City summary: Amiens

Press release


The huge and magnificent Gothic cathedral is Amiens’ principal drawcard, but there are many reasons to visit. Amiens is where Jules Verne was most active, as both a writer and city administrator. The central Saint-Leu district is full of youthful life in this bustling university town. And the canal-laced floating gardens along the Somme River are why Amiens is called the “little Venice of the north.” Outside of town, the brutal realities of World War I – the sites of the Battle of Amiens and Battle of the Somme, for example – take on great importance, especially during these centennial memorial years.

Fun Facts

  • The 1918 Battle of Amiens was a key Allied victory at the opening phase of the Hundred Days Offensive that helped bring an end to World War I.

  • The many canals throughout Amiens, but especially in the “hortillonnages” floating gardens have long given the city the nickname “little Venice of the north.”

Significant Site

Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens: a jewel of Gothic architecture, the tallest of the 13th-century churches, the largest of its kind in France and the largest cathedral in the world by interior volume

Extraordinary Exhibit

Maison de Jules Verne: the house where Verne lived and composed more than 30 novels

Delectable Delights

  • macarons d'Amiens: almond-paste biscuits that were favorites of Catherine de Medici, who introduced them in the 16th century

  • La BlueReide: the blue beer of Amiens, and the first blue beer brewed in France

Legendary Local

Emmanuel Macron: a politician who was recently elected President of France

Also in the Area

  • Château de Pierrefonds: a magnificent castle on the edge of the Compiègne Forest, originally from the 14th century and then rebuilt in the 19th century as an idealized vision of a Middle Age structure

  • Baie de Somme: a large estuary with open water, marshes and dunes, Somme Bay is notable as a critical stopover site for migratory birds (and amazing birdwatching), and one of the ‘Most Beautiful Bays in the World’

  • Remembrance Trails of the Great War: visits along the Western Front of World War I that provide insight into a major event of European history that affected the entire world (

Daring Developments

  • Arriving in 2018: the Tour de France, on Bastille Day, July 14

  • Commemorations: 100 years since the world war battles of 1918 and the end of the war

Access from Paris

  • by road: about 1 h 40 min (90 miles) via the A16 autoroute L'Européenne

  • by train: about 1 h 10 min by an Intercity service from the Gare du Nord

For more about what to see and do in and around Amiens, including on the “Lose your bearings in architecture” itinerary, visit


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency
New York, 10022
United States