I'll take you on a visit , to discover emblematic places , but also little secret corners that I particularly like in Pierrefonds . Follow the soap maker, we're going on a visit!
Located in Hauts-de-France , in the department of Oise , the village of Pierrefonds is a real historical gem . A former spa town , Pierrefonds is today renowned for its majestic castle and its medieval charm, which attracts history and nature lovers.
Visit the Château de Pierrefonds
A true emblem of Pierrefonds and a must-see site in the Oise , the Château de Pierrefonds is an architectural treasure that attracts many visitors every year. Built at the end of the 14th century by Duke Louis of Orléans , it would then be left in ruins for centuries. It will be necessary to wait for the 19th century and the arrival of Napoleon III who will entrust its reconstruction to the architect Viollet-le-Duc . The latter will rebuild it like a medieval castle.
Today, the internationally renowned castle serves as the setting for the English series Merlin. Other films have been shot there, such as The Hunchback, Joan of Arc by Luc Besson and The Visitors.
My favorite places to see in the Château de Pierrefonds
- The Hall of Preuses
When you enter this room, the nine Preuses seem to come to life before your eyes. Their proud and determined gazes stare at you with a captivating intensity, revealing the strength and courage that marked their existence. They inspired me with determination and audacity. And they're the ones I go to when I'm not brave enough and I need to regain my self-confidence.
- The Ball of the Recumbents
Located in the cellars of the castle , the bal des Recumbents unveils a collection of original casts representing important historical personalities from the Middle Ages to the 17th century .
This unusual and mysterious place fascinates me. The scenography , both sober and original, made of soft lights and weak voices whispering old stories, plunges us into a strange and captivating world. It is a mixture of respect, fear and admiration that one feels when descending into these dark cellars. Something touching and poignant emanates from this place, an indescribable feeling. Walking among the recumbent statues, one feels a sense of humility in the face of the fragility of human life. These sculptures remind us that we are all ephemeral and that time passes. They encourage us to reflect on our own existence.
- The motto "Who wants can"
The origin of the motto of Pierrefonds " Qui veult peult " remains a mystery today. Some argue that it would be the cry of courage of the knights, others that it would be the motto of Louis d'Orléans or that of Viollet-le-Duc. The motto of Pierrefonds is visible in the Emperor's bedroom.
The day I chose to quit my job to found the Savonnerie de Pierrefonds , I went and stood in front of this fireplace and repeated to myself "Qui veult peult". This motto of Pierrefonds is also mine and that of the Savonnerie.
Visit Pierrefonds: my secret and unusual corners
If you come to spend a long weekend in Pierrefonds, here are some cool ideas to get off the beaten track.
Take advantage of the morning to go to the market . You will find fruits , vegetables and flowers from the Jardins de Hautefontaine , excellent cheeses from La Boîte à fromages , an exceptional fishmonger. Take a detour to Vin Telckel 's vintage Citroën truck. Tom, accompanied by his faithful dachshund Riesling, will offer you the tasting of the week, a selection of natural wines that is always unusual and surprising! Then select a few beers from our two friends??? to bring back as a souvenir.
End the morning with a take-out meal purchased from the Asian food truck Soudachan (homemade family cooking) and go enjoy it on a bench in front of the lake , in the shade of the lime trees.
Pierrefonds Lake offers an idyllic natural setting, conducive to rejuvenation and disconnection .
Take your bike to Compiègne! Take the cycle path that connects Pierrefonds to Compiègne passing through the forest. A calm, shaded (and flat) route awaits you. On arrival, after 15km of cycling (allow 1h for adults and 1h30 with breaks and children), you will have well deserved a small reward. Trueba artisanal ice cream awaits you!
You can then visit the Château de Compiègne which is right next door. I really recommend visiting the National Car Museum (located in the Castle). You can admire a collection of magnificent old carriages and sleighs!
