Senlis

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senlis cottage blue door shutters flowers cobbled street

Senlis

 

The charming Medieval town of Senlis, only 50km north of the centre of Paris with its quiet cobbled streets, Gothic cathedral, lively street markets and rich history is definitely worth a day trip from Paris.

senlis how to visit from paris

 

Even better, a one night stay could also include a visit to the nearby Château Chantilly, a delicious dinner or lunch at the marvellous Le Scaramouche restaurant and a delightful stay in the most charming bed and breakfast, that will have you promising yourself to return one day.

train bus to senlis from paris

 

Rumour has it that the folk of Senlis closed down their railway line to discourage Parisians spending weekends here and over-running the place, interrupting its tranquil lifestyle.

Whether there is any truth in this rumour, I don’t know but the pleasant bus ride from Chantilly Gouvieux train station which arrives at the now disused and unusual  railway station of Senlis, is certainly an agreeable introduction to the Medieval city.

senlis cottage cobbled street

click on the images for a better view

There is a warm, relaxed and friendly vibe that emanates from this lovely town as you wander down the ancient flag-stoned streets.

senlis shopping chocolate
senlis book shop

Situated in the region of Picardy, and steeped in history, the ‘commune’ of Senlis dates back to Roman times.

The 7 metre high defensive wall that once protected Senlis dates back to the 3rd Century and sections of it can still be seen today along with ancient ruins.

Senlis’ close proximity to Chantilly Forest which back in the time was abundant with game, made it a favourable place for the early French monarchs.

france country village senlis

A castle was built here under the ownership of Hugh Capet, the First King of the Franks and Senlis remained a royal city for over 840 years later, until the reign of Charles X in 1824, long after Hugh Capet had died during a hunting accident,

Senlis even boasts a 10,000 seat Roman Amphitheatre although only special excursions will allow you to see this.

medieval village france senlis

Although most travel guides will tell you that the ruins pictured above and the gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis is the main attraction, I found that Senlis had much more to offer.

senlis street sign

The extremely charming and photogenic town with its winding cobbled streets, stone houses adorned with pretty colourful flower boxes and creeping vines is a pure delight.

If you can manage to visit Senlis on a Tuesday or Friday, the bustling morning market that sets up in the city centre is an extra treat.

fish senlis markets marche senlis
olives senlis markets

The atmosphere is wonderful as the cheerful market stall holders call out their wares.

marche senlis markets chicken
senlis markets

And the streets come alive with excited shoppers, pulling along their shopping trolleys with dogs in tow as they stock up on fine food.

market day senlis france
marche senlis markets
marche senlis poisson fish

 

Mushrooms of all of shapes and sizes displayed in rows of boxes.

Country grown fruit and vegetables, a wide range of cheeses, yoghurts and patés.

Garlic infused marinated olives, looked delicious and the roasted chickens turning on large rotisseries were begging to be bought and pulled apart while they were still piping hot.

It’s difficult not to get caught up in the excitement and interact with the jovial stall holders.

One seafood stall in particular was doing a roaring trade judging by his stack of empty bright orange crates.

A line up of people eager to purchase mussels, oysters and an array of seafood, patiently waiting while he filleted their fresh fish on his make-shift chopping board.

And at night, the cobbled streets take on a new life, giving off a warm golden glow under the yellow street lamps.

senlis night cobbled street

* * *

If you are able to stay a night or more in Senlis, there are two more treats in store. . .

The opportunity to spend a night in a delightfully cosy and charming B & B in the middle of town; Côté Jardin and savour a dinner or lunch at the scrumptious gourmet bistrot; Le Scaramouche.

where to eat senlis france

 

Le Scaramouche is located opposite the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis and offers fine views of the Cathédral from their terrace in warmer weather or from within their inviting dining rooms during the cooler months.

Not only does Le Scaramouche have a wonderful ambience, friendly and welcoming proprietors but has absolutely delicious food at extremely reasonable prices, given the quality and execution of their food.

where to eat senlis france
best place to eat senlis
lunch dinner senlis restaurant bistro

Just to give you an example; I started with a flavoursome cream of endive soup which had three distinctive mouth watering textures and slow cooked deer that was rich, comforting and melt in your mouth divine.  All for a keenly priced 19 euros, (AUD$ 28.00 USD$22.00 BP£14.00) I don’t know where else I could eat food this well cooked and presented with a magnificent view in pleasant surroundings at this price.

