Itinerary: Lose your bearings in architecture – Amiens, Le Havre, Lille

Press release

Route Description

Exceptional cultural and architectural heritage, natural settings that reach all the way to the beach, flavorful gastronomy that reflects a welcoming people. This is the north of France!

It’s Lille’s old town, a showcase of French and Flemish architecture; and the micro-breweries, championing the cause of beer in the heart of beer country. It’s France's second largest art collection drawing crowds even while the city celebrates its annual September flea market, the largest in Europe. Learn more about Lille

In Amiens, it’s the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral, a jewel of Gothic architecture, and the “hortillonnages,” amazing floating gardens that earned the city the nickname “little Venice of the north.” It’s the lively, student-dominated Saint-Leu district, and even Jules Verne and Emmanuel Macron too. Learn more about Amiens

In Le Havre, on the one hand, it’s Auguste Perret’s post-war reconstruction architecture using reinforced concrete and today a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the other hand, it's France's second largest collection of Impressionist paintings hosted in the city where Monet inadvertently gave the artistic movement its name. Learn more about Le Havre

Along the Way

Between Lille and Amiens

  • Calais: the frequently bypassed port city, famous for trade and transportation, but notable for more

  • Le Touquet: a leafy beach resort

Between Amiens and Le Havre

  • Rouen: notable for its restored medieval quarter, tall Gothic cathedral and top-quality museums

  • Honfleur: once an important commercial port but now much loved for its medieval architecture

Beyond Le Havre

  • Bayeux: made world famous by its 1,000-year-old, 59-panel, embroidered illustration of the 1066 Norman invasion of England

  • Normandy Landing Beaches: the coastline on which the Allied D-Day forces landed on June 6, 1944, to turn the tide of World War II

How to Cover the Route

Approximate shortest-path road distances between cities Approximate shortest train/bus travel times between cities
Lille ↔ Amiens
75 miles 1 h 20 min (regional train)
Amiens ↔ Le Havre 115 miles 2 h 30 min (regional train)

Given the short distances between cities, and the numerous attractions to see both in the city environs and along the way, this route lends itself to driving. However, as there are direct rail links with relatively short travel times, it is also easily accomplished by train.


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency