Last week I was lucky enough to visit the wonderful country of France. If anyone follows my Instagram feed you’ll be able to tell that I was particularly taken by the pastries and sweet treats on offer. However, my love of France goes further than the food. I also love the language, and although I’m still not particularly confident speaking French, it was a huge delight and surprise to discover how much I could understand. I also quite like the way of life. The experiences I have had at least have proven it to be family-orientated, traditional and fairy easy-going. Certainly the town of Abbeville where I was staying felt very french and unused to foreign tourists, which made it all the more impressive that my friend has made it her home for the past year. Anyway, whilst Abbeville was lovely (and we were certainly blessed by the weather!), one of the highlights was a day out in Amiens.
I’ve wanted to visit Amiens for a while, partly because I love the book Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (if you haven’t read it – you should!). Amiens is one of the main settings in Birdsong and piqued my curiosity when I read the book. However, when having mentioned this to other people I’ve heard it claimed to be a bit of a dump. Needless to say, given its close proximity to Abbeville, it was somewhere I definitely wanted to visit and I am so glad I did.
For a start, the cathedral is absolutely fantastic. It towers above the rest of the city (unsurprising as the tallest complete cathedral in France) and just inspires awe. Not just due to its size (it also has the largest interior volume of any French cathedral), but the incredible gothic architecture and large amount of detail and craftsmanship that has gone into the stonework. I don’t class myself as a particularly religious person, but I always enjoy visiting impressive churches as they are truly incredible, and can also often feel very peaceful. If you are going to do anything in Amiens, make sure the cathedral is it.
Next was a nice long lunch (another opportunity to sample patisserie items!) by a canal. The fact that the weather was so great was what made this possible, and it was wonderful to be able to sit and eat our lunch overlooking the canal and the cathedral. On the way to finding our lunch spot, we also came across multiple restaurants lining the canal which were busy and made it feel more as though it was the middle of summer, if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone was wearing thick coats! This sight was very European and made me incredibly happy and appreciative of the fact I was on holiday.
In the afternoon, after accidentally stumbling across a French protest taking place in front of the cathedral, we headed to the Musée de Picardie where for free (!) we could appreciate a range of artworks, sculpture and archaeological artifacts. If there is anything that will make you feel cultured on a trip away, it is admiring and then reading about artworks in a foreign language! We rounded off the day with a trip to a chocolaterie to buy our rather more expensive than bargained on Poisson D’Avril. A quick visit to Fnac (a french shop which is great for more than just its name) and a coffee, before heading back to Abbeville on the train with the promise of a crêperie ahead. It was a wonderful day with a wonderful person, and I can safely say that I enjoyed Amiens. If you are in the area, it’s worth a visit!