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Amiens - capital of the Somme

The city of Amiens, which lies in the north of France on the River Somme, is the prefecture or capital city of the Somme department. The region is, of course, forever connected with the terrible battles fought in the world wars, particularly during the first world war, and it was certainly badly damaged at these times. It retains, however, great interest both historically and architecturally, and has a charm and character that makes it extremely pleasant to visit. There is also the advantage of being so close to all the major routes into France from the UK, with Paris, the Tunnel and the ferry ports all within easy reach.

Amien's Gothic cathedral

One of France's most famous and photographed cathedrals is situated at Amiens. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is the biggest Gothic building in France, and is particularly remarkable for the purity of style with which it is built. Unlike so many in France, the cathedral was almost completed within a very short time scale, giving it a uniformity of period features rendering it quite unique and of huge architectural interest. The cathedral is in superb condition, but it has lost some of its original colour, so there is a laser light show held during the busy summer which projects the colours onto the west face of the building to give an idea of what it once was.

Ancient quarter

The old quarter of St Lieu is a fascinating area of this historic city, and well worth your time to visit. Lying to the north of the cathedral, this consists of ancient cobbled streets, pretty colombage houses and a collection of Dutch and Flemish style cottages which once formed the centre of the textile industry. The area is now a bustling hub of life with many restaurants, bars, cafés and craft shops which attract tourists and locals alike. The restaurants here are of the highest quality in town, and the authentic olde worlde atmosphere is an added bonus.

Things to see and do in Amiens

Besides the cathedral and the St Lieu quarter, there are some other "must see" places in the city. There are some excellent museums to visit (particularly the Musée de Picardie), in which you can discover the past life of this great northern city. The Jules Verne Museum is also excellent.

The Hortillonnages of Amiens

The Hortillonnages or market gardens, which lie on the fertile marsh lands bordering the canals, are another place of fascination. It is possible to take a boat trip to view these, and to gain a glimpse into a unique way of life. Watch as the farmers gather their produce and load it into traditional black punts to take it to the market... then get to the market yourself and buy the best and freshest produce you will ever taste!

Festivals in Amiens

Like any French city, Amiens plays host to a number of festivals throughout the year. Some notable ones among the celebrations held in Amiens include a jazz festival in June, and a great traditional celebration of local culture and costume which takes place in peak summer.

How to get there

Reaching Amiens from the UK is very easy and inexpensive. The city is close to many of the ferry ports (particularly Le Havre, Calais, Dieppe and Boulogne) and also to the Channel tunnel. Those who like the speed of air travel will be pleased to find that it is also close to Paris, to where you can fly from almost any part of the UK with a good choice of airline, including British Airways, Air France, bmi, bmibaby, flybe, easyJet, Jet2, Thomsonfly and Aer Lingus.

Property availability and prices in and around Amiens

Property in the area close to the city can represent great value for money, especially when you consider its proximity to Paris. In general, prices in the Somme are low, and the region remains relatively undiscovered by foreign buyers. This is bound to change, as more and more buyers are seeking new investment or lifestyle opportunities, and property in Amiens could well prove to be an excellent investment in the future.

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WHERE IS Amiens?

Amiens is found in northern France, on the River Somme. It lies in the centre of the Somme department.

Amiens Property Map


Picardy Guide

Picardy Property Map


Somme Guide

  Somme Map

Population: 135,000

Access: By air: Fly to Paris. By rail: The Eurostar runs to Paris, and you can take a local service from there. By boat: You can reach Picardy from most of the northern ferry ports, with Calais, Boulogne, Dieppe and Le Havre being the nearest.

Economy: The principal economy (both traditionally and in modern times) is the textile industry, with velvet being of particular significance.

Interesting fact: The "Hortillonnages" or market gardens, which are situated in the wetlands on the edge of the canals of Amiens, are a unique feature of the city.

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