During your holiday in Baie de Somme, you should absolutely visit Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, 30 km from the campsite! This small medieval town is rich in history, and is also a charming fishing and sailing port in the Somme estuary. From William the Conqueror to Napoleon Bonaparte via Joan of Arc, Saint-Valery is closely linked to some of the great names who have made the history of France.
A medieval town brimming with charm and listed as one of the “Finest Detours in France"
If you like a medieval atmosphere, old stone, winding, cobbled streets and historical stories, then you will be delighted with your visit to this charming medieval town, which is so rich in history. The old town centre of Saint-Valery has a very fine architectural heritage: ramparts, towers and fortified gates, a castle, half-timbered houses from the 15th and 16th centuries, a church with two naves, etc. You can also enjoy a stroll along the quayside on the Baie de Somme. A fascinating excursion and a chance to travel back in time during your stay at the campsite!
Saint-Valery and the major figures of history!
In 800 A.D., Charlemagne visited Saint-Valery abbey and founded a shipyard nearby. At the same period came the “prophecy of Saint Valery”, promising Hugh the Great that his son, Hugh Capet, would reign over France. Later Hugh Capet brought back the relics of Saint Valery (the monk Gualaric), which were sold after the abbey was pillaged by the Vikings.
In the 11th century, William the Conqueror prepared for his invasion of England from the port of Saint-Valery. He won the Battle of Hastings, sealing the defeat of the English and the victory of the Normans.
During the First Crusade, the lord of Saint-Valery, Bernard II, was one of the first to join Godfrey of Bouillon and liberate the Holy Sepulchre and the Holy Land.
In 1431, Joan of Arc, a prisoner of the English, briefly passed through Saint-Valery. She was kept for a few hours in the "Porte Guillaume" tower before being taken to Rouen where she was burnt at the stake.
On 18 June 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte, who was then the Premier Consul, came to Saint-Valéry to inspect the coast. He returned in 1810 to follow the progress of work on the Somme canal. Twenty years later, Victor Hugo took inspiration from the port of Saint- Valery to write his poem "Océanon Nox".
At the end of the 19th century, Eugène Boudin, a precursor of Impressionism, visited Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme and painted 60 pictures during his stay. Edgar Degas also stayed here several times, and painted street scenes and landscapes of Saint-Valery and Baie de Somme.
On 20 April 1917, during the First World War, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), visited the British troops in Saint-Valery. In 1949, General de Gaulle paid a lengthy visit to St Valery.
Don’t miss in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme:
- The château, the vestiges of the ramparts and the Guillaume tower in the upper part of the town (12th century)
- Saint Martin’s parish church (13th century) with flint chequer-work patterns and limestone
- The rampart Herbarium, a small, magnificent botanic garden filled with colours and aromas
- The sailors’ district, "Le Courtgain" with its charming, highly colourful fishermen’s houses
- The Sailors’ Chapel with its ex-votos
- The Picarvie museum, a reconstructed Picardy village from the 19th century, introducing visitors to the traditional trades of yesteryear