French commune
Beauvais Cathedral
département=Oise ("préfecture")
canton=Chief town of 3 cantons
(9 communes, 61,734 inhabitants)|insee=60057
maire=Caroline Cayeux
du Beauvaisis

alt moy=67 m
alt mini=57 m
alt maxi=170 m

Beauvais is a town and commune of northern France, "préfecture" (capital) of the Oise "département". Population (1999): city: 57,355 ("beauvaisiens"); city and suburbs: 59,003; urban area (in French: "aire urbaine"): 100,733. It lies about 90 km north of Paris.


Beauvais was known to the Romans as "Bratuspantium" (gaulish name) "Caesaromagus" (gallo-roman name)(though the post-Renaissance Latin rendering is "Bellovacum", after the name of the Celtic tribe.) and took its present name from the Belgic tribe of the Bellovaci, whose capital it was. In the ninth century it became a countship, which about 1013 passed to the bishops of Beauvais, who became peers of France from the twelfth century. At the coronations of kings the Bishop of Beauvais wore the royal mantle and went, with the Bishop of Langres, to raise the king from his throne to present him to the people.

In 1346 the town had to defend itself against the English, who again besieged it in 1433. The siege which it suffered in 1472 at the hands of the duke of Burgundy was rendered famous by the heroism of the women, under the leadership of Jeanne Hachette, whose memory is still celebrated by a procession on the 14th of October (the feast of Sainte Angadrême), in which the women take precedence of the men.

An interesting hoard of coins is known as the “Beauvais” hoard because some of the European coins found in the hoard are from the French abbey located in Beauvais. [ Coin Hoard Article]


Beauvais lies at the foot of wooded hills on the left bank of the Thérain at its confluence with the Avelon. Its ancient ramparts have been destroyed, and it is now surrounded by boulevards, outside which run branches of the Thérain. In addition, there are spacious promenades in the north-east of the town.

Beauvais Cathedral

Its cathedral, dedicated to Saint Peter ("Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais"), in some respects the most daring achievement of Gothic architecture, consists only of a transept and quire with apse and seven apse-chapels. The vaulting in the interior exceeds convert|150|ft|m|abbr=on. in height.

The small Romanesque church of the tenth century known as the "Basse Oeuvre" occupies the site destined for the nave. Begun in 1247, under Bishop William of Grès (Guillaume de Grès, Guillaume de Grez), an extra convert|16|ft|m were added to the height, to make it the tallest cathedral in Europe: the work was interrupted in 1284 by the collapse of the vaulting of the choir, a disaster that produced a temporary failure of nerve among the masons working in Gothic style. In 1573 the fall of a too-ambitious central tower stopped work again, after which little addition was made. The transept was built from 1500 to 1548.

Its "façades," especially that on the south, exhibit all the richness of the late Gothic style. The carved wooden doors of both the north and the south portals are masterpieces respectively of Gothic and Renaissance workmanship. The church possesses an elaborate astronomical clock (1866) and tapestries of the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries; but its chief artistic treasures are stained glass windows of the thirteenth, fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, the most beautiful of them from the hand of the Renaissance artist, Engrand Le Prince, a native of Beauvais. To him also is due some of the stained glass in St. Etienne, the second church of the town, and an interesting example of the transition stage between the Romanesque and Gothic styles.

During the Middle Ages, on January 14, the Feast of Asses was celebrated in the Beauvais Cathedral, in commemoration of the Flight into Egypt.

Bishops of Beauvais

The early bishops of Beauvais are largely legendary, but a document records that the bishop who occupied the see from 632 to 660 was the thirteenth incumbent. [] The see, near Paris and the centers of power, was a desirable one, being a prince-bishopric with the style of "évêque-comte" ('bishop-count') of Beauvais, and one of the few ecclesiastical original Peers of the realm of France of the kingdom, with the ceremonial privilege to bears the royal mantle at the coronation. The most famous bishops of Beauvais are Odo of Beauvais (860-881) involved in a battle of prerogatives that was a foretaste of the Investiture Controversy; Gui (1063-85), who founded the great Beauvais school of theology at St. Quentin of Beauvais; Pierre Cauchon (1420-32), whose name is compromised in the condemnation of Joan of Arc; Jean Juvenal des Ursins (1433-44), the chronicler of Charles VI; Odet Cardinal de Chatillon (1535-62), brother of admiral Coligny, who turned Protestant at the Reformation; Francois-Joseph de la Rochefoucauld (1772-92), who died in the Carmelite prison in 1792; and François Hyacinthe Jean Feutrier (1825-30), minister of ecclesiastical affairs in the Martignac cabinet.

