Even though located only about 65 miles north of Paris, Soissons is relatively unknown as a tourist attraction in France. However, Soissons has a very rich heritage in French history being one of the oldest towns in all of France. In fact Soissons was the first capital of old France in 486 A.D. As a consequence you will find lots of historical buildings in Soissons today.
My Favorite Tourist Attractions in Soissons, France
The main tourist attractions in Soissons are the historical monuments that are scattered around the city.
- Visit the ruins of Saint Jean des Vignes Abbey. You can only see the ruins however, because that is all there is left.
- Visit Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais cathedral. This is the big church in the middle of town. Take time to visit the interior and you will be very impressed with the architectural detail.
- Visit the Soissons City Hall park. This is a lovely little park behind the City Hall building. There are lots of flowers and benches where you can rest.
- Take a stroll by the River Aisne. There is a path across the street from the City Hall building. You can stroll along the river and enjoy the scenery.
1. Visit the Old Churches of Soissons
If you take time to visit Soissons, you will be able to visit two of the oldest churches in France. The town is so steeped in history, and if you like old architecture and buildings you will be greatly rewarded in Soissons.
Beautiful flowers at the Saint Jean des Vignes Abbey in Soissons, France.
See more photos from Soissons, France
Saint Jean des Vignes Abbey was built in 1076 which makes it one of the oldest church buildings in France. Too bad there are only ruins left for the tourist today, but even these ruins are impressive.
2. Visit the Old Center of Soissons
Sometimes in France small towns are very crowded because they have a very famous tourist attraction (Take Versailles and Annecy for examples). This can make a small town feel like a big city when it is assaulted by tourists. Soissons, is a small town that always feels like a small town. The reason is because there is nothing famous in Soissons; well nothing famous as far as the tourists are concerned. We loved walking through the streets of Soissons however and tasting some of the desserts available.
Floral arrangements at City Hall in Soissons, France.
See more photos from Soissons, France
How to Get to Soissons?
The easiest way to get to Soissons is by train. There are frequent trains leaving for Soissons from Garre du Nord in Paris. The train ride takes around two hours and is very pleasant as the train winds its way through the French country side.
If you want to drive you have two ways to get to Soissons. The first and most direct way is to take the N2 highway directly from Paris to Soissons. The other way is to use the A4 freeway and going through Reims which is a famous tourist attraction located in the Champagne area of France. So if you want to visit Reims as well, A4 is your best route. Both routes however take about an hour and a half.
Is Soissons Worth Visiting?
I believe that Soissons will make a great day trip from Paris if you have the time. You can easily visit Reims from Soissons, because Reims is only about 35 miles east of Soissons. The road from Soissons to Reims is one of the most beautiful and scenic drives we took in France.
Take My SMART Travel Course and learn how to plan your travel confidently through step by step videos. Save money and frustration and become a SMART traveler using my time-tested travel strategy.
Read My SMART Travel Book and learn my best travel tips from 20+ years of international travel experience in less than 40 pages. These will save you lots of money and frustration on your next trip.