Origins of the name: ‘wambreck’, from ancient Germanic dialects, meaning ‘sterile’ or ‘fallow’, owing to the fact that the land was originally uncultivated due to the frequent flooding of the Deûle. Wambrechies, the home of the juniper berry, is a pleasant town on the banks of the Deûle with a host of tourist sites to visit. Although there are texts mentioning Wambrechies from the 12th century, the parish is in fact much older. The village experienced a significant expansion when Joan of Constantinople, the Countess of Flanders, canalised the Lower Deûle from Lille to Deûlémont. At this time, Wambrechies was the only place north of Lille where one could traverse the river and where the first structure was built on the waterway to cross over the first drop.
The 1868 town hall
A reflection of the local culture, this building is the work of Tourcoing-born architect Charles Maillard. Martel Obert, Viscount of Quévy, devoted years of his life and a large share of his fortune giving the centre of Wambrechies a change of image by building a proper town square. In 1859, he tabled the plan for the town hall. Today, the Hôtel de Ville known as the ‘1868 town hall’ hosts a wedding function room on the first floor.
The Church of St Vedast was reconstructed in 1860 on the site of the former 14th-century church burned down during the French Wars of Religion. In the Gothic Revival style, it was designed by Charles Leroy, the architect who also built Notre Dame de la Treille Cathedral in Lille. It was thanks to Martel Obert, the Viscount of Quévy and the town’s mayor at that time, who resolved to donate his fortune to developing the village, that the church was rebuilt.
Roye Caenevet Pharmacy
The town did not have its first pharmacy until the late 19th century. The interior of the pharmacy is filled floor to ceiling with ornate wooden cabinets and shelving carved with motifs inspired by the profession.
Château de Robersart
This property was home to the last lords of Wambrechies, including Martel Obert, Viscount of Quévy, who was the town’s mayor for 39 years and financed a major part of the construction of the 1868 town hall and the church. Originally named Château de Wambrechies, the last countess, Juliette de Robersart, died there in 1900 and the château was named after her. Long abandoned in terms of maintenance and upkeep, the château was sold to the town for a symbolic sum of one franc in 1982.
Fêtes de Robersart : organised by the Robersart Festival Committee, this event takes place in the grounds of the Château de Robersart every Whitsun weekend. Expect running races, kermess (bike races), festive refreshments, jumble sales and more.
Fêtes des Allumoirs : this lantern festival marks the start of autumn and is held every October at the Château de Robersart. Parades and fireworks.
Eurotoy : the international vintage toy and doll fair takes place over one day in September.