Located about 120 kilometers from Paris, Amiens is the prefecture of Somnes department. The city was pounded mercilessly during World War II, and the pockmarks on the buildings still tell the tale to people passing through the city. The traffic is heavy, and most of the city is like any other city today. The landmarks from history are what make Amiens worth going to.
Sights at Amiens – The Cathedral
There is a lot to be seen and experienced from the days of yore at Amiens. The most famous landmark and a must-see for anyone visiting the country is the cathedral in the city. The cathedral at Amiens, called the Cathédrale Notre Dame, has been declared a World Heritage Site. Under the supervision of architect Robert de Luzarches, it was built in the classical Gothical mould way back in the 13th century, and remains the biggest structure of its kind in all of France.
The earlier cathedral was consumed by a fire in 1220, and a new one was constructed in its place. The new cathedral was ready in 1247. Full of architectural beauty, the first thing that you will notice is the triple-tiered elevation in the interior. The principal façade is lined with intricately detailed gothic sculptures. Keep your eyes out during your tour through the cathedral, and you’ll notice the sculptures turning up in other parts such as the labyrinth, and the south transept.
There have been many comments about the Amiens Cathedral, the most apt being that it is known as the ‘Parthenon among all Gothic architecture.’
Other Sights at Amiens
Another sight worth visiting is quartier St-Leu. This is a network of canals as well as cottages. Constructed in the Flemish mould, this area once served as the central hub for the textile industry.
The hortillonages also draw tourists in and let people glimpse into centuries past. The hortillonages are Market gardens that have been created on little islands on the marshlands at the edge of the city, along the river Somne. They are connected to each other by a well-knit maze of artificial canals.
More about Amiens
Besides the architectural and cultural aspects to Amiens, there are other tidbits of information about the city that make for interesting reading. For instance, Clovis Trouille (1888-1975) was born in Amiens. Amiens has played place of origin to some famous personalities, including the famous resistance leader from World War II Odette Sansom (19112-1995) and also Peter the Hermit. Another thing to know is that Jules Verne was in fact member of Amiens’ City Council continuously from the year 1888 till his demise in 1905. Also, during World War I, the Battle of Amiens was the phase that marked the start of the Hundred Days Offensive.
Amiens is a century-old city full of culture and behind every chipped building block, every narrow canal, there’s a story that leads back thousands of years. That’s why even today people flock to the city to find out what made people tick a thousand years ago. It’s a sharp contrast of barbarism and calculated finesse in the city of Amiens, France.