Franks. But the origins of the town go back even further, 2,000 years ago, as evidenced by the Gallo-Roman wall built in the 3rd century, 800 m long and still retaining 16 of the 30 original towers, or the semi-excavated arenas from the 1st century, which could fit in about 8,000 people who came to watch gladiatorial and animal combat.

Built at the request of Hugh Capet's wife, the Royal Chapel of St. Frambourg, restored thanks to the Hungarian pianist György Cziffra, is interesting due to its 10th-century crypt, Gothic nave and superb stained glass windows by Joan Miró. The Church of St. Peter, meanwhile, stands out thanks to its Renaissance tower and Flamboyant Gothic façade.

On the edge of the Aunette Valley, the ecological park is perfect for a walk in a green setting while admiring the fauna and flora living around the natural marshes.

Additional information

Senlis is a medieval city located in the Oise, in Hauts-de-France region. It takes place between the forests of Chantilly and Ermenonville, about forty kilometers from Paris and Beauvais.

Founded in antiquity, the commune of Senlis has taken off in medieval times, of which there are many vestiges in the old center, protected by a safe area of ​​forty-two hectares. A royal town under the Capetians, it reached an economic climax between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries thanks to the trade in leather, wool or fur. Senlis is now known for its tourist activity which attracts many visitors each year.

In the middle of medieval streets and Gallo-Roman vestiges, the atmosphere of this city with a rich and glorious past is imbued. The importance of listed or listed monuments makes Senlis a city not to be missed when spending holidays in this part of northern France.

Things to see and do

Built in the golden age of Senlis, between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is the most important medieval monument of the commune. On the model of the basilica of Saint-Denis, it takes place in the Gallo-Roman enclosure and unveils a first Gothic art. Outside, on the western portal, one can admire the oldest representation of the Coronation of the Virgin dating from the 12th century. Considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the country, Notre-Dame has been classified as a Historic Monument. In front of the north gate, you can see the old library of the chapter, also classified, with a very beautiful half-timbered floor and red bricks.

Rebuilt in the second half of the eleventh century under the impulse of Queen Anne of Kiev, the former abbey Saint-Vincent was classified as Historic Monuments. Modified in the thirteenth and then in the eighteenth century, it now houses a private high school. Its church and its cloister are open to the visit during the weekend and during the school holidays.

Visible only from the outside, the remains of the church of Saint-Aignan date from the first half of the eleventh century.

Built in the 1st century AD, the Gallo-Roman arenas of Senlis are classified as Historic Monuments. Small in size, they can be discovered during guided tours on the first Sunday of every month between February and December.

Built in the Merovingian period, the royal castle of Senlis was completely modified at the beginning of the 12th century. There remain only a few remains of its buildings fallen in ruins after the French Revolution. Not far away, the priory of Saint-Maurice is a creation of King Saint-Louis in the second half of the thirteenth century. The former residence of the Prior now houses the Museum of Venery. Inscribed with the Historical Monuments, it reveals the art of the venery through sculptures, paintings, or even stuffed animals. The park surrounding all buildings is open to the public. At the entrance of the royal castle, it is also possible to visit the Spahis museum dedicated to this colonial military body.

A visit to Senlis will not fail to admire the 10th century collegiate church of Saint Frambourg, which today serves as an auditorium, the former episcopal palace of the end of the 15th century, the former Charité hospital and its church Classical style, or the hotel of Faucigny-Lucinge which dates from the XVIIIth century. All these sites are now classified as Historic Monuments.

The city of Senlis has preserved many vestiges of its Gallo-Roman enclosure and its medieval enclosure. The first, built in the 3rd century, is one of the best preserved in North Gaul, while the second was built under Philip Augustus at the end of the 12th century.

The hotel of Raoul de Vermandois, built in the middle of the 12th century, now houses the museum of art and archeology of Senlis. Different collections retrace the history of the city over the centuries, through models, religious objects, works of art or remains found during archaeological excavations.

In the old center, several buildings have been listed in the Historic Monuments, such as the 15th century town hall, the Chancellery and Renaissance style, the former Gallande Hotel-Dieu, and the former convent of the presentation. The latter, built in the first half of the 17th century, still unveils old service buildings.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Performance halls

Events and festivities


Museum of Art and Archeology (© Alain Petit)
Museum of Art and Archeology (© Alain Petit)
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Museum of the Hunting (© Senlis Museums)
Museum of the Hunting (© Senlis Museums)
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Hôtel de Vermandois (© Senlis Museums)
Hôtel de Vermandois (© Senlis Museums)
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby


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