4020948 origPicardy cSpedona 2809 2007 CCNoyon is situated in the region of Picardy, just 60 miles north of Paris and between Amiens to the north-west and Reims to the south-east. It lies on the Oise canal and administratively is also in the department of Oise. Noyon is a historic town, founded by the Gallo-Romans. Back in 768 AD Charlemagne was crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor in the cathedral and then in 987 AD Hugh Capet was crowned the first Capet king there. Later fire destroyed the cathedral and the present early Gothic building dates from the 12th and 13th century. Noyon’s most famous son is Jean Calvin who was born here in 1509 and in the town centre is a museum dedicated to his life. Noyon boasts one of the oldest town halls in France, a very distinctive building with an attractive Renaissance façade.

During both World Wars Noyon lay in a pivotal position in northern France and as a result suffered significant damage. It is situated close to the Clairière de l’Armistice in the forest of Compiègne, where 2 armistice treaties were signed – the first on 11th November 1918 and the second in 1940.

As well as its historical interest, Noyon offers the visitor colourful markets and a fascinating choice of small shops and cafes. A matter of some pride to us town twinners is the Rond-point d’Hexham, named in our honour to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the twinning between Hexham and Noyon.

noyoncloistercathedral smallcodt noyon origA fine concert hall is witness to the town’s commitment to music. Local musical groups such as the ‘Harmonie’ orchestra often entertain us on twinning visits and have also participated in exchange visits to Hexham, along with other artists and craftspeople.

Noyon is a town of some 18,000 inhabitants, just a little larger than Hexham. It makes a good base to visit other parts of north-eastern France, such as the cities of Amiens, Beauvais, Laon and Reims, as well as the First World War battlefields and cemeteries of the Somme and the Chemin des Dames. Even the vineyards of Champagne are not too distant. On town-twinning visits our hosts have taken us to many places of local interest such as Compiègne, Senlis, Pierrefonds and St Quentin.

Images from the top: the arms of Picardy © Spedona 2809 2007 Creative Commons.  The cloister of the Cathedral of Noyon © Office de Tourisme, Noyon.

To find out more about our town-twinning with Noyon visit this French site: https://noyonhexham.wordpress.com/