St-Quentin

Digital centre of excellence

Saint-Quentin, the largest town in Aisne and the second largest in Picardie, regroups a third of the businesses in the department. The second industrial centre in the region, St Quentin is an industrial town hosting international companies like Yamaha MBK, l’Oreal, Tereos or  La Couronne… Saint-Quentin also lies on one of the busiest roads of Europe and is a genuine crossover town in the North of France.

A digital “centre of excellence” is being launched combining education programmes in the field with the economic development of new technologies. The latest partner in the “centre of excellence” was incubator Le Garage, aimed at developing Cloud Computing and Mobiles technologies and inaugurated earlier this year by the head of Google France. 

The BulDigital centre of excellence
Two previous stages
Pop: 61,000
Sub-prefecture of Aisne (02)Economy : metallurgy, sugar, motorcycles, chemicals, food industry, textile.
Specialties : dauphin (cheese), folie douce (aperitif drink).
Celebrities :   Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Nadine de Rothschild, Xavier Bertrand (politician), Jerome Thomas (boxer), Jose Catieau, Francis Moreau (cyclists).
Festivals :  fêtes du bouffon, Town Hall beach. 

Timeline

  • Roman period

    The town was founded by the Romans to replace the Vermand oppidum.
  • Early Middle Ages

    A monastery emerges thanks to the pilgrimage on the grave of St Quentin, the region’s evangelist.
  • 9th century

    St Quentin becomes the capital of the counts of Vermandois.
  • 1080

    Herbert IV of Vermandois grants the citizens a charter.
  • 13th century

    St Quentin is included in the French kingdom’s domain.
  • 14th century

    Its strategic position makes St Quentin a disputed city between the King of France, England and the Dukes of Burgundy.
  • 1557

    A heroic siege against Spanish troops ends in the destruction of the town.
  • 1636

    The plague kills a third of the population.
  • 17th century

    St Quentin specialises in linen and regains its wealth.
  • 1814-1815

    St Quentin is occupied by the Russians.
  • 1870

    A brave resistance to the Prussians earns the town the Legion of Honour.
  • 1914

    St Quentin is destroyed by WWI. The population is evacuated and 80 pc of the town buildings disappear.
WWI destructions.Maurice Quentin de la Tour self portrait, in Museum of Picardie (Amiens)
Two previous stages
Pop: 61,000
Sub-prefecture of Aisne (02)Economy : metallurgy, sugar, motorcycles, chemicals, food industry, textile.
Specialties : dauphin (cheese), folie douce (aperitif drink).
Celebrities :   Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Nadine de Rothschild, Xavier Bertrand (politician), Jerome Thomas (boxer), Jose Catieau, Francis Moreau (cyclists).
Festivals :  fêtes du bouffon, Town Hall beach. 

Saint-Quentin and cycling

The second time that the Tour finished in Saint Quentin, which had just been voted « the most sporting town in France » by L’Équipe newspaper, was in 2006, the day of the Football World Cup Final. It was an ill-fated day for Zinedine Zidane and his French team-mates, but not for Robbie McEwen, who won his second sprint in three days, and who was on the way to his third stage victory, without knowing it, two days later in Vitré. As in 2006, the finish line will be marked out on the edge of the Champs-Élysees Park. This will definitely inspire all of the peloton’s sprinters.

St Quentin is also the hometown of French cyclist Jose Catieau, who held the yellow jersey for four days on the 1974 Tour de France. Catieau had been part of a successful break between Roubaix and Reims. He was fresh from a Tour of Spain he had finished in 12th place, only 15 seconds behind Eddy Merckx. Catieau, a team-mate of Spain’s Luis Ocana, also won Paris-Camembert.

Another St Quentin rider is former time-trial specialist Francis Moreau, who was Olympic champion in the team pursuit in 1996. One of his most notable victories was a Paris-Nice prologue. HE now works for Tour de France organisers ASO.

Robbie McEwen outpsints the bunch in 2006 - © Presse SportsFrancis Moreau (right), team pursuit Olympic champion in 1996 - © Presse Sports
Two previous stages
Pop: 61,000
Sub-prefecture of Aisne (02)Economy : metallurgy, sugar, motorcycles, chemicals, food industry, textile.
Specialties : dauphin (cheese), folie douce (aperitif drink).
Celebrities :   Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Nadine de Rothschild, Xavier Bertrand (politician), Jerome Thomas (boxer), Jose Catieau, Francis Moreau (cyclists).
Festivals :  fêtes du bouffon, Town Hall beach. 

