26 Best Places And Things To Do in Soissons, France

Soissons is a charming city located in the Aisne department of the Hauts-de-France region in northern France. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and picturesque landscapes, Soissons offers visitors a delightful blend of cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and culinary delights. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Soissons:

1. Soissons Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais)

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This magnificent Gothic cathedral is a must-visit attraction in Soissons. Built between the 12th and 16th centuries, the cathedral features stunning stained glass windows, intricate carvings, and a soaring bell tower. Its impressive interior and historical significance make it a must-see for architecture and history enthusiasts.

2. Abbaye Saint-Jean-des-Vignes

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Explore the ruins of the Abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes, a former Benedictine monastery founded in the 11th century. This archaeological site showcases the remains of the abbey’s church, cloister, and other structures. The panoramic view from the top of the bell tower is particularly breathtaking.

3. Musée de Soissons

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Delve into the local history and culture of Soissons at the Musée de Soissons. The museum houses a diverse collection of archaeological artifacts, artworks, and historical objects. It offers fascinating insights into the city’s Roman past, medieval heritage, and modern developments.

4. Promenade des Petits Ponts

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Take a leisurely stroll along the Promenade des Petits Ponts, a picturesque path that winds along the banks of the Aisne River. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, admire the charming bridges, and revel in the natural beauty of the surrounding greenery. It’s a perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon or a romantic walk.

5. Château de Coucy

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Just a short drive from Soissons, you’ll find the magnificent ruins of Château de Coucy. This medieval fortress, once one of the most formidable castles in Europe, offers an impressive sight with its massive towers and fortified walls. Explore the grounds and let your imagination transport you back to the Middle Ages.

6. Local Cuisine

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Soissons is known for its gastronomy, and a visit to the city wouldn’t be complete without savoring some of the local delicacies. Indulge in dishes like Ficelle Picarde (a savory pancake filled with ham and mushrooms), Croute Soissonnaise (a meat and vegetable stew served in a bread bowl), or taste the region’s renowned Champagne.

7. Outdoor Activities

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The surrounding countryside of Soissons offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Explore the nearby Compiègne Forest or go hiking and biking along the various trails in the area. The Aisne River is also ideal for kayaking or canoeing, allowing you to experience the natural beauty of the region up close.

8. La Cité de la Musique et de la Danse

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If you’re a music or dance enthusiast, don’t miss a visit to La Cité de la Musique et de la Danse. This cultural center hosts a variety of concerts, performances, and exhibitions throughout the year. Immerse yourself in the world of music and dance and enjoy the vibrant artistic scene of Soissons.

9. Les Fêtes Johanniques

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If you happen to visit Soissons in late June, make sure to catch Les Fêtes Johanniques. This annual festival commemorates the city’s history and celebrates Joan of Arc, who liberated Soissons during the Hundred Years’ War. Enjoy parades, medieval reenactments, concerts, and fireworks, creating a festive and lively atmosphere in the city.

10. Place Fernand Marquigny

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Take a moment to relax in Place Fernand Marquigny, a charming square in the heart of Soissons. Admire the beautiful architecture of the surrounding buildings, sip a coffee at one of the outdoor cafes, and watch the world go by. It’s a perfect spot to soak up the local atmosphere and enjoy a leisurely break.

11. Shopping in the City Center

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Explore the city center of Soissons and discover a range of shops, boutiques, and specialty stores. From fashion and accessories to local products and crafts, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for shopping. Don’t forget to browse the local markets, such as the Friday morning market, where you can find fresh produce, regional delicacies, and unique souvenirs.

12. Parc Gouraud

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in Parc Gouraud. This tranquil park offers lush green spaces, beautiful flower beds, and shaded walking paths. Take a picnic, read a book, or simply enjoy a peaceful moment surrounded by nature. It’s an ideal place to recharge and relax.

13. Les Bains de Soissons

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Treat yourself to a rejuvenating experience at Les Bains de Soissons. This wellness center features thermal baths, saunas, jacuzzis, and a range of spa treatments. Indulge in a pampering session and let the stresses melt away as you immerse yourself in relaxation and tranquility.

