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Compiègne is a city in France, which is a little town of southern Picardy, in the east of the Oise department. Oise is also the name of the river that flows through the town. The population is about 70.000 including the small suburbs. The activity of the city is all around local industries and the UTC (Université de Technologie de Compiègne) engineering school and its research center. There are also lots of horse activities like races or jumping, with national and international contests. The forest of Compiègne, all around the east and the south of the city, is the third biggest in France.
Presentation of the City
Compiègne is closely linked to the history of France from its very beginning. That makes that place especially interesting if you like lovely old buildings, monuments, history and all that stuff. Examples : three Kings of France were crowned here during the 9th and 10th centuries, Jeanne d'Arc were caught by the English in Compiègne, many kings and emperors of France have lived here at a time or another, the 1918 armistice finishing WW I were signed just next to Compiègne.
Since 1968, Compiègne is the starting place of the «Paris-Roubaix», which is the most famous French bicycle race after the Tour de France.
How to get there
It takes 45 minutes by train from the Paris Gare du Nord station which is clearly the best and cheapest way to come if you don't have a car. The Compiègne train station is just next the downtown, 5 minutes from the town hall and 10 minutes from the University.
The Paris “Charles de Gaulle” airport is 40 minutes driving away, as well as the Beauvais airport (for low-cost flights).
Compiègne has a FREE bus system. It's all free every day but sunday (but you should be sleeping :) ), all the year. It's pretty efficient if you don't look to close at the time schedule. Look at the city map on each bus stop to know which bus you should take. The buses are easily recognizable : blue with the big “TUC” letters written on them. Nonetheless, if you just move between the train station, the Castle and the University (high probability), I suggest you prefer walking as that area is small and not very traffic friendly.
What to do/see
There are many lovely monuments in Compiègne and around. First of all, see the town hall in which you'll find the tourism office. The two gothic churches St Antoine and St Jacques can be visited. Have a look on the Palace (Palais), also called Castle (Château) and its gardens that open to the « allée des Beaux Monts » (Beaux Monts Path), a several kilometers grass straight path through the forest. There are also various museums and interesting streets, ask the tourism office.
If you can move around Compiègne, see the village of Pierrefond with it's castle which seems to come straight from a fairy tale. You can also visit the 1918 armistice museum of Rethondes. The villages and the bike road in the forest are also very nice. The forest itself is really beautiful and worths a walk. It's all good for mountain bikes, horses, walking, running or mushroom harvesting (please be cautious to avoid any “definitive” mistake).
There are several Couch Surfer living in Compiègne or near, but at the moment no group is active and there are no monthly meeting to organize CS life. By the way, you should find easily a couch if you contact people early enough.
Coffee or a drink
To reach the Internet : there is a Cybercoffee in the city down town, 1 minute walking from the town hall. It is called «L'Evasion». The address is 5 rue Saint Martin. If it's closed and you really need to connect to reach your local CS contact, try to catch a nice student at the University (huge dark gray ugly building of concrete, you can't miss it) and ask him/her to use the web with his account on the university network. It's not 100 percent guarantee but it has already been used successfully by a CSer.
To drink to best beers : if you like Belgian beers and want to spend the evening in a very nice wooden bar with cool music an cool people, I recommend « Au Cervoisier », 23 cours Guynemer.
For food : you'll find loads of kebab take away shops, supermarkets (there are two near the town hall), and many nice restaurants. If you have a bit of money (20-30€/person), I suggest « Le Bouchon », 4 rue d'Austerlitz. Nice room, nice French food, great wines, a funny owner who often makes the show with his jokes and the menu is available in English.
In case of Emergency
- Police Station:
- Health Urgency:
- Fireman Station:
- Emergency Doctor:
Many Thanks to Julien Lefebvre to have helped to contribute to this page.