Senlis is a commune in the Oise department, Picardie. It’s situated 40 kilometers from the north of Paris and 10 kilometers from Chantilly (25 minutes by bus) and has a population of nearly 16,000 people.
Senlis is known from the antique times (7th century B.C.) by the name of Augustomagus and then Civitas Silvanectium (“City of the Silvanectes”, a Gaullic tribe). Something very important happened there In 987 Hugh Capet was elected King of France in Senlis. Hugh Capet is considered the first true King of France. That’s how Senlis became a royal city with a royal castle and remained so until the reign of Charles X.
The main attractions of Senlis are:
- The Senlis Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims – a Roman Catholic Gothic church, the third Gothic building in history (first two: Abbey of St Denis in Paris, the Cathedral of Noyon). It was built between 1153 and 1191. The vaulting was reconstructed in 1504.
- The ruins of the Royal Castle – built by Louis VI the Fat around 1130.
- Hôtel de Ville de Senlis with a plaque in honor of the loyalty of King Henry IV.
- The former St. Vincent Abbey was founded in 1065 by Queen Anne of Kiev (wife of King Henri I). After the French Revolution, the abbey became an institute for the Knights of Saint-Louis. Nowadays St. Vincent Abbey is a part of the Lycée Saint-Vincent.
- The Museum of Art and Archeology holds a large archaeological collection (Gallo-Roman: bronze base of a statue engraved with a dedication to Emperor Claudius, 1st century: an exceptional series of votive offerings, Merovingian and Middle Ages), 17th – 19th century paintings. Former Episcopal palace.
- The Hunting Museum focused on the history of hunting from the 15th century to the present time.
- The Spahis Museum – dedicated to the North African cavalry, a part of the French army in 1800-1814 and 1830-1964.
Old streets, secret doors, flowers on the windowsills, wild apple garden and some furry owners of a charity shop.
Blinded by the ancient beauty I took way more pictures than I’ve planned… so stay tuned for the second part!