Family trip – France’s Picardy region – part 2


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The Picardy region of France may not be on the must visit destinations for many travellers to France but perhaps it should be. Here you will experience a different style of French provincial living than some of the more obvious destinations in Provence or Brittany.

Chateau de Lucy is not far from the market town of St Quentin whose imposing basilica towers over the surrounding countryside – see pic taken from our car at speed! The basilica, dating from the 12th century, is a wonderful example of gothic architecture complete with flying buttresses. Inside the church is serenely beautiful with a soaring vaulted ceiling flanked by stained glass windows.

St Quentin from the road

Basilica St Quentin interior

A few steps from the basilica you can find the local market where we discovered the deliciously stinky rollot – a local raw cows milk soft cheese that is oozey and pungent in all the right ways.  The poulet roti (roast chicken) stall also served potatoes roasted in goose fat with lardons so that was lunch sorted. All for the reasonable price of around €15.


Later we travelled south towards Paris to Compiegne where we visited the delightful Palais de Compiegne. A former summer residence of the french kings, the château now reflects remodelling work completed in the mid 18th century by Ange-Jacques Gabriel who also designed Petit Trianon at Versailles.

The interior apartments are best described as opulent. They were restored to their former glory of the First and Second Empire furnishings when the palace was frequented by Napoleon and Napoleon III. The apartments are one of three museums on the site and you are also able to visit the château’s stunning gardens. If you enjoyed visiting  Versailles, the Palais de Compiegne is a smaller, more intimate version without the hordes of (other) tourists.

Joan of Arc statue Compiegne

Compiegne itself is a lovely town, easily accessible by rail or car from Paris. Other highlights include the town hall and square where there is a statue of Joan of Arc who was captured in Compiegne in 1430.

Hotel de Ville Compiegne

The last stop on our trip to Picardy was the Chateau de Pierrefonds. Napoleon III was very influential here also and the original castle built in the 14th century was almost completely remodelled  (but never completed) in the 19th century in the medieval style. The castle is recognisable from the television series Merlin where it is the setting for Camelot. I enjoyed the visit, especially the exhibition on medieval armour and costume though the castle itself is lacking the romance and history of châteaux in other regions of France.

Approach to Chateau Pierrefonds

Overall, it was a lovely weekend in a lesser known region of France. I almost forgot to mention the HUGE and incredibly delicious pain au raisin from the boulangerie near Chateau de Lucy that my husband is still talking about.. Vive la France and its pastry – you must seek this out if ever visiting Picardy.

You can read part one of our trip to Picardy here.

Rollot image credit –

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13 thoughts on “Family trip – France’s Picardy region – part 2

    • Katy says:

      Ahila, the rollot was so delicious. I keep thinking about that oozey cheese all the time! Thanks for stopping by

  1. Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says:

    You’re right that Picardie is overlooked for more glamorous parts of France but has some beautiful places to visit. I know the Baie de Somme and Laon a little though I can’t say well. I think it’s great that you went to France for a long weekend, it’s no crazier than going to Cornwall or Yorkshire, in fact a lot closer and easier driving!

  2. Mandy says:

    Up until this post, I had never heard of Picardy. It looks beautiful and like a must-see place in France. Thank you for sharing all about your trip! 🙂

  3. Cathy (MummyTravels) says:

    What a great introduction to Picardy – I’ve read about some of the French history, but despite the fact it’s one of the closest parts to the UK, I don’t think I’ve ever been. I’m not sure why we all shoot through to Paris or Belgium or stick to the rest of the coast. Still, that means fewer crowds to share it all with (including those pastries – I don’t mind leaving the cheese!) Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  4. Trish @ Mum's Gone To says:

    I think we’ve skirted around or driven through Picardy on trips to other parts of France but just looking at a map I can see it has some great places worth a visit.
    I would drive that distance for a huge pain au raisin any day!

    • Katy says:

      Ah Trish. My hubby has not stopped talking about that pastry and is wondering whether we can do a detour back to the village on our way to Switzerland later in the year. Thanks for stopping by

    • Katy says:

      I’m still thinking about that cheese 2 years later! We were put onto it by a lady in the marketplace who took a shine to our twins. Best tip ever!

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