History, Sport or Nature lovers will find in Compiègne and surroundings much to satisfy their passion.
Royal town then Imperial city, Compiègne is well worth the visit – which can be organized on foot from the Best Western Hotel les Beaux-Arts. Tourists will discover the city’s rich past, as it welcomed French Royalty ever since Charles le Chauve’s time (at end of the IXth century), then became the hunting residence and sovereign headquarters as of the XVIIIth century. Museums, Churches, and abbeys show the city’s past splendor.
The Palace of Compiegne, meeting place and passions
Built by Louis XV, Compiègne became one of the most important royal residences of the court during the summer and autumn. Napoleon I adds a dazzling decor and Napoleon III makes it a privileged place where it gathers a part of the French and European society of the time.
Sumptuous rooms and galleries reveal the private life of the sovereigns and their loves, from Napoleon I and Marie-Louise, to Napoleon III and the elegant Eugenie.
A royal and imperial jewel near the forest
At the bend of alleys lined with old trees and sculptures of the ancient, smell the scents of an English garden with romantic charm.
Created under Napoleon I, the park offers a rich spring flowering, a garden of roses and poetic autumn walks.
Compiègne’s state forest is one of the largest of France with a surface of 14.885 hectares. Its oldest 900 year old tree is known to be the oldest of France.
For mushroom picking lovers, this forest is ideal in autumn. Strolers may see numerous game animals such as deer, roe or wild boars by gallo-roman church ruins and forest houses.
The Baroness Monique de ROTSCHILD fox hunted from her childhood until 2001 in the COmpiègne forest, first with the “par vaux et forets” team created by her father then as the team master of the “La futaie des amis” which she founded in 1961.
The forest counts 1200 km riding paths many of which have been transformed in cycling paths which nowadays marvel all VTT bike lovers.
The Compiègne Golf was created in 1896 by Lieutenant FOURNIER-SARLOVEZEZ and designed by the English architect Smith.
The Compiègne Golf hosted the first Olympics games on the occasion of the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris,.
The Golf Course is a Par 70 of 18 holes spread on 5 551m, located less than an hour from Paris, by the A1 motorway , 200 meters from the center of Compiègne, and at the edge of the forest .
Its soil is sandy and insensitive to rain fall, therefore it offers good condition for games all year round.
It is also equipped with training grounds with a grass driving range open all year round and 2 putting greens with practice bunkers.
There is also a club house, which pavilion was built in 1898, and a restaurant.
This exceptional area in France is the result of Napoleon III’s wish, who wanted a building up to the splendor he was used to offer his many guests during his regular stays in Compiègne.
Auguste-Gabriel Ancelet is the architect who designs and builds the future theater using the Royal Opera of Versailles as one of his references to meet Empress Eugenie’s wishes.
In July 1870, the war brakes out between France and Prussia. The Sedan defeat stops the works. The theater then enters a long sleep that lasted over 120 years.
In 1986 Pierre Jourdan discovers this fabulous abandoned place, and begins its rehabilitation.
Ancelet’s architectural masterpiece is confirmed to be a key technical tool, its architectural and acoustic qualities make it a real jewel considered as one of the finest theaters in the world.
Discover all that made the city of Compiegne become over time what it is today.
Its treasures have made it one of the most pleasant cities in the Picardy region.
Joan of Arc
During the 100 year war, Compiègne was sieged and taken over several times by the Burgundians.
The most memorable of these sieges is the one in 1430 when Joan of Arc hastening to the city to defend it fell, on May 23rd 1430, in the hands of the Burgundians during an outing on the river Oise’s right bank and was surrendered to the English.
Old streets and “La vieille Cassine”
The “Cassine” is a Picard term for a house.
The Residence “Old Cassine” is a relic of Compiègne’s medieval past, the same as its pedestrian streets that have retained old neighborhoods’ charm.
City hall and its “Picantins”
Jewel of the Gothic art end period, the City Hall was built from 1498 to 1530 and restored in the late XIXth century. Louis XII’s equestrian statue ornates its facade. At the top of the belfry containing the “Bancloque”, one of the oldest town hall bells of France, the 3 “Picantins” (Langlois, Lansquenet and Flandrin) punctuate the hours with their mallets.
The November 11th 1918 Armistice was signed in the Forest of Compiègne, near the Rethondes train station. Foch’s wagons and the German plenipotentiaries were installed on two parallel tracks parked in angle, previously used by heavy artillery.
At this same location, so was the June 22nd 1945 Armistice. In this reconstituted site after 1945, full of both glorious and tragic history, visitors can meditate in front of the remembrance monuments and visit the memorial that shields the copy of the original wagon as well as many testimonies of the first World war.