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the river valley town of Compeigne is fifty miles north of Paris and is centred around its enormous palace

The most outstanding building in Compiègne is without doubt the fabulous royal palace - the Château Compiègne - which was built for Louis XV and lived in by Napoleon. The château, which stands in glorious parkland, now houses three museums. One displays the residential apartments, another is the Museum of the Second Empire and the third is a fascinating collection of historical figures including a collection of more than 100,000 toy soldiers.

Is there a local speciality?
Watch yourself, it's cake and chocolates. The Gâteau de Compiègne in particular is worth a bite or two.

Any good activities around?
When you’ve finished wandering around the museums, you could have a round or two of golf at one of the local golf courses. For a more ambitious taste of the great outdoors, head for the forest of Compiègne. It’s famous for its cycling and walking trails, not to mention superb fishing.

When's market day?
Compiègne doesn't lack for markets. Here are the main ones. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays – flower market, Place de l' Hotel de Ville. Wednesday and Saturday mornings – food market, Rue Saint Corneille and Rue Charles-le-Chauve.

 Interesting town fact
Joan of Arc was captured here.