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Running in Beauvais: in the heart of Oise

Located in the Hauts-de-France region, just a few kilometres north of the Paris Basin, Beauvais is particularly popular with tourists for its historical and architectural heritage. Awarded the "Ville d'art et d'histoire" (City of Art and History) label in 2012, Beauvais invites visitors to explore almost 2,000 years of history, from the ancient ramparts to the town hall and, of course, its exceptional cathedral. The JOOKS application will take you on a tour of the Oise prefecture, with audio guides provided by the city!

Place Jeanne Hachette

Beauvais was founded in the 1st century A.D. as a Roman camp known as Caesaromagus, "Caesar's market". It was later renamed Civitas Bellovacorum, the "city of the Bellovacs", which is the origin of its current name. However, it was during the Middle Ages that the town developed and experienced a major economic boom, thanks in particular to the textile industry. Craftsmen worked with all kinds of wool, and Beauvais cloth was exported as far afield as the Orient.

A city of history...

The famous Saint-Pierre de Beauvais cathedral was built in the 13th century, an unfinished masterpiece of Gothic art with the highest Gothic choir in the world (48.50 metres). While you're there, don't hesitate to push open the doors of the cathedral to admire the magnificent stained-glass windows and, above all, the splendid astronomical clock, created by Auguste-Lucien Vérité in the 19th century.

Saint-Pierre Cathedral

A little way from the historic town centre lies an almost unique example of medieval hospital architecture in France. The maladrerie Saint-Lazare is a former leper colony dating back to the 12th century, and is listed as a historic monument. Several buildings have been preserved and some are open to visitors, notably the barn, which has been magnificently restored.

While the First World War left the town's architectural heritage relatively unscathed, the Second World War did not. At the start of the conflict, Beauvais was bombed by German aircraft, causing a huge fire. 80% of the city centre was destroyed, and the town had lost almost all traces of its past. A reconstruction plan was launched in the aftermath, which attempted to integrate the preserved heritage while modernising the town.

As you run or walk through the centre of Beauvais, you can also admire the timber-framed and cob houses that still line some of the streets, having survived the German bombardments. The oldest of these houses dates back to 1410 and is now just a stone's throw from the cathedral, in the voie des Chasse-Marée.

…and art.

Housed in the former episcopal palace, residence of the bishop-counts of Beauvais, the MUDO-Musée de l'Oise was created in the mid-19th century. The architectural complex, listed as a historic monument, is made up of several buildings dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries. Of particular note is the impressive fortified entrance flanked by twin towers. The Musée départemental de l'Oise houses a varied collection, ranging from archaeological artefacts to the different trends in 19th-century painting. It also showcases the talents and skills of the department.

The Châtelet Towers, museum entrance

The most remarkable of these skills is undoubtedly tapestry, which made the town famous for several centuries. The manufactory's workshops were destroyed during the bombings of 1940, but after being transferred to Paris for a few years, they returned to Beauvais at the end of the 1980s. The factory reached its apogee in the 18th century. The quality of its production was equivalent to that of the Gobelins factory in Paris.

As a tribute to the Royal Tapestry Manufactory that Beauvais once was, the Galerie nationale de la Tapisserie was opened in 1976, on the initiative of André Malraux. Renamed the Quadrilatère in 2016, the gallery boasts a superb collection of tapestries, antique furniture and paintings.

Nature in Beauvais

The Canada lake

Built on the site of a former sand and gravel quarry, the Canada water park is an oasis of tranquillity and greenery. Covering an area of 45 hectares, the water sports centre offers a wide variety of sporting and leisure activities, including kayaking, pedal-boating, tree climbing, swimming and fishing. There are also over 3 kilometres of paths and tracks for walkers, runners and cyclists.

The Canada lake has been selected, along with three other sites in the city of Beauvais, as a preparation centre for the Paris Olympic Games as part of the "Terre de Jeux 2024" label. The water sports centre is more than qualified for outdoor sports and is also ideally located, just a few kilometres from the Jules Ladoumègue stadium and Aquaspace, as well as the future Olympic village.

Run, walk or ride with JOOKS, from Saint-Pierre Cathedral to the Musée de l'Oise!

Find all the routes in Beauvais and over 1,300 others on the JOOKS application.

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