14. Local Wineries

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Soissons is situated in the Champagne region, known for its world-renowned sparkling wine. Take the opportunity to visit local wineries and vineyards, where you can learn about the champagne-making process, sample different varieties, and perhaps even take a guided tour through the underground cellars.

15. Les Jardins des Deux Rives

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Discover the beauty of Les Jardins des Deux Rives, a lovely park situated along the Aisne River. Take a leisurely stroll through its well-manicured gardens, enjoy the colorful flower displays, and relax by the water’s edge. The park also features playgrounds for children, making it a great place for families to unwind.

16. Musée de la Franc-Maçonnerie

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If you’re interested in secret societies and Freemasonry, pay a visit to the Musée de la Franc-Maçonnerie. Located in Soissons’ former Masonic lodge, this museum offers a fascinating insight into the history, symbolism, and rituals of Freemasonry. Explore its collections of artifacts, documents, and regalia to gain a deeper understanding of this enigmatic society.

17. Les Crayeres de la Montagne de Reims

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Embark on a unique underground adventure by visiting Les Crayeres de la Montagne de Reims. Located just a short drive from Soissons, this network of ancient chalk quarries and caves is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a guided tour to learn about the historical and cultural significance of these underground tunnels.

18. Local Festivals

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Soissons hosts several lively festivals throughout the year that showcase the city’s vibrant culture and traditions. Check the events calendar to see if any festivals or events coincide with your visit. The Fête de la Musique, the Medieval Festival, and the Christmas Market are just a few examples of the festive celebrations that bring the city to life.

19. Day Trips

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Soissons is strategically located, making it an excellent base for day trips to nearby attractions. Visit the nearby city of Reims, famous for its stunning cathedral and champagne houses, or explore the historic town of Laon, known for its medieval architecture and panoramic views. Both destinations offer unique experiences and are easily accessible from Soissons.

20. Les Sablières

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Enjoy a day of outdoor activities at Les Sablières, a recreational area located on the outskirts of Soissons. This nature park offers a wide range of activities, including walking trails, cycling paths, fishing spots, and picnic areas. It’s a perfect place to connect with nature, relax, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings.

21. Maison de l’Artisanat et des Métiers d’Art

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Discover the local craftsmanship and traditional arts at the Maison de l’Artisanat et des Métiers d’Art. This museum showcases the work of local artisans and craftsmen, including pottery, glassblowing, woodworking, and more. Browse through the exhibits, learn about the different techniques, and perhaps even purchase unique handmade souvenirs.

22. Les Ruines de l’Abbaye de Vauclair

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Venture a little further from Soissons to explore the Ruins of the Abbey of Vauclair. Located in the nearby village of Bouconville-Vauclair, these ancient ruins are nestled in a picturesque valley. Walk among the remains of the abbey, including the church, cloisters, and tower, and soak in the peaceful ambiance of the surroundings.

23. Les Sources de la Crise

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Experience a serene and tranquil oasis at Les Sources de la Crise. This natural spring, located near Soissons, offers a serene environment with crystal-clear water and lush green surroundings. It’s a perfect spot for a peaceful walk, a picnic, or simply unwinding in nature’s embrace.

24. Local Cuisine and Markets

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Soissons boasts a rich culinary heritage, and exploring its local cuisine is a treat for food lovers. Visit the local markets, such as the Saturday morning market, to sample and purchase fresh produce, regional cheeses, and other local delicacies. Additionally, indulge in the city’s restaurants and cafes, where you can savor traditional dishes and experience the flavors of the region.

25. Golf de l’Ailette

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If you’re a golf enthusiast, head to Golf de l’Ailette, situated on the shores of Lake Ailette. This 18-hole golf course offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and lake, providing a picturesque setting for a day of golfing. Enjoy the challenging course and the peaceful ambiance of the area.

26. Les Bords de l’Aisne

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Explore the scenic banks of the Aisne River by taking a leisurely walk or bike ride along Les Bords de l’Aisne. This picturesque trail offers beautiful views of the river, charming bridges, and lush greenery. It’s an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.