Coffee Mill - Interior 2019 - Saint-Omer (3)Coffee Mill - Interior 2019 - Saint-Omer (3)
©Interior of the Saint-Omer Coffee Mill|Jessy Hochart - Tourisme en Pays de Saint-Omer
Attend a show

In an Italian-style theater

At Saint-Omer, there’s a unique and wonderful Italian-style theater that all the Audomarois are in love with.Thanks to compagnie la Barcarolle, I’m taking you to one of the most beautiful places in the Pas-de-Calais. Let the show begin!

The coffee grinder

Here I am in Place Foch, in front of the imposing “coffee mill”, as Saint-Omer’s former town hall is known here. Apparently, underneath this clocheton, there’s a little gem. An Italian-style theater such as exists only in Douai today, says the tourist office guide, who will take you behind the scenes of this monument that has cradled the lives of the people of Audomar since 1841.

Theater Renaissance

What an extraordinary building! It owes its strange cubic configuration to architect Pierre-Bernard Lefranc. Built on the former alderman’s hall, it has served several functions: mayor’s office, library, first museum and theater. After decades of performances interspersed by wars, the latter closed its doors to the public for good in 1973. It reopens in 2019, completely renovated.

A meeting place

In the main hall, families enjoy the games area, students from the Conservatoire who have come to rehearse read, spectators drink a local beer or soup at the bar while waiting for their performance, others enjoy the temporary exhibition in the foyer room upstairs.

I take my seats for the evening’s musical tale before taking the majestic staircase that leads up to the theater, located in the heart of the town hall. A highly symbolic location.

Théâtre des Merveilles

Flute notes escape from the corridors… I open the door and there what emotion. The theater is revealed in red and gold with the great chandelier shining brightly in the center of the painted ceiling. Stuccoes, paintings, sconces and tapestries with a three-bee motif: these restored 1903 sets are splendid.

53 tradesmen have given this showcase a new lease of life to adapt it to contemporary stage requirements. Why is the hall on a slope? What is a balcony or a chicken coop? Learn all about it during the tour.


We emerge to discover the modern dressing rooms where artists such as Richard Galliano, Robin Renucci and Zabou Breitman have come to perform. Kitchen, rest room and laundry room with a seamstress on hand, here the stars are pampered. And here’s the backstage area! The theater’s ancient machinery has been restored, and it’s unique in France.

I discover with emotion the sliding sets that make up the very soul of an Italian theater and the prompter’s dressing room. The Salle des Deux colonnes, the Salle du Foyer with its huge paintings, a municipal office and the Salle des Blasons with its listed furniture:the 4,000 m2 of space at the Hôtel de Ville holds many surprises.

Live shows

The bell rings and it’s time to get back to our seats.Every year, an average of 30,000 spectators enjoy the programming of La Barcarolle, scène conventionnée musique et danse, which brings the venue to life.

Spectacles, artist residencies, rentals, masterclasses for the CAPSO Conservatory: here at the Moulin à Café and in the Salle Balavoine, there’s always something going on… But shhh… the curtain opens… make way for the artists!



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