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Audomarois: five ideas for visits, discovering heritage close to home

Until the end of June, the land of art and history offers thematic outings. There were discovery workshops for young audiences, but there are still the essentials and the discovery of heritage close to home. It’s free, or paying, on foot, by bike, by bus according to the proposals.

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The public garden in Saint-Omer and its bandstand.
The public garden in Saint-Omer and its bandstand. – VDN

The public garden in Saint-Omer

The establishment of the public garden began with François-Ernest Guinoiseau in 1893, ending with Étienne Peulabeuf five years later. It is a fabulous place, a place for walking with different paintings, very popular with Audomarois, built on the old fortifications. They like to sit on the edge of the fountain in the French garden or around the bandstand. Its floral mosaics are delicate, children love to sit on the rustic bridge to admire the waterfall and the ducks frolicking in the pond. This majestic garden will reveal some of its secrets to you. May 14, 21 and 28 at 4:30 p.m. and June 4, 11, 18, 25 at 6 p.m.

The Balavoine hall, in Arques, built for dancing.
The Balavoine hall, in Arques, built for dancing. – VDN

The Balavoine room in Arques

Have you ever noticed that the architecture of the Salle Balavoine looks like an upside-down half-hull of a boat? A reference to the marine environment accentuated by the blue cladding and the portholes which make it a cruise ship. The elected officials called it a sports hall to dredge up subsidies. Born at the end of the last century, it was first used as a space dedicated to dance. Today it is a multicultural space hosting concerts, theatre, exhibitions, stages dedicated to humor and school shows. Come and discover behind the scenes and the original history of this building built at the foot of the water tower of Arques. June 15 at 2:30 p.m.

The Jacques-Anquetil velodrome dates back to the end of the 19th century.
The Jacques-Anquetil velodrome dates back to the end of the 19th century. – VDN

The velodrome, in Saint-Omer

The history of the Jacques-Anquetil velodrome dates back to the end of the 19th century. In 1884, the rise of the velocipede led to the creation of the Véloce club audomarois. At the time, the races were very popular, the crowds came in large numbers. In 1896, the leaders obtained from François Ringot, who then administered the city, to build an enclosure dedicated to cycling. They will develop the velodrome, first in beaten earth, then in gravel and cement (in 1907) on the old fortifications, along the street which leads to Longuenesse. The inauguration is thwarted by the rain, the music of the Eighth Line cannot play. It is postponed to the next day, race day, without any ribbon being cut. Visit May 28 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The castle motte, symbol of seigniorial power whose cellars are magnificent.
The castle motte, symbol of seigniorial power whose cellars are magnificent. – VDN

The historic center, in Saint-Omer

A religious and commercial power in the Middle Ages, Saint-Omer has retained many traces of this prestigious past. The Sandelin Museum houses many masterpieces from this period. This guided tour offers you to leave from this place to walk through the historic center. Your steps will take you to where the aldermen’s hall stood, a high place of decision-making. The cathedral is a must, its furniture is remarkably well preserved. End of the journey through time at the motte castrale, symbol of seigniorial power whose cellars are magnificent and which offers a remarkable view of the city. May 14 at 10:30 a.m.

The Chartreux farm in Longuenesse.
The Chartreux farm in Longuenesse. – VDN

The agricultural heritage

If the industry of the Audomaroise region is a big consumer of agricultural land, there are still many farms which, without having the importance of formerly, contribute to supplying the agro-food factories as well as the most modest markets. Many farmhouses have been rejuvenated, losing their original purpose. But there are still some throughout the countryside, of these magnificent farms in red tiles closed by a porch, flanked by a dovecote. An agricultural heritage which makes the charm of the south of the country of Art and history and which can be visited by bus. June 26, 2 p.m.

Information at the Saint-Omer tourist and convention office: 03 21 98 08 51.

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