Step into the colourful history of a remarkable palace
Palais de la Cathédrale is an impressive 18th-century mansion in the shadow of Saint-Omer’s imposing gothic Notre Dame des Miracles Cathedral.
It’s a French museum with a difference. Every room has been lovingly restored and filled with artwork and antique furniture that give an insight into the building’s intriguing past.
Get up close to the most impressive collection of artwork and antiques in Saint-Omer. As you soak in the visual delights, you’ll be treated to fascinating tales of diplomats, monks, Templars and Masons, tales which stretch back to the 10th century.
History lovers of all ages will enjoy the experience
Anyone who wants to discover more about the real history of Pas-de-Calais will love Palais de Cathédrale.
Children and adults alike will be enthralled by the animated stories brought to life by the convivial owner Jean Luc.
Equally, lovers of French art, antiquities and curiosities will cherish the opportunity to get close to unique pieces on display in this living French museum.
You’ll be welcomed like a long-lost friend
The impressive façade of Palais de la Cathédrale gives you a taster of the grandeur hidden inside. You’ll be greeted at the door by Jean Luc Montois, who has dedicated his life to the restoration of the Palais.
Here you are not so much a visitor but rather a long-lost friend. Jean Luc is a convivial host whose passion is infectious.
Hear stories of the palace’s colourful past
If you want a culture trip with a difference, you’ll find it here. History of this impressive palace is evident from the moment you set foot in the stunning marbled entrance hall.
Make sure you take time to look down. The black star inlaid in the marbled stonework under your feet is the symbol of the Grand Master of the Templars – a Catholic military force founded during the crusades in the Middle Ages.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the Rose Croix or Red Cross, an emblem of one of the oldest orders of Free Masons. The history of the Templars and the Masons is shrouded in mystery, and you’ll be gripped as Jean Luc reveals their connection to Saint-Omer on your visit.
In the small, cloistered garden, you’ll also find imprints on the wall which date back to the 11th or 12th century. These give a clue to the building’s monastic past when monks from the neighbouring cathedral lived here.
The most impressive collection of art in Saint-Omer
While other French museums keep their treasures in boxes or behind glass, here you can get up close to the artefacts and experience the history they hold.
The collection of artworks is outstanding, and you’ll be hard-pushed to find a more impressive collection in Sant-Omer. Virtually every centimetre of wall has been filled with artistic delights. Many have been bought at auction and painstakingly returned to their original glory.
French antiques and artefacts from across the centuries
Each room evokes its own charm and depicts the house as it would have been at different points in time.
Take ‘Aunt Sophie’s Room’ on the first floor. The stunning furniture is by Axel Einar Hjort – the Swedish designer renowned for his Art Deco and Modernist aesthetics.
For those with a fascination for horology, keep an eye out for 12 unique clocks throughout the house. The vast collection is in impeccable working order.
It includes clocks by Jean-André Lepaute, the famed French clockmaker from the mid-18th century, and Julien Le Roy, a clockmaker of kings.
Experience this living museum your way
Join animated guided tours
Join your host Jean Luc for an intimate tour lasting one hour and 30 minutes. He’ll guide you through the impressive collection of artworks and explore the building’s colourful past.
Relax in peace and quiet
This is a unique tourist attraction where you can also gain exclusive access to the ground floor during ‘relaxation hour’ and absorb the incredible collection at your leisure.
Coffee and tea are on tap as you take in the impressive collection of art or lose yourself in a book from the Palais’ extensive library.
Hold a memorable event
If you are looking for a truly unique venue for a special occasion or weekend birthday celebration, the palace will ensure you have an experience like no other.
Bring your friends and family to enjoy a birthday reception with cake and coffee, or enjoy candle-lit private dining with all the panache of the French Renaissance. With antique porcelain, exclusive silverware and crystal goblets, you can dine like Marie Antoinette.
Experience stunning events
Look out for special events too. The stunning building provides an impressive backdrop for a wide range of musical and theatrical performances.
Places to visit…
Explore the historical landmarks of Saint-Omer with its gothic cathedral and stunning Jardin Public de Saint-Omer. Get lost in the network of alleyways hiding some of the very best restaurants in the region and browse around the delightful farmers’ markets.
Plan your visit Palais de la Cathédrale
Palais de la Cathédrale is open every day at 4.00 pm, except Thursday and Sunday. Guided tours last one hour and 30 minutes. Relaxation Hour is held from 1.45 pm to 4.30 pm or from 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
Advance booking is required, so check the website for further details or visit the Tourist office in Saint-Omer. Tickets for the guided tour and Relaxation Hour cost just €8. Private dining experiences start at €25 per person.
Find out more about the region and book your stay.View website