Cheap Middle Ages castles exploration

We wanted to have a nice tour in an area we never went.

We did not know the North-East part of France, less than 100km far from Paris.

Thus I tried to organize a week-end there by selecting two major cities and some points of interest close to them. I noticed few nice castles or ruins. Some of them had the very good point to have free entrance.

Moreover I chose a cheap and nice hotel in the city of Soissons that’s why our trip was quite cheap.

The main touch of this short road trip is about discovering and exploring old castles or even more : ruins.

We really appreciated exploring these monuments, some of them partially abandonned. That was quite tremendous.

 

Queriamos darnos una vuelta por una comarca Francesa que nunca habiamos visitado. Aunque esta ubicado a menos de 100km desde Paris, no conocimos la parte del Norte-Este de Francia.
Así trate de organizar un fin de semana por allá, eligiendo dos ciudades importantes como unos otros lugares que merecen la pena. Así descubrí unos castillos mas o menos en ruinas pero lindos y, por unos, de entrada gratis.
Adémas elegi un buen hotel barato por la ciudad de Soissons.
En total nos dimos una vuelta barata y muy linda.
Pronto encontrarán mi texto en castellano…

 

Compiègne

I spoke about Middle-Ages castles, but I propose you starting by a more recent one, the Compiègne’s Palace where Napoleon stayed a while.
It’s a very beautiful castle with an amazing park. Moreover the city is worth to have a walk.

The palace has mostly the “Second Empire” touch, given by the two Napoleons (Napoleon 1st and III). And you can visit reconstituted imperial apartments. They are splendid and really give you the feeling living at these ages.

 

What is more is that the Palace held an other museum, dedicated to very ancient cars and vehicles.

Moreover, very close to the palace, you could discover a huge park where to have a walk.

Practical information :

Entrance : 7,5 euros / adult

Compiègne is 1h driving from Paris, 45mins from CDG airport by A1 motorway.
You’ll find some free car park places along the Oise river, on cours Guynemer, the city center is just less than 10min walk from the car park.

Compiegne

Surrounds of Compiegne

Palais Compiegne

Palais Compiegne

Palais Compiegne

Palais Compiegne

Palais Compiegne

Palais Compiegne

Palais Compiegne Napoleon

Palais Compiegne Napoleon

Palais Compiegne Napoleon

Palais Compiegne Napoleon

Palais Compiegne Napoleon

Palais Compiegne Napoleon

 

Coucy-le-château

After this parenthesis let’s go to the Middle Ages and start the explorations.

Close to the city of Soissons, you’ll find wonderful Middle-Ages ruins of a very nice castle : Coucy-le-château.
Its story is sad : as it was a wonderful castle, it had been destroyed, then rebuilt during XIX century by a French architect Violley-le-Duc. Then, at the First World War, occupied by Germans troops, and destroyed by themselves once they had to quit it.
That is a pity, for sure; but the good point now is that it gives the opportunity to explore its ruins and feel the visit as a little exciting adventure.
Hidden undergrounds, rests of towers, cellars … you’ll have fun to discover this place.

Practical information :

Entrance : 6€/adult

Leaving the city do not forget having a look on a special house, a former train station (49.515715, 3.321335).

Coucy le chateau

Coucy le chateau

Coucy le chateau

Coucy le chateau

Coucy le chateau

Coucy le chateau

Coucy le Chateau

Coucy le Chateau

Coucy ancienne gare

Coucy ancienne gare

Soissons

Soissons has a nice and quite city centre. Here you’ll find a little supermarket to resupply, even more if you are in motorhome.

A free car park is close to the cathedral, from there you can walk until the dismantled abbey (10min by walk). It’s a very impressive place.

We advice you to discover this former abbey place and walk among its ruins.

Soissons

Soissons

Soissons abbey

Soissons abbey

Soissons

Soissons

Soissons cathedrale

Soissons cathedrale

Soissons

Soissons

Septmonts

This small village is maybe the most impressive discovery of our trip.
Its center is very nice and gets a “bar-tabac” where you could take a coffee, drink something.
The church is pretty nice, but the most important monument is its dungeon. An amazing, impressive and very well preserved dungeon in free access. Just let push the door and enter for an nice and free discovery. The 160 steps will lead you to rooms, corridors, or terraces until the top, each time with an amazing view on the surrounders.

Practical information :

Openings :

  • 7/7 from 2 of Mai until 30 of September
  • week-ends the rest of the year
  • until 19h from 31 of March to 30 of September
  • until 17h30 the rest of the year
Septmonts

Septmonts

Septmonts

Septmonts

Septmonts donjon

Septmonts donjon

Fere-en-Tardenois

In Fere-en-Tardenois you will also have the opportunity to discover free entrance ruins. There are few things to discover as most of the old castle had been protected from visits. Nevertheless it it worth the visit.
The village has some restaurants and some points of interest.

Fere en Tardenois

Fere en Tardenois

Practical information :

Please follow official road signs and not the panel of the nearest hotel.

 

Where to eat ?

We first had lunch at Compiègne, on the place de l’hôtel de Ville, where you can find many cafes, restaurants.

This trip goes by many villages, each of them has a “brasserie” o “tabac”. It’s a place where you can take a coffee, drink something, bet or buy loto tickets, but also buy cigarettes, and often have a lunch.

Blérancourt

Blérancourt

is the most important village on the way I draw between Compiègne and Soissons, but you’ll find also such a place in Cuts, close to the City council house.

Once in Soissons, we chose to buy some sandwiches in the little supermarket on the city centre.

 

Where to sleep ?

We chose the Ibis hotel in Soissons. At this time the rooms were cheap (55euros the night). Its bad point is that it is quite far from city centre and does not have a restaurant.
Whatever, or you can ask for some quick lunch at the reception desk (they will heat some delicious preparation), or you can go to the neighboring hotel (Campanile). By car you’ll find closer other restaurants on the opposite side of the roundabout.

hotel Ibis Soissons

hotel Ibis Soissons

 

More information

Here you can find the map of our trip. Do not hesitate to get inspired by it :

As I live close to the Paris-Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport I started and finished my trip there.
If you have to take a plane from the airport, such a two days trip with a rental car could be a very nice opportunity to give you magical moments in France before leaving.

If you stay in Paris, the A1 motorway leads directly to the zone, and then you can start the trip.

France road trip travel

France road trip travel

Internet Links

http://www.oisetourisme.com/le-palais-de-compiegne 

http://www.chateau-coucy.fr/en/ 

http://www.jaimelaisne.com/fiche/detail/1589 

 

 

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InspireMyTrips-Eric

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