Here is the perfect stopover in a mobile home! Amiens, a city of art and history, is also appreciated for its relaxing gardens, parks, and canals. From hortillonnages to the cathedral, the must-see sites can be reached on foot or by bike, in the city center on a human scale. Our advice to visit the former capital of Picardie. Written by Anthony Moisson
Surrounded by water and greenery, Amiens well deserves its name, the Venice of the North. Numerous parks, gardens, lakes, and other canals offer residents and visitors places to recharge their batteries near the bustle of the city.
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Unique in France: hortillonnages
Among the sites of the city that help to relax, one is distinguished: hortillonnages. Very important in the Middle Ages, the Horthion almost disappeared in the 70s, but one of the associations managed to preserve it. Today they are the pride of the people of Amiens. These 300 hectare gardens attract many tourists, gardening enthusiasts or simple families looking for an original activity. The plots of land dotted with canals can only be visited on a flat-bottomed boat. Nearby, Parc Saint-Pierre is an ideal place for a stroll. The tow lane that crosses it allows you to reach the Bay of the Somme by bike.
A stroll around the Saint-Leu . district
The historic Saint-Leu district in the north of the city is still worth a long stop. Very popular, it was renovated in the 1990s. Water is ubiquitous in this former industrial area. Rehabilitated factories and small red-brick workers’ homes dot the shoulders of half-timbered buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries. To see the area and its cobbled streets from another angle, an unusual path allows you to discover the monumental works of “street artists”. At nightfall, San Liu comes alive. The young and trendy restaurants, bars and performance halls along Quai Bélu attract the young and trendy.
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Crossing the Kanji Bridge, a work of art from 1422 that was part of the medieval ramparts, you reach the upper town, where Notre Dame Cathedral reaches its climax. This 13th century Gothic building is the largest in France. With an area of 7,700 square meters, it is located twice in Notre Dame de Paris! From the forecourt, the west facade imposes itself with its three gates, rose windows and two towers over 60 meters high. It offers you one of the most beautiful statues in France. All in exceptional preservation. Inside, the height under the cabinets is impressive. After climbing the towers, the children will try to get out of the maze in the nave. Parents or grandparents could go into the choir to see the wooden stalls where the canons sat, or the amazing, well-preserved stone ramparts.
Take to the skies by visiting Belfry
The city icon miraculously survived the German bombing of 1918 and the May 1940 fire that destroyed 60% of the historic centre. If other relics have been saved, this is not the case for the 15th century bell tower, which burned down three times. Its dome was similarly rebuilt in 1989. This typical building of northern France is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take advantage of the guided tours to reach the balcony, which offers a wonderful 360-degree view of the city.
It’s time to go back in time
A few meters away, the impressive 18th-century town hall is in the middle of the pedestrian center. The absence of cars on the main axis allows you to roam without restrictions and easily discover all the secrets of the historical center. Well ventilated, the city gives way to promenades. A 19th-century clock here, Art Deco facades there, Renaissance-style buildings on the left, the bandstand on the right. We travel through the centuries.
culture in ambush
Continuing south, a visit to the Musée de Picardie is a must. This Palace of Fine Arts is the first museum built in France in the time of Napoleon III. Like the small Louvre, it houses impressive collections of paintings, sculptures, and art objects, ranging from archeology to the contemporary period. Continuing on rue de la République, remember to take a look at the Louis Aragon Library, before proceeding to the Albert 1er Post. On this main avenue stands the amazing Jules Verne Circus. Classified as a historical monument, this place is exhibited all year round. To follow in the footsteps of the famous author, simply walk down the street bearing his name to reach his home. He lived there from 1882 to 1900. It was here that he wrote his last adventure novels, such as “Around the World in 80 Days.” Real diving in the nineteenth century! An “extraordinary journey” through time, as one might do on every street corner in a city rich in history.
To complete your visit
zoo and blue flag
For families, a visit to the zoo is a must. Just a few minutes from the city center, this 7-hectare park is home to 120 animal species, some of which are endangered. For a lunch break, stop by the Blue Flag. The restaurant in the park is worth a look. Since the 19th century, it has provided a rustic environment for visitors with water. Its windows and wooden decorations have recently been renovated. At lunchtime, a bistro menu is served. In the evening, put on the menu.
- Open from February 1 through mid-November.
- Esplanade de la Hotoie 80000 Amiens.
- Prices: youth from 3 to 15 years, 6 euros; Adults (16 years and over), €9.50.
Madeleine’s Landscape Cemetery
Created in the eighteenth century, it is considered one of the most beautiful romantic cemeteries in France. It has been listed as a historical monument since 1995 and covers an area of 18 hectares. In a wooded mountain park, we discover ancient funerary monuments, including the tomb of Jules Verne. This cemetery, where Amiens notables rest, allows you to understand the history of the city thanks to the diversity of burials.
- Find out on your own or with a guide.
- 480 St. Maurice Street 80000 Amiens
This magnificent castle was built at the end of the 16th century. She initially worked to protect the city from invaders before becoming a prison, then a barracks. Located in the northwest of the city, it now welcomes students on a campus redesigned by architect Renzo Piano. This place is a nice place to walk. Climbing up the ramp that reaches the balcony of the main building, you will have a great view of the city.
- Boulevard des Fusillés 80000 Amiens
- Amiens Macaroon: It has nothing to do with meringue colored candy. This specialty from Amiens, made from natural products (almonds, honey, eggs, etc.), looks like a slightly rounded and pressed sweetness. Its manufacture dates back to the sixteenth century.
- Whipped cake: Another delicacy that is inseparable from the city, sourdough cake is a type of brioche that is airy and tender. Rich in butter and eggs, it has the shape of a chef’s hat.
- Amiens duck pate: A specialty that is best taken as a beginner. As its name suggests, this pie is made with boneless duck. You can also add foie gras. This dish, created in the 17th century, was gradually changed.
Parking, theater and services
Where do you stand during the day?
Parking is not prohibited in the city center. It is possible to park anywhere on the public road. But for long vehicles, it is preferable to give preference to suitable places. Several car parks are available in the center of Amiens.
- Au 93 Vidarbeh StreetFree parking, open 24 hours a day, allows you to walk to the city center within 5 minutes.
- In the Saint-Leu district, there is a small car park open all year round at 4 Podlok Street.
- Close to Hortillonnages and Saint-Pierre Park, the hotel upstream car park Vehicles less than 6 meters in height are welcome, from 9 am to 7 pm.
- explain it Boulevard Boulevard.
Where do you spend the night?
Camping site in Parc des Cygnes It is located northwest of Amiens in the heart of Grand Marais Park. Close to the Somme and the tow pass, it allows you to reach the city center in 20 minutes by bike (4.5 km). Bus lines also pass by the property. The camp site is open from April to October, and has 130 playgrounds and an emptying area for mobile homes. The cost of services is 6 euros. A night from 20 euros.
- GPS: N 49° 55’13.8 – E 2° 15’34.89
- Such as. : 03 22 43 29 28
The tourist office offers several guided tours: In the footsteps of Jules Verne, a one-and-a-half hour walk in the heart of the author’s “ideal city”. From July 2 to August 28, 2022: ChromaThe mega experience at Amiens cathedral. From May 26 to October 6 2022: International Garden Festival – hortillonnages.
- 23 Notre Dame Square
- Such as. : 03 22 71 60 50
A big thank you to Stephanie Cadet, from the Amiens Metropole Tourist and Convention Bureau, to Helen Lefevre from the Picardie Museum, to Fanny Lellavender from Jules Verne’s house and to Christophe Pollard, guide and lecturer.