Saint-Quentin

France

Saint-Quentin is a commune in the Aisne department in Hauts-de-France in northern France. It has been identified as the Augusta Veromanduorum of antiquity. It is named after Saint Quentin, who is said to have been martyred there in the 3rd century.

CountryFrance
RegionHauts-de-France
DepartmentAisne
 Mayor (2020–2026)Frédérique Macarez
Area122.56 km2 (8.71 sq mi)
Population (2017-01-01)53,816
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)

History

The city was founded by the Romans, in the Augustean period, to replace the oppidum of Vermand (11 km away) as the capital of Viromandui (Celtic Belgian people who occupied the region). It received the name of Augusta ViromanduorumAugusta of the Viromandui, in honor of the Emperor Augustus.

At the beginning of the 13th century, Saint-Quentin entered the royal domain. At that time, it was a thriving city, based on its wool textile industry (city “drapante”). It was also a centre of commerce boosted by its position on the border of the kingdom of France, between the Champagne fairs and the cities of Flanders (wine exportation, etc.): it had an important annual fair. It also benefited from its location in the heart of a rich agricultural region (trade of grain and “guède”, woad, a high-value blue colouring pigment).

In the 19th century, Saint-Quentin developed into a thriving industrial city, thanks to entrepreneurs constantly on the lookout for new technologies. Textiles and mechanical products were foremost among a wide variety of products.

The First World War hit Saint-Quentin very hard. In September 1914, the city was overrun, and it endured a harsh occupation. From 1916, it lay at the heart of the war zone, because the Germans had integrated it into the Hindenburg Line. After the evacuation of the population in March, the town was systematically looted and industrial equipment removed or destroyed. The fighting destroyed it: 80% of buildings (including the Basilica of Saint-Quentin) were damaged.

Ruins in Saint-Quentin, France during the First World War.

Sights

L’hôtel de ville of Saint-Quentin is famous for its peal of 37 bells. The city council hall was done in 1925 (Art déco). The Fervaques palace: was built between 1897 and 1911,it is the place of High court.

Museums

  • Butterflies’ Museum which has a collection of more than 600,000 insects, displaying 20,000 of them
  • Antoine Lecuyer Museum which owns the largest collection of Maurice Quentin de La Tour’s pastels
  • Academic Society, archaeologic museum Société Académique de Saint-Quentin

Transport

The Gare de Saint-Quentin is the railway station, offering connections to Paris, Reims, Amiens, Lille and several regional destinations. The A26 motorway connects Saint-Quentin with Reims and Calais, the A29 with Amiens.

Contact

Town Hall
email
address
Place de l'Hotel de Ville 02100 Saint-Quentin
phone
03 23 06 90 00