Amiens, just the name sounds nice, doesn’t it? So where’s Amiens and what does it offer? If quaint little French streets, beautiful architecture, and nice views don’t seem like enough, try the two most iconic things that make this Northern French city enchanting: The Amiens Cathedral, and the unique local food.
Cathedrals can be breathtaking, and for all you cathedral lovers out there, Europe can be heavenly. But even in a country with many gorgeous cathedrals, the Amiens Cathedral carves out a place for itself. In fact, the Cathedral stands out so much so that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the 19th largest churches in the world!
This gorgeous gothic cathedral dates back to the 13th Century, and it is said to be built to reach the heavens and let light in, an inspiring idea that resulted in one of France’s most magnificent and most famous Cathedrals. It is so beautiful that people say it’d be worth it to go to Amiens even if the only thing you see is the Cathedral.
If you visit between June and September, you might be lucky enough to catch the magical light show that gives the Cathedral its original bright medieval colors, so you can see the Cathedral exactly as it looked when it was built. You can also catch up full effect of colour of the facade, with musical accompaniment, during Son et lumière shows which are held on Summer evenings, during the Christmas Fair, and over the New Year.
The amazing local food:
Think about it, a city in France, the food capital of the world, that stands out for its own local food. Let’s go on a small food tour of what you can expect in Amiens:
- Macarons d’Amiens: If you’ve never had a macaron you are missing out on a piece of heaven in your mouth. So, when you hear that Amiens’ macarons (almond paste biscuits) are famous you can expect amazing goodness.
- Tuiles amienoises: These curved chocolate and orange biscuits are baked to perfection for your pleasure.
- Pâté de canard d’Amiens: Pâté is a stable of French cuisine, so you have to at least try it!
- La ficelle Picarde: As with macarons, when you hear that an oven-baked cheese-topped crepe stands out in France, you can’t doubt its creamy goodness.
- Flamiche aux poireaux: Delightful puff pastry tart made with leeks and cream, yeah it’s as good as it sounds.
And these are just some of the amazing local foods you can find in Amiens.
A good place to try to find some of these delectable treats and many others are the Covered Market and the Marché sur L’eau. Markets are an important part of French life so you would definitely want to check them out. Before heading out, however, double check the days and times these markets are open, you don’t want to show up to discover an empty street!
If you want to sit down and rest your feet, Le Bouchon and La Tante Jeanne are two great French cuisine restaurants that will surely leave you satisfied.
How to get there:
Amiens is just a short hour away from Paris on a normal train and a mere 20 minutes on a high-speed train. It’s also close to other major cities like Lille and Brussels, which means if you’re short on time you can easily make it into a day trip.
You can always book your train tickets in advance online, but with trains going to and from Paris and Lille very regularly you can leave some room for spontaneity. Just show up at the train station and buy your tickets on the spot!
Where to stay:
You might decide that a day trip isn´t enough and that you need more time to discover all this picturesque city has to offer. In this case, the best place for visitors to stay is the Saint-Leu arrondissement (neighborhood) just north of the city center. This is a popular place for visitors and students, since it’s close to the major sites, it’s lively, and it’s decorated with beautiful brick and wooden houses, and lovely canals.
Bed and Breakfasts are a popular option since they offer a homely and warm stay. There are also hotels all over the city that accommodate to all budgets and needs, and don’t forget Airbnb if you want to experience a more authentic French home stay!