Recharge your batteries on the towpath in the heart of the hortillonnages
Amiens turns out to be a great natural stopover, where it is good to walk along the Somme, on the towpath, a fully landscaped bank for 160 kilometers along the river. Starting from Saint-Pierre Park , the path winds through the heart of the hortillonnages, the city’s true green lung. You can walk there quietly 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 path is 7 kilometers round trip. The return offers walkers a magnificent view of the Cathedral.
By straying a little from the towpath, you can also discover an astonishing market gardening area in the city, less than ten minutes from the Cathedral. The hortillonnages are best visited with a guide in a traditional cornet boat, on part of the 65 km of canals that link these ancient marshes. The mosaic of gardens is lovely with small vegetable gardens, beautiful flowered decorations or, more simply, perfectly equipped relaxation areas.
The hortillonnages are also endowed with a formidable breeding ground for the market gardening of the city. These vegetables are found in particular on the market stalls at the water’s edge, in the Saint-Leu district, on Saturday mornings as well as on several other markets in the city.
The city and its surrounding countryside are also full of addresses of local producers who are happy to welcome you directly to their farm. You will find all the good addresses on the Tourist Office website (www.amiens-tourisme.com).
The International Garden Festival and its “well-being” activities
The privileged space of the hortillonnages is even more attractive during the International Garden Festival, the 2021 edition of which should open on May 22. Over its 11 editions, this Festival has welcomed more than 450,000 visitors who came to admire 170 ephemeral or lasting creations made by landscapers, architects, visual artists and designers in the middle of these market gardens. During the last edition, during the summer months, the Festival, jointly with the Office de Tourisme et des Congrès d’Amiens Métropole, had the good idea to offer well-being times to recharge your batteries on Île aux Fagots, accessible on foot. Visitors were able to enjoy musical (musical naps) or poetic (storytelling) performances. Self-massage, sylvotherapy, singing, and development of the five senses workshops also attracted a family audience. The 2021 edition will also be rich in experiences related to well-being. The program will be available on the Festival website and on the event’s Facebook page and the Tourist Office website.
Saint-Leu: a district to the rhythm of the Somme
If you follow the Somme towards the city center, you will arrive in the heart of the Saint-Leu district, an ideal place to stop off on the terrace, take the time to have a drink and contemplate the Cathedral, which reveals itself from another angle. In the Middle Ages, this city district supplied with water by the arms of the Somme welcomed weavers, dyers, tanners and millers. It was then one of the most disadvantaged areas of the city. Nicknamed Little Venice by Louis XI, the district has changed over the years to become what we know today: a trendy and student district, very lively on weekends. The area displays small, narrow houses along the canals, a bit like Amsterdam, and brings together several cultural addresses (independent cinema, theaters, performance halls).
Cultural visits in slow mode
You will quickly understand that Amiens cannot be visited at a run. On a human scale, the city allows these slow walks on the banks of the Somme, but also in the heart of the city center. You cannot leave Amiens without visiting the Cathedral, which celebrates its 800th anniversary until September 2021 as well as the 40th anniversary of its first UNESCO listing (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 meters under the vaults. The light that pierces the stained-glass windows dresses the Cathedral in magnificent colors.
The general harmony is completed by elements on which the gaze can linger for a long time: the central labyrinth, the bronze recumbent figures, the golden Virgin and the famous “Weeping Angel”. Recognized as part of the UNESCO World Heritage, this monument deserves to be celebrated and taken the time to admire it. The Chroma show also participates in this discovery or rediscovery. At nightfall, this consists of a formidable sound and light performance on the facade.
Breathe, get air: playing sports in Amiens
Less than 2 hours from Paris, Amiens is the landmark for city dwellers looking for the great outdoors. Several large green spaces allow you to walk and simply breathe. Parc Saint-Pierre is the perfect example. Close to the Saint-Leu district and the city center, the 22-hectare contemporary landscaped park highlights the neighborhood’s water and vegetation. It is the ideal place for a family picnic, a game of football, basketball or for a simple stroll while observing the swans and ducks of the lake. The Hotoie park is also an ideal play area for the whole family. The latter adjoins the Amiens Métropole zoo, which is getting a makeover. The opening of two new areas and the arrival of the tigers have already convinced visitors. And because green is everywhere in Amiens,
A little further from the city, Samara, the large prehistoric natural park, also offers a green setting of around thirty hectares. While walking, reconstructions and animations allow you to immerse yourself in an era that is still as fascinating as ever.
If you plan to work out during your stay, you can visit the hortillonnages by kayak or cycle along the Somme on the Véloroute fitted out along the towpath. It offers 125 km of very pleasant cycle paths which link the Bay of 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. Routes punctuated by remarkable viewpoints and Valley Houses which will welcome the time of a deserved break. And if you are into “sport fun”, go a few kilometers 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 recommend that you try the only natural rafting spot in northern France, at Picquigny. Fun guaranteed with friends! On site, you can also try to find the balance on a stand up paddle. Do you want more ? So let’s go for a parachute jump from Glisy aerodrome. This is the only time during your stay where Notre-Dame will seem small to you!