Before my Toussaint holidays, the most I knew of Beauvais was the budget airport. I had flown into and out of Paris-Beauvais on Ryanair a couple times during my study abroad year, and so passed through this charming town, but no further.
When I was researching fun day trips to take from the Paris region, Beauvais kept popping up. Located in the région of Picardy and the capitol of the Oise départment, Beauvais is about an hour train ride from Paris. Beavais`claim to fame is the St Peter Cathedral, known as the tallest cathedral in all of France. I was shocked too! For some reason I had always assumed that Notre Dame in Paris was the tallest French cathedral in France, which is far from the case. Even the Amiens cathedral is larger than Notre Dame.
Once we arrived in Beauvais, we knew we wanted to check out the famous cathedral, but beyond that didn`t have much of an itinerary. The whole town was surprisingly beautiful.
I was blown away by the gorgeous centre-ville, as the main square was so colorful, open, and full of people on a Sunday afternoon. The Hotel de Ville has fountains in front of it, which went off every couple minutes, and made the whole square look beautiful. The sqare boasts a statue of Jeanne Hachette- a 15th century French heroine who, legend has it, saved the town of Beauvais from capture by the Burgundians in the Hundred Years War. She was rewarded by the king and her likeness was made into a striking statue.
After enjoying the main square, we checked out the famous Cathedral. Yes, St Peter of Beauvais is the tallest cathedral in France- but it is also incomplete. Built in the 13th century, the cathedral had already undergone several collapsed naves and walls by 1300, and work was slowed down. Every century or so, some part of the cathedral would collapse, until work stopped. Although the outside is clearly unfinished, the inside is beautiful, dark, and gives a gloomy feeling. I guess it was the Middle Ages, after all!
After the cathedral, we had a bit of time before our train so we decided to check out the Muséé départemental de l`Oise. Located in the former Bishop`s Palace, the (free!) Oise museum housed local art and was quite fascinating. My favorite painting was of the Chateau of Pierrefonds that we had visited earlier.
Have you ever been to Beauvais- either the airport or the town? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!