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A circular town of contrasts

An unmissable place to visit in the Oise département, close to Compiègne and Pierrefonds, with a surprisingly rich heritage. They certainly needed a big compass to design Noyon!

A large circle of tree-lined boulevards follows the route of the Medieval walls, with another, smaller one inside it, enclosing the centre of the town, following the route of the Gallo-Roman ramparts. It is following this circular walk that you will find the spectacular evidence of Noyon’s rich past: the cathedral and its Canonical Quarter, the chapterhouse library, of course, the Town Hall and the Museums – unmissable monuments. Raise your eyes and look at the façades, where stones, bricks and half-timbering are side by side – the attentive and curious visitor will read there the intimate history of this town, formed by wars: NOYON many times destroyed, Noyon always rebuilt.

Follow in the footsteps of Saint Médard and Saint Eloi, the town’s Bishops; of Charlemagne who was crowned there; of Hugh Capet who was consecrated there, and of John Calvin, who was born there. While you are exploring, you might come across a pilgrim on the Route of Saint James, and you will certainly hear the heart of Noyon beating.

The Canonical Quarter

The Canonical Quarter of Noyon is full of surprises: remarkably well preserved, it surrounds the cathedral closely and in this area where time seems to stand still, you will easily imagine the Bishop coming out of his palace, the canons out of their residences close by, to go to the services or to the timbered library, built in 1506. No doubt, like them, you will appreciate the peace of the cloister – perhaps you will follow them in your imagination into the refectory, or even into the “Officiality” (prison and court). The storeroom, the cellars of the canons’residences on several levels, that make up underground NOYON, will give up their secrets to you on annual “Heritage Days”

Noyonnais Museum and John Calvin Museum

Coming out of the cathedral, you will naturally come to the Bishops’ Palace with its Renaissance façade – this now houses the Noyonnais Museum. Here you can go back in time to the Gallo-Roman period, through the displays of numerous objects found during archaeological digs, and also through the exceptional collection of Medieval chests. Feel like a trip to the Orient? The canvases of painter Joseph Félix Bouchor (1858-1937) will take you there effortlessly!

A few steps from the front of the cathedral, another building will welcome you, symbolising within it the contrasts of the town. Le Chevalet, a modern building housing the theatre and the media library, reflects the twin towers of the cathedral in its plate-glass windows as though paying homage. Yesterday and today, history and continuity… This also contrasts with the John Calvin Museum, close by. Built in 1930, it stands on the site of John Calvin’s birthplace. Yes, it is in this eminently Catholic town that the famous Protestant reformer was born in 1509! Want to find out more? In the Museum you can discover the man and his work, and also, through the displays of numerous works, pictures and furniture, you can follow the history of Protestantism in the 16th and 17th centuries.

 

 The “Place de l’Hôtel de Ville” 

A stone’s throw away, far enough to walk past a few houses built against the Medieval ramparts, you will find yourself on the third Place de Noyon, the one where the Town Hall stood, along with the Dauphin Fountain (18th century, built to celebrate the marriage of the Dauphin, the future Louis XVI, to Marie-Antoinette of Austria). The flamboyant Gothic-style Town Hall, dating from the 16th century, was severely damaged in 1918, then restored. Can you find all the sculpted animals of the bestiary that decorate the façade in the front? The Morienval Gospel, the astonishing and precious manuscript from the Carolingian period, is preserved in the “Salon d’Honneur” at the Town Hall. You can see it on the annual “Heritage Days”.

The Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville is the unmissable place to come on a Saturday – market day.

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Noyon. Sources et Vallées. Oise. Picardie.

Tourist Office
Place Bertrand Labarre
60400 Noyon - France

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Phone : +33 (0)3 44 44 21 88
Fax : +33 (0)3 44 93 08 53

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Latitude : 49.58072
Longitude : 3.000114

From the 4th  week of September to 18th of April

From 2 pm to 5 pm on Monday
From 10 am to 12 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm,  from Tuesday to Saturday

From the 20th of April to the 13th June

From 2 pm to 6 pm on Monday
From 10 am to 12 am and from 2 pm to 6 pm,  from Tuesday to Saturday

From the 15th  June to the 3rd  week of September

From 2 pm to 6 pm on Monday
From 10 am to 12.30 am and from 1.30 pm to 6 pm, from Tuesday to Friday
From 10 am to 12.30 am and from 2 pm to 6 pm, on Saturday
From 10.30 am to 12.30 am on Sunday