Jean-Luc Montois, a heritage enthusiast

I imagine my story here!
©consul2|Tourisme en Pays de Saint-Omer

Jean-Luc Montois is Honorary Consul of Sweden in Lille. When it came to choosing a town in the region to settle in, he didn’t hesitate: he bought a centuries-old building next to the cathedral, to take advantage of Saint-Omer’s heritage, modernity and dynamism.

Native of Lille

“Born in Lille, I passed through Saint-Omer every weekend as a child on my way to the coast, but never stopped because my father was always in a hurry to go boating. I used to dream of visiting the cathedral…”, recounts Jean-Luc Montois. Decades later, his dream has come true, only better: he’s set up shop just a few meters from the religious edifice.

The beauty of Saint-Omer

“I rediscovered Saint-Omer 3 years ago and was struck by the beauty of the town: an exceptional center, with many historic buildings, modernized urban planning…”.

An accessible heritage

This enabled him to acquire a house whose oldest structures date back to the 11th century, and completely restore it. Jean-Luc Montois then discovered life in Saint-Omer on a daily basis and completely fell under its spell. “What city allows you to go from one of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals to a contemporary show, all within a 5-minute bike ride of a nature reserve?”.

The consul likes to take his visitors bird-watching in the Romelaëre. He also appreciates the rich and diverse cultural offering. “I’ve never been out as much as I have since I’ve been living in Saint-Omer,” he confides.

The Cathedral Palace

As for the generosity of the people of the North, “it’s found in this human-sized city”. Jean-Luc Montois is still amazed by the help he spontaneously received from the locals. “I broke my arm. I was visited in hospital by people I didn’t know 3 months before, who said ‘we’re not going to let you down’. They came to the site to finish the work I’d started on the house!”

Because there was work to be done.The consul redid everything in the house. He brought in his collections of antique furniture and paintings, giving the building back all its soul. Today, he wants to open it up to visitors and host exhibitions. “To exchange with the people who, here, take the time to talk to each other.”


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