 

Much to my delight, my greatest find was that of Côté Jardin.

With so much attention to detail this is one of Senlis’ best kept secrets.

Stylish, quirky with a mix of modern conveniences and a rustic country charm.

Situated in the centre of town, hidden behind a big blue door and down a well worn flagstoned path you will find the enchanting bed and breakfast, that appears to have jumped straight out of the pages of a lifestyle magazine.

Francine the owner has loving created a quiet haven in her 17th century former mansion. Each of the five rooms with their own individual style and charm.

Not only are the rooms spacious and meticulously decorated but the common rooms also hold a feast for the eyes.

Francine can whip you up an omelette for breakfast on the large Aga stove that warms the inviting kitchen in the winter or you can sit on the pretty terrace in the warmer months admiring the charming garden and old water well.

I felt blessed to discover the charming ancient town of Senlis with its cobbled streets, charming architecture and friendly inhabitants, and I hope you do too!

The above information is my own findings through hard earned research. I have no affiliation with any of the places I recommend and paid my own way.

***

HOW TO GET THERE

Depending on how much time you have to explore the town of Senlis, you could spend an entire day here or stay overnight.  You will need to take the train from Paris to Chantilly Gouvieux and then the bus to Senlis. Allow approximately 1 hour to 1-30 hours travel time.

Senlis is easily accessible from Paris. Below is a simple step by step guide.

Below are a few tips for a seamless journey:

You can either book a train ticket on-line before heading to Paris (you will need to print your voucher and pick up the tickets from a machine at the station) or you can buy a ticket at the ticket office from Paris Gare du Nord on the day.

BUYING A TICKET ON-LINE:

  • Go to the SNCF website – link in English

    On the left side of the page: click on ‘tickets and train status’

    Click on ‘reservations’ this will take you to another page

    In the FROM box – Type in Paris and select ‘all stations’ from the drop down box

    In the TO box Type in CHANTILLY GOUVIEUX

    Select a departure and return date and an approximate time

    Select the number of passengers

  • Enter Search

  • You will now be given time options to choose from, noting the departure and arrival time. The train takes 25 minutes from Paris and the bus to Senlis 30 minutes.

  • Confirm and pay for your booking, print the voucher because you will need your reference code to put into the ticket machine when you collect your tickets at the station.

GARE DU NORD PARIS STATION TO CHANTILLY GOUVIEUX STATION:

  • Leave enough time to find the machine to pick up your tickets that your bought on-line or queue to purchase tickets.

    You will need to put in the same credit card into the machine that you used to purchase the ticket on-line, for verification only.

    Check the monitors for direction Creil. Platform is VOIE in French. The platform number will show on the monitor approximately 15 minutes before the trains departure. ie: Creil Voie 3 = platform number 3.

    Ensure that you validate your ticket before getting on the train, otherwise you risk a fine. You will see a machine on the platform which will punch the ticket.

  • Seats are not reserved, therefore you can sit where ever you wish.

CHANTILLY GOUVIEUX STATION TO SENLIS BY BUS:

catch train from paris to chantilly
  • You will alight the train on the centre platform. Go down the stairs, turn left and up another flight of stairs to reach the street.

    With your back facing the station, turn left and you will see a narrow pathway to the bus station 50 metres.

    Take the bus marked Senlis.  Ask the driver Senlis (sohn – leez) and pay for your ticket. (Time tables are displayed in the bus shelter).

If you have found this information interesting or useful, please leave a comment or follow me on facebook for daily tips, photos and anecdotes, your feedback encourages me to keep this site up to date.  Merci!

