Ancient architecture, war history and a colorful cityscape of canals and floating gardens make Amiens one of northern France’s most popular vacation destinations. The city is the capital of the Somme department, the scene of massive land battles during World War I. Travel a couple of miles outside the city to visit battlefield sites, museums and war graves.
Visit the Cathedrale Notre-Dame d’Amiens, a famous city landmark. The 13th-century church is the largest Gothic cathedral in France. Admire the architecture and the many statues that adorn the exterior, then explore the vast interior.
A couple of minutes’ walk from the cathedral is Saint-Leu, one of the oldest districts in Amiens. Stroll the narrow streets lined with bookstores and art galleries. While you are in the neighborhood, catch an independent film at the art-house theater Ciné Saint-Leu.
Learn about a famous former Amiens resident when you tour the Maison de Jules Verne. The French novelist and playwright lived in this four-story house from 1882 to 1900. View exhibits that are inspired by some of his fantastical stories.
Other cultural highlights include the Musée de Picardie, a fine art museum established in 1867. The collections span thousands of years and include Egyptian pottery, 12th-century sculptures and paintings by masters such as El Greco.
Along with its architecture and museums, Amiens has some outstanding places of natural beauty. Relax in Parc Saint-Pierre, a landscaped park with ponds and an ornamental lake. Go on a boat trip through Les Hortillonnages d’Amiens, an extensive plot of floating gardens crisscrossed by more than 40 miles (65 kilometers) of canals. Alternatively, you can visit the gardens by taking the footpaths.
The architecture, history, canals and gardens of Amiens are less than a 2-hour drive from Paris. Come on a daytrip or spend your entire vacation here.