Other highlights

In the "Place de l'Hôtel de Ville" and in the old streets near the cathedral there are several houses dating from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries. The "hotel de ville", close to which stands the statue of Jeanne Hachette, was built in 1752. The episcopal palace, now used as a court-house, was built in the sixteenth century, partly upon the Gallo-Roman fortifications.

Birthplace of the mathematician Henri Lebesgue. In measure-theoretic analysis and related branches of mathematics, Lebesgue-Stieltjes integration generalizes Riemann-Stieltjes and Lebesgue integration, preserving the many advantages of the latter in a more general measure-theoretic framework.


The industry of Beauvais comprises, besides the state manufacture of tapestry, which dates from 1664, the manufacture of various kinds of cotton and woollen goods, brushes, toys, boots and shoes, and bricks and tiles. Market-gardening flourishes in the vicinity and an extensive trade is carried on in grain and wine.

The town is the seat of a bishop, a prefect and a court of assizes; it has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, together with a chamber of commerce, a branch of the Bank of France, a higher ecclesiastical seminary, a "lycée" and training colleges.

Beauvais also has a small airport, Beauvais Tillé, which is used by several low-cost carrier and charter airlines such as Ryanair as a terminal for nearby Paris, to which frequent shuttle buses run.


Beauvais is home to AS Beauvais Oise, a soccer club playing in the Championnat National (as of 2006).


* - Witten (Germany), since 1990
* - Maidstone (United Kingdom)
* - Tczew (Poland)

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Unofficial website]
* [ Beauvais' city guide (unofficial)]
* [ blog46, BIJ & EPM (open cybercafé)]
* [ "Catholic Encyclopedia":] Diocese of Beauvais
* [ "Why did Beauvais cathedral fall/"] Theories on the collapse of Beauvais cathedral
* [ Coin Hoard Article]
* [ AGE LaSalle-Beauvais]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beauvais — Beauvais …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Beauvais — • A suffragan diocese of the archiepiscopal See of Reims Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Beauvais     Beauvais     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • beauvais — v. de France, ch. l. du dép. de l Oise; 56 278 hab. Industr. La Manufacture nat. de tapisserie, fondée en 1664, a été transférée en 1936 à Paris (Gobelins). Cath. St Pierre, goth. de transition (XIIIe XIVe s.). ⇒BEAUVAIS, subst. masc. AMEUBL.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Beauvais — Fréquent dans le Nord et la Somme, désigne celui qui est originaire de Beauvais. Le nom de la ville vient d un peuple gaulois, les Bellovaques (latin Bellovaci), implanté dans la région. Variante : Beauvois (qui dans d autres régions sera… …   Noms de famille

  • Beauvais [1] — Beauvais (spr. Bohwäh), 1) Bezirk im französischen Departement Oise, 367/10 QM.; 134,000[457] Ew.; 2) Hauptstadt desselben u. des Departements Oise, am Therain; Sitz der Departementsbehörden, eines Bischofs, Handelsgerichts, eines Tribunals 1.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Beauvais [2] — Beauvais (spr. Bohwäh), 1) Guillaume, geb. 1698 zu Dünkirchen u. gest. zu Orleans 1773; er schr. u.a.: Hist. des Emper. romains et grecs, Par. 1767, 3 Bde.; La manière de discerner les médallies antiques de celles, qui sont contrefaites, ebd.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Beauvais [1] — Beauvais (spr. bōwä), Hauptstadt des franz. Depart. Oise, am Zusammenfluß des Avelon und Thérain, Knotenpunkt der Nordbahn, hat mehrere Vorstädte, breite Straßen und meist mittelalterliche Giebelhäuser. Die Kathedrale ist ein unvollendeter… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Beauvais [2] — Beauvais (spr. bōwä), 1) Ambroise Palisot de, Naturforscher, geb. 28. Okt. 1755 in Arras, gest. 21. Jan. 1820 in Paris, bereiste Afrika und Nordamerika, schrieb: »Flore d Oware et de Benin« (1804–1807, 2 Bde.); »Essai d une nouvelle… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Beauvais — (spr. bowäh), Hauptstadt des franz. Dep. Oise, am Zusammenfluß des Avelon und Thérain, (1901) 20.300 E., Kathedrale; Steingutfabriken, Staatsfabrik für Gobelintapeten; das alte Bellovacum …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Beauvais — (Bohwäh), Hauptst. des franz. Depart. der Oise mit 14000 E., in einer reizenden Gegend am Zusammenflusse des Avelon und Thérain, Bischofsitz, blühende Fabriken in Teppichen, Tuch, Wollenwaaren, Shawls. Berühmt ist die alte, aus dem 8. Jahrh.… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon