Each summer on the way back from the south of France we tend to stop at different towns on route and explore somewhere new.
This year we wanted to locate the war grave of a great uncle so we travelled a little further north than usual and stopped off in the town of Saint Quentin, located in the Aisne department in Picardy.
First of all can we recommend the Hotel Memorial (www.hotel-memorial.com), perfect for an overnight stop. Very reasonably priced rooms, including family suites and it can also accommodate dogs. Parking in a quiet courtyard is also available with no height restrictions (fortunately as we had our bikes on the roof). The ladies that run the place are kind and courteous and the breakfast, although a tad expensive, is value for money if you the time to appreciate it all.
I’ll stop now or you’ll think you’re on Trip Advisor.
Start your visit by walking across to the ‘Place Hotel de Ville’, a beautiful central square where you’ll find the town hall with its stunning gothic facade decorated with 173 sculptures inspired by the daily life of Saint-Quentin.
Saint Quentin itself has a remarkably eclectic style of architecture – also in the square is the ‘Theatre Jean-Vilar’ which was built in the middle of the 19th century with a neo-classic façade and just behind here you’ll ‘La Basilique’, a stunning cathedral dating back to the thirteenth century.
There are plenty of eateries in and around the main square, mostly serving traditional French bistro food, and an array of your typical French town centre shops.
Places to visit include the Antoine Lecuyer museum where you can discover the works Maurice Quentin de la Tour (1704-1788), an internationally renowned pastel artist, and the ‘Musee de Papillons”, where you can find a priceless collection of exotic butterflies.
If you need to walk the dog, head over to the ‘Parc des Champ Elysees’ and wander amongst the Sunday morning petanque tournaments.
The cemetery we visited was in Trescault, just north of Saint Quentin, where we were pleased to discover Great Uncle Sam Bouston, sadly having died on the battlefields of WW1 at the age of 21. Rest in peace, Sam.
Where are your favourite places for a stopover?