20 minutes from Arras, Savy-Berlette is a well balanced mix of Artois architectural tradition and industrial development. For over a century a sugar refinery has set the pace of life in this village, which is intersected by the River Scarpe. Known today for its agricultural college and its crocketed church spire, Savy-Berlette has some fascinating stories to tell.
Starting with the town hall
Make your way to the presbytery, which is actually the town hall!
It’s a conversion that sets the pattern for elsewhere in the village. Behind its smart shutters and pretty limestone and brick gable, this building hides a long history stretching back as far as the sixteenth century when it was attached to the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Eloi. The council offices have only recently been installed there. It bears witness to the desire to preserve the village’s local heritage. This is the starting point for your discovery of the Village Patrimoine© trail.
One of the tallest churches in Artois
The first stage is close by: the Church of Saint-Martin looks down over the presbytery from the full height of its crocketed spire!
It is one of the oldest and tallest spires in the Pays d’Artois! It dates back to the sixteenth century, has five levels and – without a shadow of a doubt – was designed with defence in mind! Local people hold their church in great affection, in particular through a group of volunteers who are painstakingly restoring it under the watchful eye of the Historical Monuments authority. Its confessional, pulpit and stoups are included on the French supplementary historical monument list.
An inhabited refinery
Another of the village’s highlights: the chimney of the former sugar refinery on the other side of the road.
It is a totem to local industry, telling the story of more than a century of sugar beet processing between 1804 and 1968. Today, the factory buildings are home to a school of dance, a media library, a nursery, a music room and apartments. As for the former château, that is now an agricultural college! Yet another way of preserving the local heritage into the twenty-first century.
At the school of curiosity
Have you heard of Émile Decroix?
The 939 Savinois, as the people of Savy-Berlette are known, certainly have! In the long Rue des Écoles (linking the two villages of Savy and Berlette, which were amalgamated in 1790), a monument honours his memory. So who was he? A vet, founder of the anti-tobacco society and promoter of the consumption of horse meat! Absolutely true! Alongside, a highly unusual Art Deco War Memorial draws the eye with its double stone staircase and finely worked handrail. Would you like to find out more? Then come!
Savy-Berlette in practice
- Communauté de communes du Pays de l’Artois
- Explore further as you follow the discovery trail “Les Deux seigneuries” (8 stages). It is signposted from the town hall. It can be supplemented with three additional stops on the Villages Patrimoine© trail.
- On the spot: a bakery, the restaurant La Chambord and a gîte.