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Appointments with the Countess Sandelin

Every season, step back in time in the company of Countess Marie-Josèphe Sandelin, who welcomes you to her superb private mansion to present the art of 18th-century living. The splendor of the decor and furnishings come to life under the aegis of the mistress of the house. From the arts of the table to entertainment, capture all the delicacy and refinement of the French way of life in the Age of Enlightenment.

An 18th-century mansion in French style

In 1773, Pierre Sandelin, Comte de Fruges, purchased the former Hôtel du Gouverneur de Saint-Omer. The old hotel had fallen into disrepair, and it was decided to demolish it and rebuild a new residence in its place. But Pierre Sandelin died in 1776, so it was his wife, Marie-Josèphe, who brought the project to fruition. The mansion follows the French model of the hotel “between courtyard and garden”. Since 1955, the building has been listed as a Monument Historique because of the rarity, exemplarity and integrity of the premises. It is one of the finest examples of 18th-century civil architecture in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.

The history of good manners

The Countess will tell you about everyday life in her time: work, prayer, hygiene, leisure, food and more. Beware of preconceived ideas, the answers to your questions will sometimes surprise you! She’ll also tell you about her life in Saint-Omer, a bustling town marked by a strong religious presence and significant economic activity.

Within her home, follow the Countess into the dining room, the music and games salon and the ballroom. She’ll tell you just how good she was at entertaining! She was able to offer splendid meals and possessed an abundance of crockery: hundreds of earthenware plates, dozens of coolers, porcelain cups, crystal glasses and more. Her cellar was well-stocked with wines from Burgundy, the Loire, Bordeaux and Madeira. It also boasted around a hundred chairs, fifty armchairs, as many bergères and nineteen gaming tables, enough to accommodate a large number of guests. What did people play at in the 18th century? How was a table set? What was the purpose of a mouchette? How were balls held? Come and meet Countess Sandelin to find out!

Sandelin MuseumSandelin Museum in Saint Omer in 2022
©Sandelin Museum in Saint Omer in 2022

“A museum, to be truly open to all, must be built in the heart of the city.”

Le Corbusier, Figaro littéraire. 28.09.1965