Paris Adéle’s Information Necessaire :

senlis medieval france cobbled streets

 

Senlis – Official Tourist Website in English

Tourist Office situated opposite Cathedral Notre Dame in main square – MAP

Pronounced: sohn – leez

Nearest Train Station – Chantilly Gouvieux, then bus to Senlis

Market Days: Tuesday and Fridays mornings

Le Scaramouche Bistrot – Official Website with English Option
4 Place Notre Dame
Senlis 60300

Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday. 12-3pm for Lunch & 7pm – 11pm for Dinner
Reservations recommended

Côte Jardin Bed & Breakfast – Official Website in French
25 rue Vieille de Paris
Senlis 60300

Directions from Senlis Bus Station to Cote Jardin – MAP

Directions from Côte Jardin to Le Scaramouche Bistrot – MAP

Best days to visit:  Wednesday to Sunday

You could combine a trip to Senlis stopping off at Chantilly Castle along the way.

  • Château de Chantilly
    Château de Chantilly
    Situated 50kms north of Paris and a short 25 minute train ride, makes the sumptuous Château de Chantilly a pleasant and easy day trip just outside of Paris.

You can read about my adventures in Senlis and Chantilly Castle Below :

What a Foie Gras Kind of Day

  I woke up with the laptop purring on my chest.   Jet lag, a heavy back pack, the disappointment with my apartment and soft duck down pillows may have been some of the reasons I passed out minutes after getting into bed last night.   I had a crazy idea that I would go back to …

Chantilly Lace and a Pony Tail

What do they call those songs that you can’t get out of your head, worms? Ear worms? One had burrowed deep into my head while I slept like a baby last night after my big arrival and late night. Surprisingly I woke up feeling great and didn’t look too worse for wear but the song …

More Beyond Paris :

  • Château de Chantilly
    Château de Chantilly
    Situated 50kms north of Paris and a short 25 minute train ride, makes the sumptuous Château de Chantilly a pleasant and easy day trip just outside of Paris.
  • Senlis
    Senlis
    Charming cobbled streets, pretty stone cottages and a vibrant market can all be seen in a day from Paris in this Medieval town but an overnight stay ...
  • Côte Jardin
    Côte Jardin
    Oozing style and charm with an attention to detail, Côte Jardin is everything you ever dreamed about a French country Bed and Breakfast, located in the delightful village on Senlis.
  • Maison d’hotes Stella Cadente
    Maison d’hotes Stella Cadente
    Quirky, luxurious and attention to detail, the perfect place to rest your weary body after a day of exploring the delightful UNESCO listed medieval village of Provins.
  • Provins
    Provins
    Medieval town oozing charm, with half timbered houses punctuated by pretty water ways and well preserved ramparts and architecture from the middle ages.
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About the author

parisadele

You can take the girl out of Paris ... but ... you can't take Paris out of the girl!

6 Responses to Senlis

  • Eileen

    Beautiful pictures, and wonderful commentary Adele. Thank you for sharing.  Know where I’d rather be on this dark Monday morning, just about to go to work!!!

    • parisadele

      Hello Eileen, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It is such a pretty and friendly village that I just had to share it, glad you like it. I’d rather be there right now too. 🙂

  • Kathleen Bolton

    Does the bus run daily.  Thanks

    • parisadele

      Hello Kathleen, the bus does run daily but not as frequently on a Sunday. To find the timetable :

      Please scroll up to the box marked ‘Paris Adele Information Necessaire’.
      Click on the first link marked ‘Senlis – Official Tourist Website in English’
      Once the website has loaded : click on the British flag, near the top right of the screen (near the search box)
      Once you have the site in English : scroll down a little and click on the blue circle marked ‘Access Transports’
      Then click on the square marked ‘Connections by bus”
      After this, you will see timetable documents that you can download. It is in French but not difficult to decipher, ‘Horaires’ means hours.
      Click on ‘Connections by bus between Senlis and the main train stations : Chantilly-Gouvieux : Bus n°15 of Keolis Horaires de bus Senlis-Chantilly

      This will show you the bus timetable.

      Hope that helps Kathleen, otherwise leave me another message. regards Adèle

  • Barbie Hayes-Williams

    OH ADELE, I am in your shadow all the way in France. Senlis/Chateau Chantilly are on our list to visit thanks to your wonderful blog. So informative. Really loving your writing. Merci Merci

    • parisadele

      Hi Barbie,
      thank you so much for your lovely message and compliments, have a wonderful time in France. I loved Senlis as you probably gathered, glad to be of help, my pleasure. 🙂

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