FRANCE VAL-D'OISE cathedrale de pontoiseThe town of Pontoise (pop 30,300) is administratively clustered under the Val d’Oise department, despite being located in the Cergy commune. Pontoise was an important trading centre, as it was once the bustling Roman capital of the French Vexin. Due to this reputation, the town was frequently attacked. Hence many ramparts were erected around town for defence. These ramparts can still be sighted underground and around the park that surrounds the Musée Camille Pissarro [17 rue de Chateau, +33 130380240 Free]. 

Due to its waterfront location, Pontoise became an inspiration or many artistes and as such, played an important role in housing several pioneers of the Impressionist movement (like Van Gogh, Daubigny and Pissarro). Having lived here for 17 years, Pissarro contributed to Pontoise’s art life greatly and his works, along with his counterparts are preserved in this museum.

Part of the artistic collection of the Pissarro museum came from the Musée Tavet-Delacour [4 rue Lemercier, +33 130380240 Free]. This centrally located museum sits in a 15th century mansion, housing historical artefacts of Pontoise that date all the way back to its Roman times.

The highlight of the town however, is the tall Saint-Maclou Cathedral [Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville, +33 130322712] that dominates the upper town’s skyline. Erected over 5 centuries (12th-16th), this cathedral features Gothic, Flamboyant Gothic as well as Renaissance architectural styles. 


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1. Saint-Maclou Cathedral  2. Musée Tavet-Delacour  3. Musée Camille Pissarro