Amiens is discovering a city on a human scale, surrounded by nature, where it is good to walk, recharge your batteries and get away from it all.
Recharge your batteries on the towpath in the heart of the hortillonnages
Amiens proves to be a wonderful natural stopover, where it is good to walk along the Somme, on the towpath, a totally developed bank on 160 kilometres along the river. Starting from the Saint-Pierre park, the path winds its way through the heart of the hortillonnages, the city's green lung. It is a quiet place to stroll along and is also very popular with joggers and cyclists. You will have the opportunity to observe the decorated bridges of some private dwellings along the canals and their recreational gardens. The route is 7 kilometres round trip. The return trip offers walkers a magnificent view of the Cathedral
If you deviate a little from the towpath, you will also be able to discover an amazing market garden in the heart of the city, less than ten minutes from the Cathedral. The hortillonnages are best visited with a guide in a traditional cornet's boat, on part of the 65 km of canals that link these ancient marshes. The mosaic of gardens is delightful with small vegetable gardens, beautiful flower beds or simply perfectly laid out places to relax.
The hortillonnages are also equipped with a formidable soil for the market gardening of the city. These vegetables can be found in particular on the market stalls by the waterfront, in the Saint-Leu district, on Saturday mornings, as well as on several other markets in the city
The town and its surrounding countryside also abounds with addresses of local producers who will be happy to welcome you directly to their farms. You will find all the good addresses on the website of the Tourist Office (www.amiens-tourisme.com).
The International Garden Festival and its "well-being" activities
The special horticultural area is even more attractive during the International Garden Festival, the 2021 edition of which is due to open on 22 May. Over its 11 editions, this Festival has welcomed more than 450,000 visitors who have come to admire 170 ephemeral or perennial creations created by landscape gardeners, architects, visual artists and designers in the midst of these market gardens. During the last edition, during the summer months, the Festival, in conjunction with theAmiens Métropole Tourist and Convention Bureau, had the good idea of offering a wellness time to recharge one's batteries on Ile aux Fagots, accessible on foot. Visitors were able to enjoy musical (musical naps) or poetic (storytelling) performances. Workshops on self-massage, sylvotherapy, singing and development of the five senses also attracted a family audience. The 2021 edition will also be rich in experiences related to well-being. The programme will be available on the Festival website and on the Facebook page of the event and the Tourist Office website
Saint-Leu: a district to the rhythm of the Somme River
If you follow the Somme towards the town centre, you will arrive in the heart of the Saint-Leu district, an ideal place to stop for a break on a terrace, have a drink and contemplate the Cathedral, which reveals itself from yet another angle. In the Middle Ages, this part of town supplied with water by the arms of the Somme welcomed weavers, dyers, tanners and millers. At the time, it was one of the city's most underprivileged districts. Nicknamed Little Venice by Louis XI, the district has metamorphosed over the years to become what we know today: a trendy and student district, very lively at weekends. The area boasts small, narrow houses along the canals, a little like Amsterdam, and includes several cultural addresses (independent cinema, theatres, concert halls)
Cultural visits in slow mode
You'll soon understand that Amiens is not visited on the spur of the moment. On a human scale, the city allows these slow strolls along the banks of the Somme, but also in the heart of the city centre. You will not be able to leave Amiens without visiting the Cathedral, which celebrates its 800th anniversary until September 2021 as well as the 40th anniversary of its first UNESCO inscription (1981-2021). Its dimensions leave you dreaming. It is the largest cathedral in France and is twice the size of its Parisian cousin. It also has the highest nave in the country, with 42.30 metres under the vaults. The light that pierces the stained-glass windows dresses the Cathedral in magnificent colours.
The general harmony is completed by elements on which the eye can linger for a long time: the central labyrinth, the bronze recumbent figures, the golden Virgin and the famous "Weeping Angel". Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this monument deserves to be celebrated and admired. The Chroma show also participates in this discovery or rediscovery. At nightfall, it consists of a formidable sound and light performance on the façade
Breathing, airing out: doing sport in Amiens
Less than 2 hours from Paris, Amiens is the place to be for city dwellers in search of fresh air. Several large green spaces allow you to walk around and simply breathe. Parc Saint-Pierre is a perfect example. Close to the Saint-Leu district and the city center, the 22-hectare contemporary landscaped park showcases the water and vegetation of the district. It is the ideal place for a family picnic, a game of football, basketball or a simple stroll while observing the swans and ducks on the lake. La Hotoie Park is also an ideal playground for the whole family. The latter is next to the Amiens Métropole zoo, which is undergoing a facelift. The opening of two new areas and the arrival of the tigers have already convinced visitors. And because green is everywhere in Amiens, the city abounds in superb gardens such as the very successful Jardin des Plantes
A little further away from the city, Samara, the great natural park of Prehistory, also offers a green setting of about thirty hectares. While walking, reconstructions and animations allow you to immerse yourself in an era that is as fascinating as ever
If you want to get some exercise during your stay, you can visit the hortillonnages by kayak or cycle along the Somme thanks to the Véloroute (cycle route) along the towpath. It offers 125 km of very pleasant bicycle paths that link the bay of the Somme to Abbeville. To leave from the Somme Bay side, you can start at the Montières lock in the Grand Marais park. To get to the other side, go to the Pont d'Amont car park. Itineraries punctuated with remarkable viewpoints and Maisons de Vallée which will welcome you for a deserved break. And if you're into "sport fun", go a few kilometres away, to the water ski lift of Dreuil-lès-Amiens. Towed at 30 km/h, you will have fun water skiing, wakeboarding or kneeboarding! We also advise you to go and try the only natural rafting spot in the north of France, in Picquigny. Fun guaranteed with friends! On site, you can also try to find your balance on a stand up paddle. Want some more? Then let's go for a parachute jump from the Glisy airfield. It's the only time during your stay when Notre-Dame will seem small to you!
When? Amiens is visited all year round. In the summer, the city offers a rich cultural activity. Some dates to remember: the 25th Amiens Comic Strip Festival on 5 and 6 June 2021; the International Garden Festival, Hortillonnages d'Amiens, from 22 May to 17 October 2021; the Festival La Rue est à Amiens, from 11 to 13 June 2021; the show "Chroma, L'Expérience monumentale", every evening from 18 June to 19 September 2021 (free).
To get there. By car, Amiens is 1h15 from Paris. By train, Amiens is located 1 hour from Paris. The city benefits from the proximity of a TGV service with the Haute-Picardie TGV station (20 minutes by motorway). By bus, with the companies FlixBus and BlaBlaBus which stop at the bus station, right in the city centre
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