What to see

Town Hall:

St Quentin’s town hall is a remarkable example of flamboyant Gothic completed in 1509. Its façade is adorned with 173 sculptures depicting scenes of the ordinary life in the city. The building is topped by a campanile containing the chimes with 37 bells punctuating the life of the local population.

The Wedding Hall, with its medieval looks, is topped by a picturesque multi-coloured ceiling with a double wooden vault and also has a monumental mantelpiece and a Renaissance gallery.  

The Town Council room, completed in 1925, is a remarkable Arts Deco work.

St Quentin basilica:

The old and large collegiate church became a basilica in 1876. It was built in the early 13th century to shelter the relics of St Quentin, to which a pilgrimage was devoted until 1914. The construction spanned across the 13th to the 15th century and made it a fine showcase of all the different Gothic styles. It s chancel is unique in Gothic architecture with its concentric layout. Damaged by the passing of time and WWI, the basilica has been restored since 2006.

Champs Elysees

The disappearance of the fortifications in the early 19th century led to the construction of outer avenues and left a big unbuilt space between the town centre and the Remicourt suburb. Known as the Champs Elysees, the huge park in the heart of the city is an ideal spot for strolling and enjoying the bandstand, the bowls game, the tennis courts or the gardens.

Marais dIsle nature reserve:

The 47 ha preserved area celebrated its 30 years in 2011. The only nature reserve in the heart of a town in Europe, it is home to numerous protected species.  

Town HallBasilicaThe Basilica, seen from Saint-MartinMarais d’Isle nature reserve
Two previous stages
Pop: 61,000
Sub-prefecture of Aisne (02)Economy : metallurgy, sugar, motorcycles, chemicals, food industry, textile.
Specialties : dauphin (cheese), folie douce (aperitif drink).
Celebrities :   Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Nadine de Rothschild, Xavier Bertrand (politician), Jerome Thomas (boxer), Jose Catieau, Francis Moreau (cyclists).
Festivals :  fêtes du bouffon, Town Hall beach. 

Saint-Quentin, Arts Deco city

Seriously scarred by the First World War, St Quentin was forced to rebuild itself in the 1920s. Besides the identical reconstructions and neo-classical or neo-Gothic works, the Arts Deco emerged in 1923-24 and was applied to build houses for wealthy citizens of for public buildings. The Arts Decoratifs Exhibition in Paris in 1925 made a strong impression on architects worldwide. Local architects were won over by the new trend, which also influenced fashion and the arts. Breaking with Art Nouveau which dominated the early 20th century, Art Deco marks a return to classicism and simplicity mixed with varied influences like cubism, antiquity or African and Asian arts.  Baskets and bowls, stylised flowers or oasis become fashionable motives for architects and craftsmen of the 1920s and 1930s.

In St Quentin, Art Deco elements are everywhere, from mosaics to wrought iron, from stained glass to cabinet making, depending on the audacity of the architects and their clients.

A survey of the Art Deco buildings in town revealed more than 3,000 of them, 237 being listed as remarkable and 40 as exceptional by the quality of their architecture or decoration.

The municipal market, the music academy, the public baths or the Town Council room are among the most celebrated and the names of architects Louis Guindez or Jules Arduin are frequently cited. 

In the Saint-Quentin town hall, the council hall was conceived by architect Louis Guindez in the Arts Deco style. - © VelvetArts Deco Oriels of the music school.
Two previous stages
Pop: 61,000
Sub-prefecture of Aisne (02)Economy : metallurgy, sugar, motorcycles, chemicals, food industry, textile.
Specialties : dauphin (cheese), folie douce (aperitif drink).
Celebrities :   Maurice Quentin de la Tour, Nadine de Rothschild, Xavier Bertrand (politician), Jerome Thomas (boxer), Jose Catieau, Francis Moreau (cyclists).
Festivals :  fêtes du bouffon, Town Hall beach. 
video05/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Saint-Quentin

Jersey wearers after the prologue

Classifications after the prologue

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