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Amiens France the cathedral Amiens

Amiens France

There are some great beaches on the way south from Boulogne to Amiens, but Amiens is mainly known for its cathedral and studenty atmosphere. It was greatly damaged during WWI and II but the medieval quarter, Quartier St Leu, north of the cathedral, has been restored to its former glory.

St Leu was the centre of the town's textile industry until the factories moved to the outskirts of town, and it is now a web of canals and Flemish cottages, with restaurants and clubs along the waterfront.


Amiens' two stations (Amiens Nord and the gare routière) are both next to place A. Figuet, and the tourist office is at 6bis rue Dusevel (03 22 71 60 50), south of the cathedral near the place Gambetta.

Map of Amiens

The Cathédrale Notre Dame is the largest French Gothic building and known for its architectural purity. There is a light show at 10pm in the summer and over Christmas demonstrating how the building would have looked when coloured. Ruskin was a huge fan of the interior's simplicity. Go to hear the Gregorian chanting at Sunday mass (10.15).

In the place Parmentier there is a market on Saturday mornings (marché sur l'eau) where some of the farmers from the market gardens (hortillonnages) still bring their produce by boat. You can take a boat to the hortillonnages for €5 from 54 bd de Beauvillé, and late June is the best time to visit.

The Musée du Picardie has lots of local history as well as some great paintings (€3, closed Mon). A portrait of Choderlos de Laclos, born here in 1741 and author of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, hangs in the Hôtel de Berny near the cathedral (€1.60). Entry to Jules Verne's house at 2 rue Dubois costs €2.30. For hand crafted marionettes pop along to 67 rue de Don. The Samara park/museum runs through the history of man from prehistoric to modern day (€9). In March there is a week long jazz festival; June heralds the weekend Fête d'Amiens; November is time for the cinema festival.

A good eating spot is place du Don below the cathedral where you will find Soupe à Cailloux and its €11 lunch/€15 dinner menus. La Couronne, 64 rue St Leu, only serves its delicious French and regional cuisine menus of €16/€20/€27 Monday Friday and Sunday lunch. Try eating in a 14th century boatwright's workshop at Les Marissons, Pont de la Dodane (03 22 92 96 66), where menus are €40 and €50 à la carte. A cheaper option is T'chiot Zinc at 18 rue Noyon opposite the stations where you can get €14 menus or €8 plats.