It is now high time to visit this famous castle ! You can choose to go up there on foot or take the little train which will offer you, in addition to the climb to the castle, a guided tour of the village.
After the visit, I advise you to have a picnic by the lake , near the old station. This place is full of charm and nostalgia. This is by far my favorite place in the village. It offers a picturesque and old-fashioned setting and a lovely view of the castle and the church.
Before heading to the center of the village for an afternoon of shopping , I advise you to take a detour to the Château de Jonval . Take the stairs on the right and climb to the very top where a breathtaking view of the castle and the pond awaits you!
Continue your walk admiring the Villa Colombine and the Ambroises house in the rue du Beaudon (dating from the 15th century, it is the oldest house in the village). Let yourself be transported back to the Middle Ages and enjoy the authentic atmosphere that emanates from the alleys.
Back in the center, take the opportunity to take a tour of the shops ! Pierrefonds is a land of crafts . At the turn of the alleys, you can discover the many artisan shops . Here are my favourites:
- The Savonnerie de Pierrefonds of course! A must ;-)
- Sarah Morin Design : the lights made by Sarah are literally exceptional. His sublime creations touch your heart. Plus, she's super cute!
- La Maison du Lys : Catherine and Sonia offer you a thoughtful and always original selection of furniture, decorative objects and accessories. Plus, they're super cute!
- Pierrefonds Antiquités: a selection as surprising as it is demanding thanks to André and Jérémy. I like to go to them for glassware and antique bathroom items. Plus, they're super cute!
- The Tourist Office shop: where you can discover many other local artisans and their products.
The hour of the aperitif approaching, I advise you to go and ask yourself at the Pier . A summer atmosphere and a holiday setting, at the water's edge . And the view of the castle and the village is too beautiful!
On the 1st Sunday of each month, you can stroll around the campagard market located on the village square . Oysters, pies, honey, champagne, poultry, truffles, saffron, fruits, vegetables, flowers, macaroons, wine, beers, ... heaven!
Otherwise, I advise you to go for a short walk to Saint-Jean-aux-Bois , a charming village located only a few kilometers away, which inspired Bruno Carrara, composer of the song Les Amants de Saint-Jean .
After lunch, enjoy a getaway on the lake for a little pedalo ride. Dotted with water lilies and prized by its inhabitants (swans and herons), Lake Pierrefonds is a true haven of peace . As a couple or as a family, it is the ideal place to relax and observe the village from a new angle .
Where to eat in Pierrefonds?
My favorite restaurants ...
- The Castello if you want to eat Italian
- The Kiosk for a meal on the terrace, simple and good.
- The Chalet du Lac for its terrace and its breathtaking view.
- The Good Idea, in Saint-Jean-aux-Bois . Different budget, different atmosphere. This starred restaurant is a delight.
Where to sleep in Pierrefonds?
There is no shortage of hotels and bed and breakfasts , here are my favorites.
- The guest room Once upon a time for its decoration and its ideal location.
- Hotel Le Beaudon for its view of the lake and the castle.
- The gîte L'Eugénie for its swimming pool and bicycles available.
- Le coeur de la Forêt campsite for its unusual accommodation.
Focus on the Pierrefonds soap factory
Created in 2020, Savonnerie de Pierrefonds manufactures and sells high quality soaps , perfumes and cosmetics , respectful of health and the environment. Our shop is located close to the castle . The opportunity for you to leave with a beautiful local souvenir !
We are keen to promote local craftsmanship , as well as contribute to the economic development of Pierrefonds and the Hauts-de-France region .
Our values :
- zero waste : compostable boxes, reusable bottles, materials that can be recycled for life.
- The preservation of health : zero controversial products, total transparency, honest cosmetics
- The preservation of the planet
- Handcrafted production (by hand)
Find the store at 1 rue Courtil Maine . We welcome you Wednesday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (only Friday and Saturday in January and February) . We also offer click and collect, which allows you to buy your products online and pick them up directly in store. You can also find our products in our different points of sale .