A stone's throw from Saint-Omer town center is its public garden, ideal for relaxation and rejuvenating walks. This remarkable garden, one of the most beautiful in Hauts-de-France, is certainly worth the detour. Everyone likes to sit on the grass in the heart of the French garden nestled in the remains of the Vauban fortifications, or stroll through the arboretum, the English garden and the glacis.

Let's dwell here on the history of the public garden of St-Omer and on what there is to see and do in the park.

History of the Saint-Omer Public Garden

The public garden celebrated its 2022th anniversary in 125! Let's dwell on the history of the park helping us to better understand its configuration.

Saint-Omer, ancient fortified town

Saint-Omer has been a fortified town for more than a millennium. Already earthen and wooden ramparts had been erected following the Norman incursions. Then a feudal motte was established in the city to dominate the surroundings from the 10rd century. A little later, real fortifications were built under Charles V. These will then be reinforced by Vauban in the XNUMXth century.

The fortifications knew how to defend the Audomaroise city from numerous attacks, and this until the first half of the 1870th century. Nevertheless, the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and the siege of Paris demonstrated the obsolescence of this defense system. Modern cannon balls were indeed likely to pass over or even through the walls. Moreover, a well-organized siege transformed the ramparts into a veritable prison cut off from the world for the besieged. Witness the situation in Paris in XNUMX.

This observation led many towns in France to separate from their fortifications, which notably enabled them to open up and expand. Saint-Omer followed suit. The dismantling of the ramparts was organized between 1892 and 1894.

The creation of a garden

This operation had the effect of mixing the inhabitants of the city with the suburbs. In addition, to the south of the city, the immense defensive glacis and the hillocks proved to be a favorable place to create a public garden. Thus, it was decided in 1892 to keep part of the western front of the ramparts, in order to develop the garden below. The work extended until 1903. The least we can say is that this project ended in success. From 1932, the public garden of Saint-Omer was even protected as a registered site.

Note that at the end of the XNUMXth century, public gardens were fashionable. The bourgeoisie liked to indulge in bucolic walks. This is why it was designed from the start as a real landscaped park dedicated to walking and recreation.

The public garden of St Omer: Several spaces and atmospheres

Located on the outskirts of the city, the public garden of Saint-Omer presents several atmospheres. As soon as you enter rue du Lion d'Or, you will see the French garden. Located below the preserved ramparts, it impresses with its grandeur, beauty and straight, geometric shapes. The path then leads us to the esplanade and its bandstand, as well as the floral mosaics. Finally, the walk in the public garden of Saint-Omer leads us to admire the English garden and the remarkable arboretum.

Note that the public garden contains a playground for children, a small animal park and an area dedicated to sports, on the old glacis.

To explore the public garden and its fortifications, do not hesitate to download the " Walls and Gardens ».

The French garden

At the foot of the ramparts that survived the dismantling spreads out a magnificent French garden. This extends from the Saint-Venant bastion to the Egmont bastion. Of exceptional size, it responds to the characteristics of lawn bowling style parks with its symmetrical lawn squares, its shrubs and its fountain. Note that "boulingrin" comes from the English "bowling green", a term that reveals the order reigning in French gardens: Everything is beautifully carved, and nothing sticks out.

The French-style garden of the public garden of Saint-Omer occupies the place previously held by the moats and ditches protecting the Audomaroise city. It is framed by ramparts and defensive mounds of earth, now verdant.

The English garden

The English garden, located near the arboretum and the animal park, is the opposite extreme of the French park. Here, raw nature reigns, and reveals picturesque constructions, such as a rustic bridge, a duck pond and a small waterfall.

The esplanade and the mosaics

The public garden of Saint-Omer includes a large esplanade where a large bandstand typical of the end of the XNUMXth century stands in its center.

Around, multiple paths are adorned with flowerbeds and mosaics.

The arboretum

The arboretum of the public garden of Saint-Omer is in many respects remarkable. It is also protected because of its rich fauna. It is made up of trees from the region, but also species from North America and Asia.

Les glacis, an area dedicated to sport and leisure

The public garden also has a mini zoo, a kindergarten and a fitness trail. The south-east side exit leads us to the glacis, a natural area dedicated to leisure and sports: archery, rugby, volleyball, basketball, handball, running... The site even includes a small skatepark.

You may also like...