Motte Castrale - Saint-Omer (23)Motte Castrale - Saint-Omer (23)
©Castral mound of Saint-Omer|Philippe Hudelle - Tourisme en Pays de Saint-Omer

10 must-see monuments in Saint-Omer's historic center

If you love heritage, history and walking, you’ll love this 10-stop guided tour of the heart of Saint-Omer. On the program: the cathedral, the Jesuit chapel, the theater and the library. In short, a compendium of wonders and historic monuments.

Entering a masterpiece

Notre-Dame Cathedral

The cathedral’s high tower dominates the canons’ quarter. Past the immense portal of the Last Judgement, under the vaults of the nave, you’ll get the full measure of this gigantic Gothic stone vessel, collegiate church then cathedral since the 16th century. An astrolabe clock, a Cavaillé-Coll organ, a Descente de Croix by Rubens and so many other treasures: this is a museum in its own right.

Shiver in a medieval prison

The motte castrale

The motte castrale protected the cathedral (the panorama is magnificent) and still houses aformer military prison dating from 1762, which can be visited! You’ll shudder at the cells, heavy doors, locks and chain rings. It’s one of the few houses of detention from this era. It has been preserved andconverted, upstairs, into an artists’ residence.

Fun in a cult venue

The Jesuit Chapel

The immense façade of the Jesuit Chapel will surprise you, so imposing is it. Built between 1615 and 1640, it testifies to Saint-Omer’s religious and teaching position in the 17th century. Left fallow for a long time, it was restored in 2016 to become an atypical cultural space. Here, you can enjoy a concert, visit a salon, see an exhibition or just admire this unique architecture in the Hauts-de-France region.

Reading like at Hogwarts

The Agglomeration Library

Next to the chapel, the buildings of the former Jesuit college house the bibliothèque d’Agglomération de Saint-Omer. An extraordinary place to read, attend an event and see one of the city’s most beautiful secret places: a room adorned with the woodwork of the former scriptorium of the Saint-Bertin abbey. 50,000 antique books, and 1,000 unique items: enough to hold even a Dumbledore.

Feel like going back to school

Jesuit College

Behind the prestigious walls of this former English Jesuit College, built in the 17th century, some illustrious figures from history studied! Like Daniel Caroll, one of the signers of the US Constitution. This imposing building is still a place of learning: it’s the Lycée Ribot. It bears witness to Saint-Omer’s importance in education in the 17thth and 18thth centuries.

Imagining the foundation of Saint-Omer

The remains of Saint-Bertin Abbey

The Abbaye Saint-Bertin, in the heart of the town, was once one of the finest Gothic buildings in northern France. Huge sections of stone bear witness to the scale of this abbey site, destroyed during the Revolution. A small part of its furnishings can be seen in the Musée Sandelin. Landscaped areas make it an attractive place to stroll, in what was once the city’s cradle.

Admire an Italian-style theater

The Coffee Mill

It has been affectionately nicknamed “the Coffee Mill” because of its cubic architecture and that little dome, beneath which hides a magnificent Italian-style theater. The former town hall, on Place du Maréchal Foch, was completely renovated in 2018. Here you can attend a play, take away some street-food and store in the boutiques on the ground floor.

Take a breath of art

The Sandelin Museum

Nestled in a 18th century mansion, the Musée Sandelin has the air of a small jewel box. Its Monuments Historiques listed facades house rich collections, reflecting local history and Audomar collectors. The museum has just been completely renovated. The perfect place to take in the art, between courtyard and garden.

Stop by the Station

Saint-Omer railway station

The century-old Saint-Omer train station, just 5 minutes from the town center, looks like a small 18th-century château. Listed as a historical monument, it has been transformed into an astonishing “tiers-lieu”. We still take the train here, but we also come to co-work,create in a Fab-Lab and even look at works of art thanks tothe Micro-Folie, a digital museum. A ticket for multiple journeys!

Walking between nature and ramparts

The public garden

You won’t leave Saint-Omer without stopping by the public garden! The town’s green lung was born on the former Spanish fortifications, revised by Vauban. Classified since 1932, it will delight botanists with its remarkable trees, families with itsanimal park, and lovers with its kiosk and romantic gardens! All in the wild and atypical setting of the former fortifications.


autres tops

du pays

de Saint-Omer