Cities in FRANCE
Amiens is a city and municipality in the north of France, 120 km north of Paris and 100 km southwest of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy. According to the 2006 census, the city had 136,105 inhabitants.
Photo:Mattana in the public image
The original name of Amiens was Samarobriva ("Bridge over the Somme"), but when the Romans arrived they called the place Ambianum. The word Ambiani is derived from the Gallic word Ambe (river).
The coordinates of Amiens are 49° 53 North longitude and 2° 17 East latitude. Amiens lies in the basin of the River Somme, where the rivers Selle, Avre and Somme meet. The old town is located in a swampy area low in the valley. The river Somme can sometimes overflow and flood parts of the old town.
Amiens has a typical maritime climate like the rest of Northern France. This climate type is characterized by its warm summers and mild winters with sporadic periods of cold weather, usually in January or February. Precipitation is distributed throughout the year.
The area around present-day Amiens was already inhabited in the Paleolithic. In Roman times, Amiens was called Samarobriva and the city was inhabited by the Ambiani, one of the most important Gallic tribes. They made their own money, probably in Amiens. Prosperity grew steadily and several barbarian tribes plundered the city.
The city was heavily bombed during the First World War. The Battle of Amiens sparked the armistice that ended the war. On February 18, 1944, British planes bombed Amiens prison as part of Operation Jericho. As a result, 258 prisoners and resistance fighters escaped.
Protected as a World Heritage Site, Amiens Cathedral is the tallest of the great Gothic churches from the 13th century and is the largest cathedral in France. The original cathedral was destroyed by fire, construction of the new church started in 1220 and was completed in 1247. Amiens Cathedral is world famous for its beauty and in particular for the beautiful display of statues on the main facade. The cathedral is described as the "Parthenon of Gothic architecture".
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Amiens is also known for its hortillonnages, floating (public) gardens on small islands in the marshes along the river Somme, surrounded by a network of artificial canals. Amiens consists of a number of beautiful neighborhoods ("quartiers" in French) such as St-Leu, St-Maurice, Henriville and Saint-Acheul.
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Amiens also has a number of theaters: La Comedie de Picardie, La Maison de la Culture, Chez Cabotans and La Maison du Theâtre.
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Jules Verne lived in Amiens and wrote most of his work locally. You can visit his luxurious mansion (Maison de la Tour) from the 19th century. This impressive Maison shows more than 700 objects on 4 floors and in this way you get close to the world of thought and life of the famous writer. The house is open every day from April 15th to October 14th. From October 15 to April 14, the museum is closed on Tuesdays. Jules Vernes is the name giver of the Cirque Jules Verne, one of the stone circuses in France.
Last updated October 2020
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