St Omer

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St Omer

St Omer, the capital of the Pas-de-Calais region, is a quaint market town with a title of 'Ville d'Art et Histoire' (Town of Art and Historical Heritage) that not only does it have an ancient history but it also has a dynamic cultural presence and has so much to offer.

St Omer sits on the frontier of flat Flanders and the hilly Boulognaise landscape. A striking fusion of two cultures, Flemish and French, has developed into an interesting architectural landscape. Look up and you will see distinctly Flemish gables crowning houses of yellow brick, whereas the elegant white-stoned town houses are typically French in structure.

Any tour of St Omer should start at its main square, Place Foch, where the Saturday market takes place. This spacious square is to many cafés, brasseries and terraces overlooked by the very grand 19th century Town Hall.

Other places to visit include Notre Dame Cathedral, Sandelin Museum and La Cupole, a 5 metre thick concrete dome created by Hitler and built during the WW2 by prisoners of war to protect the biggest underground rocket launch pad ever built.

Shopping is also great in St Omer with shops mainly concentrated around the main square, Place Foch, rue de Dunkerque, rue des Clouteries and Place Victor Hugo. Favourite specialist shops in St-Omer include Le Terroi for regional produce and Cave St-Arnould for the famous St-Omer beer. Antiques are another local speciality at Naninck and Lengaigne.