Solesmes history

County town, Solesmes had a prosperous industrial past. With Henri-Eugene Delacroix paintings, the city offers other curiosities.

Small town located in the North of France, Solesmes was mentioned for the first time in 706, when King Childebert II gave it to the Saint Denis Abbey.

The monks established a priory and developed the area for around nine centuries.


Facing financial difficulties, Solesmes managed to remain a "French" town up until 1605 although surrounded by Hainaut, Burgundy and newly Spanish territories.

St Denis monks shared the property more and more with other authorities such as the Archbishop of Cambrai.

During the French revolution, the domain is divided.


Through the XIXe century, several weaving mills, a sugar refinery, a distillery and a tubes factory flourished.

This prosperity is demonstrated by the town hall rich decoration. The famous painter Henri-Eugène Delacroix and the renowned musicologist François-Chéri Delsarte - who is related to the composer Georges Bizet - were all born at that time.


Solesmes was badly affected by the two wars. On May 9th 1944 there were 58 victims of the American Raid on the city.

The subsequent industrial recession brought an important population decline.


It isn't possible to write about Solesmes without mentioning its traditional carnival. The inhabitants of Solesmes sprinkle water over passers-by in remembrance of an insurrection of farmers against the monks of the priory.



Office de Tourisme du Cambrésis
48,rue Henri de Lubac
Tél: +3 3( 0) 32 77 83 61 5



Whether they follow the Escaut, drive along country roads, discover the picturesque alleys of the old Cambrai, fortified farms, museums, learn about Matisse and Blériot, lace ang giants, tourists will understand why the inhabitants of this part of France are so happy to welcome them and will feel like coming back.

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