Amiens – Discover one of Northern France’s most surprising city breaks!

Amiens is a top destination for lovers of culture, history, architecture and the fine arts. And not only because of Jules Verne. Amiens is a true regional cultural hub, as demonstrated by its many festivals and museums…

One of the most beautiful cathedrals in France, an iconic post-war skyscraper, a fine art museum, numerous festivals and, everywhere, the shadow of one of France’s most famous writers… This is Amiens and its incredible cultural heritage.

For visitors to Amiens, the only difficulty is probably deciding on a programme of cultural events, as the capital of Picardy offers many possibilities. Starting with the extraordinary cathedral, one of the grandest in France and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Every year, from July to September, the Chroma festival transforms the venerable structure into a gigantic tableau vivant, where colour and light tell its story.

Amiens - Discover one of Northern France's most surprising city breaks!
Credit: Laurent Rousselin – Amiens Métropole

A few minutes’ walk from the cathedral, the Saint-Leu district is where the historic heart of Amiens still beats, with its historic houses and traditional architecture. Along with the Parc Saint-Pierre, the quaysides provide a fantastic backdrop in September for the “Les Médiévales” festival, bringing troubadours, knights and other medieval heroes back to life…

Not far from Saint-Leu district, the ‘Hortillons’`(marsh market gardeners) are cultivated since ancient times. These 300-hectares astonishing gardens are THE wonder of Amiens city centre. They can only be accessed by boat with tours taking place every afternoon between April and October.

In stark contrast to the Saint-Leu district, but just as unmissable, the Tour Perret is a masterpiece of post-war modernist architecture. A landmark of the post-1945 reconstruction of Amiens, the 104-metre Tour Perret was the tallest skyscraper in Europe when it was inaugurated in 1952. It is the modern answer to the Amiens belfry, which dates back to the 17th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Festivals galore

Art lovers will certainly want to visit the beautiful, recently renovated Musée de Picardie, whose collections range from Egyptian antiquities to contemporary art. As for the Cirque Jules Verne, built in 1889, it hosts not only circus shows but also concerts, theatrical performances and artists’ performances.

In fact, the street arts are present all over the city and all year round. The summer months are generally when festivals flourish. There are at least half a dozen between June and September. These include the Fête dans la Ville and the Rendez-vous de la Bande Dessinée in June, Chroma, the Voyage au coeur de l’été and the Festival International de Jardins throughout the summer. In the autumn, IC.ON.IC gives pride of place to the visual arts, followed by the International Film Festival. Not to mention the Christmas celebrations.

And of course, how can you come to Amiens without showing interest in Jules Verne? You can learn about Jules Verne by starting with his house (Maison Jules Verne) and also follow the Aronnax Trail. Now in its second year, this 18-stop tour explores the whole city from a Jules Verne perspective by celebrating the creative genius and imagination of the writer in Amiens.

The educational, family-friendly trail is accessible to as many people as possible. Thanks to QR codes visible on sign boards set up along the route, visitors can discover unusual or hidden places using immersive videos, 360° photographs and a drone.

Each night, a fairy conclusion concludes the Aronnax Trail. With light and sound, a video-mapping work highlights the original engravings of five iconic novels by Jules Verne (Five Weeks in a Balloon, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, Robur the Conqueror). This immersive reinterpretation of the Verne universe is projected onto 4m-high walls of water Place Alphonse Fiquet.

Read more news about Amiens here.

Photo: Laurent Rousselin – Amiens Métropole

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