Classed as “France’s most beautiful village”, Gerberoy is not short of charm. Think cobbled streets, rose-covered half-timbered buildings and magnificent views over lush countryside.
Gerberoy is located in the department of Oise, Picardy, in northern France, on the border of Seine-Maritime and Normandy. It’s one of the smallest villages in France, but with a surprising number of things to see and do.


At least 1,000 years old, the village of Gerberoy has had a dramatic past. It was an important stronghold due to its elevated position and has survived multiple sieges and assaults over the centuries.
The town was destroyed and rebuilt several times and, from the Middle Ages onwards, was largely abandoned. A hidden beauty, it was barely known until the arrival of painter Henri Le Sidaner in the early 20th century. He was an artist of the “intimist movement”. Born in Mauritius in 1862.
His family settled in Dunkirk, and Le Sidaner studied art at the Etaples art colony. His paintings captured intimate moments of domestic interiors and gardens. And Gerberoy, recommended to him by his friend, the sculptor Rodin, was the perfect inspiration for his brush. With its 17th and 18th century houses and winding cobbled streets, Gerberoy is a town from another time.


Gerberoy is not a large village. So it’s easy to wander its enchanting streets and soak up the atmosphere.
It’s a very quiet, romantic place. Although during the busy months, it can be very crowded, as many people are attracted by its beauty.
One of the main attractions is the garden created by the artist Henri Le Sidaner. The artist moved here in 1901 and created an Italianate-style garden on rolling land that he painted many times. The garden remains true to its vision, with roses, pathways and fabulous views over the rooftops of Gerberoy.


Le Sidaner’s legacy goes even further. He suggested that residents plant climbing roses. He loved flowers and enjoyed capturing the beauty of roses in bloom. The locals loved his idea, which brought color to the pretty village. And, eventually, it became an official decree requiring residents to grow roses! In 1928, the first Rose Festival took place, and since then it has been held every year on the third Sunday in June, attracting thousands of visitors to this tiny corner of paradise.
Roses and many other plants cover the walls of Gerberoy. Flowers of all kinds, including magnificent hydrangeas, can be found in front of every house lining the cobbled streets.


Gardeners and lovers of beauty will also adore Le Jardin des Ifs, a listed Jardin remarquable with an incredible garden of topiary yews. You can even sit inside a century-old yew that was voted France’s National Tree of the Year in 2018! The gardens are part of “Le Vidame”, a 16th-century residence once enjoyed by important local officials. It’s the only historic house open to the public in Gerberoy, as it’s also a tea room and superb restaurant (open from May to October, and reservations are recommended). Be sure to try P’tit Gerberoy, a cheese made with candied roses by the famous cheesemaker Julien Planchon.
In town, browse the small art galleries and watch artists at work, like Ako, a glass artist who makes exquisite jewelry before your very eyes, wielding his blowtorch like a paintbrush. He manages to capture the sunlight in his creations.


As well as the pleasures of simply strolling through Gerberoy, there are also some historic buildings to see, including the 15th-century collegiate church of Saint-Pierre. The houses on Rue du Logis du Roy are among the oldest in the village. The Maison Henri IV, for example, was home to Henri IV when he was wounded in battle in 1591.
In the center of the village is the Hôtel de Ville. Below it is the covered market, and above the market is a small museum displaying objects linked to Gerberoy’s history. Number 7 rue Henri le Sidaner was once the artist’s home and studio.
You can also follow the walk around the ramparts that originally defended Gerberoy, from where you have a good view of Le Sidaner’s garden terraces.
At the top of the village, the fortress once dominated the village, but little remains of it. Instead, the fortress provides a fitting site for Le Sidaner’s pretty Italian garden.


Today, you can visit its lovely terraced garden, laid out according to different color themes. Le Sidaner also added a kiosk inspired by the “temple of love” built for Marie-Antoinette in the gardens of the Trianon. It was built on the ruins of the ancient fortress that once defended Gerberoy.
Even today, you’re likely to see artists following in Sidaner’s footsteps, quietly painting pictures of the pretty streets.
Gerberoy is a celebration of a facet of French rural life, its hamlets, which represent an essential aspect of Gallic identity, and one of its greatest charms. You may realize that Gerberoy is actually in Picardy, which is true, but it’s close enough, both geographically and in spirit, to Normandy to be considered Norman. Its tranquil setting and charming half-timbered buildings have been forgotten for so long, and are so far removed from contemporary France and the modern world, that they’re well worth the ninety-minute drive north of Paris.