Amiens is the capital of the Somme region of Picardy and sits on the River Somme. It is a very popular destination for weekend breaks both for the British and for travellers who come from Paris, Brussels and Lille. Many are attracted by the very high number of historic monuments in Amiens, as well as to use the city as a base for visiting the area’s numerous Battle of the Somme memorials.
Driving from Calais to Amiens takes around 90 minutes so our crossing from Dover is ideal. Taking our Newhaven-Dieppe route also leaves you with a drive of the same distance. In both cases the drive from the ferry to Amiens will take you through the picturesque Normandy countryside.
WHY VISIT AMIENS?
Besides the many Amiens tourist attractions, including 53 monuments officially listed in the French inventory of historic monuments and 126 places and monuments in the general inventory of cultural heritage, there are many events each year which attract visitors from all over Europe and the world.
For example every August there is the Montgolfiade which commemorates the first ever balloon flight taken by the famous Amiens resident Jules Verne which took place in 1873. This spectacular event takes place in the Parc de la Hotoie and sees between 20 and 30 hot air balloons take off, accompanied by readings from Jules Verne’s book.
Every December the centre of Amiens is overtaken by one of the biggest Christmas markets in Northern France. As well as over 100 stalls selling everything from arts and crafts to Christmas decorations there’s an open-air ice rink and spectacular and atmospheric son et lumiere displays at the cathedral
Amiens also boasts more than its fair share of gastronomic delicacies to enjoy including macarons d’Amiens, almond paste biscuits called tuiles amienoises and a pastry tart with leeks and cream called flamiche aux poireaux.
WHAT TO SEE IN AMIENS
There is so much to see and do that any holiday in Amiens is sure to have a very packed schedule.
The city's most famous landmark is the Notre-Dame Cathedral which is the largest in the world by interior volume – so large, in fact, that it has twice the capacity of the Notre-Dame in Paris. With its oldest parts dating back to the 13th century it's in the Gothic style and its façade is decorated with more than 3000 statues and gargoyles.
The magnificent Cirque Jules Verne is a building built in a 16-sided polygonal shape and which houses many circus and theatrical events all round the year. Named after Jules Verne, who opened it on the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution in 1889, it can hold 3,000 spectators but still retains a comfortable and intimate atmosphere.
Verne's links with the city can also be seen at the house that he lived in from 1882 until 1890. It's where he wrote "Around the World in 80 Days" and visitors can see where he got much of his inspiration in the house's 12,000 book library. There are also models of flying machines that he imagined and the desk where he wrote another of his most famous books, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
Amiens was at the heart of the Battle of the Somme in the First World War and now, a century later, there are many tours available of the battlefields where the fighting took place. In the village of Albert, around 30 kms from Amiens, the Musée Somme 1916 tells the story of this part of the war with moving accounts of the soldiers' bravery and sacrifice.
Les Hortillonnages are spectacular gardens in a swampy area of Amiens and which can only be visited by boat. Take a guided tour aboard one of them and you'll drift through the network of canals and see unusual plant and wildlife over the 300 hectares that have been cultivated since the Middle Ages.
WHERE TO STAY IN AMIENS
There are plenty of hotels in Amiens to choose from according to your budget and needs. You'll find many Amiens hotels, when you visit our partner, booking.com.
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