Amiens was such a lovely surprise for us! We stayed there due to its proximity to the Western Front battlefields (more on them soon!) and didn’t really have any expectation of it other than to be a base for our daily exploration.
(By the way, this is part four in my series of Europe Photo Diaries, you can catch up on the posts so far here)
Amiens is in Northern France, about 120km north of Paris, in the Picardy region. It was a base for the Allies during the First World War and the city itself was fought over and suffered extensive damage in both the wars. The Battle of Amiens in 1918 started the 100 days offensive which led to the armistice in November 1918. As it was so close to the Western Front battlefields it was the perfect base for us to explore the battlefields!
Bit of a side note: we drove during our trip from the time we left Paris to the time we finished up on continental Europe 5.5 weeks later. We used Renault EuroDrive, which I highly recommend doing if you’re Australian (or a New Zealander) and heading to Europe. You lease instead of hire the car, it works out cheaper and it doesn’t really matter if you get a bit of a scratch on it. We picked up our car and it only had 4km on the odometer!!
When we first arrived we were a bit underwhelmed by Amiens as I think we had driven in through the industrial district. We managed to find our accommodation (we stayed in an apartment we found through Airbnb with some locals) and set out to explore Amiens a little and see what was there.
Stu had stayed in Amiens before but had never explored it much so didn’t know how beautiful it was until we wandered around somewhat aimlessly. Our wandering brought us to the beautiful waterfront area on the river. I couldn’t believe the difference between the kind of place we thought Amiens was and this gorgeous little area!
This waterfront area has some lovely old buildings, most of which are restaurants now, and it’s quite picturesque. It was ‘nighttime’ (about 8 or 9pm) on a Monday when we were out exploring and taking photos which is why there aren’t many people in them. But Amiens is a small city anyway so it was never really ‘crowded’ with people.
There are small canals that run between two major rivers and Amiens is built around the canals, resulting in these lovely little islands in the city. I’d love to live in a place that had a bridge over a canal to get to my front door like this!! It’s so cool.
There were so many little alleyways and side streets to explore with some really nice looking houses. When I take photos of residential areas I do wonder if people who live there get sick of people taking photos of their houses.
The Amiens Cathedral (officially the Cathedrale Notre-Dame) is stunning. It’s the tallest Gothic church and largest cathedral in France and it is World Heritage listed. During the world wars great care was taken to protect the cathedral from damage and the stained glass windows were removed. Unfortunately a fire in the studio where the windows were being held destroyed a lot of them! It’s so hard to get a good photo that fits it all in!There is just so much detail to look at! The exterior is just incredible, and the fact that it has survived through so much makes it even more impressive! The interior was beautiful and there was barely anyone in there which made it a much nicer experience than somewhere like Notre Dame in Paris which is full of people!
We didn’t spend heaps of time in Amiens itself, as we spent the majority of our time in Northern France visiting battlefields and museums, which I’ll go into more in my next Photo Diary post.
Have you been to Amiens?
I’ve broken my Europe trip up into easy to manage pieces, otherwise I’ll be drowning you in hundreds of images at once! So you know what’s coming, I’ve prepared a list of the 24 parts of this series:
Part 1: London
Part 2: Cambridge
Part 3: Paris
Part 4: Amiens
Part 5: Battlefields
Part 6: Ieper (Ypres)
Part 7: Amsterdam
Part 8: Berlin
Part 9: Prague
Part 10: Cesky Krumlov
Part 11: Vienna
Part 12: Salzburg
Part 13: Venice
Part 14: Pesaro
Part 15: Amalfi Coast
Part 16: Pompeii
Part 17: Rome
Part 18: Florence
Part 19: Tuscany
Part 20: La Spezia
Part 21: Lyon
Part 22: Loire Valley
Part 23: Normandy
Part 24: Mont St Michel
Let me know if there is anything in particular you want to know about any of these places and I’ll try to include it in my post!