For lovers of history
Clermont-de-l'Oise enjoys a rich history, stretching back to the dawn of time. In the year 51 B.C., the hill upon which the oldest portion of the town rests witnessed the battle between the armies of Julius Caesar and the Gallic Bellovaci tribe.
The Earldom of Clermont was born during the 11th century. Around the old castle (the remains of the keep can still be seen today) the town rapidly prospered, thanks to its location at the crossroads of several strategic and commercial routes. At the end of the 12th century, the town's burghers obtained a "communal charter" freeing them from the Count's tutelage and allowing them to freely manage the town's commercial and administrative affairs.
In the 13th century, the Clermont Earldom was attached to the Kingdom of France and granted to one of the king's younger sons as an apanage (from the Latin ad panen, meaning "for bread" – in other words, as a means of sustenance). The apanage would revert to the crown should the beneficiary have no male descendent.
Nestling behind its medieval ramparts reinforced during the Hundred Years War, particularly during the 14th century, the town is home to such splendid monuments as its town hall (listed as a national historic monument), Saint-Samson Church and the 18th-century townhouses that lend such charm to its historic centre. Of the original fortifications remain the ruins of the keep, the bastion west of the town hall, and the Nointel Gate near the chancel of Saint-Samson Church.
Did you know?
In the very midst of the Hundred Years War, the town witnessed a bloody revolt known as the Jacquerie.
The leader of the rebels, Guillaume Carle, was eventually captured and tortured in Clermont. This little known rebellion was in fact the veritable precursor to the French Revolution and not soon forgotten by the French nobility.
In French, Jacquerie has since entered the common vocabulary to designate a protest movement.
During the 19th century, the Clermont keep was used as a prison. The famous militant anarchist Louise Michel was imprisoned there from July 1893 to December 1894.
On the first floor of the Clermont town hall, visitors can discover a scale model of the town as it existed during the 14th century. A superb collection of paintings makes this a veritable miniature museum, itself well worth the visit. The tourist office, housed on the ground floor, warmly welcomes you all year round and provides all the information you need to enjoy a most pleasant visit.
Saint-Samson Church wonderfully illustrates the evolving techniques and styles of Gothic art from the early 13th century to the 16th century, or 300 years of art and history. In the chancel, you can admire magnificent, brilliantly coloured stained glass windows dating from the 16th century.