Amiens is a vastly underrated city in France, known for its fairy tale city centre and rich history. Amiens is also the backdrop of the fierce Battle of the Somme in the First World War, one of the bloodiest battles in recent Human history.
As Amiens is only 116km from Paris – less than a 2 hour drive, it is the perfect city for a little day trip.
Amiens is also known for its famous Gothic Cathedral, Medieval Belfry, its gorgeous floating market and of course the Maison de Jules Verne.
As Amiens is often seen as one of the most beautiful cities in France, I have put together a list of the 10 best things to do and see in Amiens.
Notre Dame De Amiens
Notre-Dame de Amiens is the jewel of the city. The Gothic building was built in the thirteenth century and has since been the largest Gothic cathedral in France. Over the years there have been a number of extensions and adjustments, such as the second gallery between the towers on the front facade. The visible highlights of Amiens Cathedral are the beautiful floor, the nave, statues of André Beaunevau, the tombs of the bishops Geoffroy d’Eu and Évrard de Fouilloy and the Baroque pulpit. Of course there are many more beautiful details to discover. As part of Unesco World Heritage, you should not miss a visit to this impressive Amiens Cathedral.
Jules Verne House
The critically acclaimed writer Jules Verne was a famous resident of Amiens. With titles such as “Cinq semaines en ballon” five weeks in a balloon and “Le Tour du monde en quatre-filts jours” a journey around the world in eighty days, he managed to win over many literary fans. His stories and the vision of the future mentioned therein are remarkable. The house in which he and his wife Honorine settled around 1882 is now an open museum. You get a clear picture of his life and his passions here.
Musee De Picardie
The impressive art museum of Amiens is housed in a beautiful old building, the architectural style of which can be described as “second empire”. This architectural style was mainly used during the second half of the nineteenth century. Inaugurated in 1867, the museum has exhibited a variety of art from different centuries. The archeology department is located in the basement of the museum. Here you will find parts of Roman murals found at Pompei, jewelry from the fifth century and even a mummy. The musee de Picardie is a museum of inestimable value and very special inside and out.
Zoo Amiens Metropole
Amiens Zoo can be found on Esplanade Hotoie, just outside the city center. The six-hectare park has about sixty different animal species. The park was established in 1952 and gradually the animal species has been expanded. Today you will find sea lions, cranes, penguins, wolves, zebras, elephants, iguanas and monkeys.
The area that is called in Amiens les Hortillonnages is a kind of floating garden. In this part of Amiens people used to be supplied with fruit and vegetables. The goods were traded via boats and there was a lot of trade. Every year in June people will wear traditional clothing and the market looks like centuries ago. A trip through the more than sixty-five kilometers of canals provides an excellent opportunity to explore the more than three hundred hectares of Hortillonnages d’Amiens by boat. The flora and fauna within this nature reserve are an experience in itself.
Cimetiere de la Madeleine
This Amiens cemetery is located outside the city center. Cimetière de la Madeleine came into use around 1817 and has had quite a few prominent names on graves ever since. The grave of the famous inhabitant of Amiens, Jules Verne, can also be found here. You will also find military graves of soldiers who fell during the bombings of the Second World War. Other famous or influential persons buried here are Jean-Baptiste Dijon, Georges Guittet, Pierre Lefort, Rene Daveluy and Charles Gabriel Vérecque. The wooded area and the fauna present within this hilly area give you the feeling of being in a park. It is therefore a wonderful resting point for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle.
Parc du Grand Marais
This twenty-two hectare park is located in the west of Amiens. This beloved park is frequently used by hikers, skaters and sports enthusiasts. This Parc du Grand Marais and its playground are also gladly visited for a family picnic. The existing water and the accompanying bridges provide romantic pictures.
Le Grand Parc Naturel de la Prehistoire Samara
In addition to the botanical garden of Amiens, the historical park of Samara also contains a piece of history. Through various reconstructions, an attempt has been made to reflect different episodes from the past. For example, there are old houses to visit, old crafts are performed and there are some archaeological findings on display. This lively museum and park is a lot of fun and educational to visit. In the accompanying arboretum you can discover different tree species such as the ginkgo.
This part of the city is fondly referred to as the Venice of Amiens. The many canals containing the river Somme quickly provide the resemblance. The area is popular for visiting art galleries, bookstores, antique dealers and the cozy terraces. A water market can be visited on Saturdays. You have to get out of bed early for this, because this is only in the morning.
Amiens Christmas market
The Christmas Market of Amiens is known in France as one of the best and most beautiful Christmas Markets in the country. aAbsolutely everything is pulled out of the closet for this grand event. For no less than five weeks, the city center is filled with the most beautiful Christmas decorations, cozy stalls, all kinds of delicacies and above all, fun. From the Ferris wheel, the city with all its lights can be admired in a unique way. Even the cathedral is decked out in a matching way.