The courtyard of the Sandelin museum in Saint-OmerThe courtyard of the Sandelin museum in Saint-Omer
©The courtyard of the Sandelin museum in Saint-Omer|Tourisme en Pays de Saint-Omer

The Musée Sandelin collections

To understand Saint-Omer, you need to push open the doors of the Musée Sandelin. Nestled in an 18th-century town house, the museum tells the story of the town and the spirit of an era. Ddiscover amazing collections and masterpieces in an architectural setting between courtyard and garden.

Welcome to Comtesse Sandelin

What a residence! The stone entrance porch and the facade overlooking the main courtyard are impressive. This private mansion is one of Saint-Omer’s finest. Back in 1773. Marie-Josèphe Sandelin, née Alicante, is 26 years old. She has just married her uncle, Pierre Sandelin, seigneur d’Elnes et d’Esquerdes, who is… 71.

The Countess has her winter residence built in Saint-Omer. She’s 43 and won’t enjoy it for long. Her property was confiscated during the French Revolution. She recovered it only a few weeks before her death. In 1904, the town established its museum there. Over its 243-year history, the large stone building has been a museum for almost as long as it has been a townhouse. A sumptuous setting for great masterpieces.

Two tour routes

Two tours offer unique visitor experiences. The first, “History and treasures of the Audomarois”, plunges you into the heart of 1400 years of history. The second, “A sumptuous collectors’ residence”, immerses you in the art of living in the 18th and 19th centuries, through reception rooms and cabinets of curiosities.

Crossing history

In five sections, the first tour tells you how Saint-Omer, one of Europe’s largest cities in the 13th century, developed, from its powerful religious establishments to its artistic, manufacturing and industrial productions. The instructive tour leads to the discovery of treasures such as the Thérouanne lapidary or precious goldsmith’s objects (such as the Croix de Clairmarais.

A rich selection of earthenware reminds us of the importance of this production in Saint-Omer and the region. You’ll also marvel at the collection of clay pipes, a local speciality, and the glass production of Arques. Finally, paintings and sculptures by Audomar artists such as Léon Belly, Jules Joëts, Coralie Ferey, or Marie-Madeleine Descelers round off the tour.


Discover a sumptuous residence

The second tour takes you on a journey through the art of living of the 18th and 19th centuries. You’ll find yourself in the heart of Countess Marie-Josèphe Sandelin’s reception rooms, furnished with extraordinary pieces in a refined atmosphere. Exceptional paintings and furnishings combine to tell the story of the art of dining, balls, concerts and games that must have made these magnificent wood-panelled walls resound with the sparkle of life and pleasure.

Diving into the cabinets of curiosities

Three collectors’ cabinets complete the discovery. And it’s a feast for the eyes and the senses. They plunge you into the world of collectors who were behind the birth of Sain-Omer’s museums, such as Albert Legrand and Henri Dupuis. A dense display, bold choices of wallpapers inspired by the motifs of the period: you’ll delight in the splendid ceramics with their soft blues, stuffed specimens, the opulence of Antwerp cabinets and the finesse of Chinese and Japanese prints and porcelain.