Picardie

General Info

Regional Map
Conseil Régional
Tourism: Tourisme Picardie
Capital: Amiens
Departments: Aisne, Oise, and Somme
Arrondissements-13, Cantons-129, Communes-2,292
Population: 1,900,385 (2008 est.)
France Picardie Region Map

Overview

Picardie Amiens Cathedral
Picardie region is a land of rolling hills with its share of waterways and rivers. It overlaps with the northern metrpolitan outskirts of Paris and is best known for its wonderful cathédrales. Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Amiens is the absolute pinnacle of the Gothic style and the incompleted Beauvais demonstrates the human desire to build up towards the heavens. Spectacular cathedrals may also be found in Noyon and Senlis. In the southern part of Picardie is the Château de Chantilly, the epicenter of the French equestrian world with gardens by Le Nôtre who also designed the gardens at Versaille for Louis XIVth.

This region is booming as Parisians are relocating to the greener areas in the Oise département. Conversely, populations have decreased in the northern Aisne department. The region has other interesting châteaux including Compiègne, with a royal palace favored by French rulers from Louis XVth to Napoleon III.

Picardie Departmental Information

Conseil Général
Aisne (02)
Oise (60)
Somme (80)
Prefécture
Aisne
Oise
Somme
Tourisme
Aisne
Oise
Somme
Capital
Laon
Beauvais
Amiens
Tourisme
Laon
Beauvais
Amiens
Additional resources below

Notable Towns and Sights in the Picardie Region

Abbeville (Somme) is located on the Somme River 12 miles (20 km) from the English Channel. The city was devasted by the Germans in WWII and is now mostly modern. Sights include Saint Vulfran's church (photo) built in the 15th-17th centuries. It also has several other old churches and an Hotel-de-Ville, with a belfry of the 13th-century (photo). Among the numerous old houses, the Maison de Francois 1st, which is the most remarkable, dates from the 16th century. France Picardie Abbeville Saint Vulfran
Amiens (Somme) is best known for its spectacular cathedrale (photo) and is the tallest of the large Gothic churches of the 13th-century and largest in France. After a fire destroyed the former cathedral, the new nave was begun in 1220 and completed in 1247. Other sights include the quarter of Saint Leu, a picturesque pedestrian area of houses and canals, Les Hortillonnages which are marshland market gardens, and the Musée de Picardie which has medieval and 19th-century sculpture and 16-20th century paintings. Also notable is the Parc Samara prehistoric village and gardens just west of Amiens which has reconstructed houses and reenactments of neolithic trades. France Picardie Amiens
Beauvais (Oise) is home to an incomplete, yet utterly spectacular Gothic Cathedrale (photo). Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais was begun in 1227 and was designed to be taller than all others (currently 158 feet or 48 m), but the roof of the chancel caved in twice before its completion in the 14th-century. In 1573, the crossing collapsed after a tower and spire were added and were not replaced. Beauvais was heavily bombed in World War II and is now a modern city with its Gothic cathedral masterpiece. Also here is the Musée Départemental de l'Oise which has tapestries, medieval sculpture, cermaics, and articfacts. France Picardie Beauvais Cathedral
Chantilly (Oise) is the thoroughbred horse-racing centre of France and the sport was introduced from England around 1830. The Musée Vivant du Cheval, a horse-racing museum, is housed in the Great Stables (photo). Notable here is the very picturesque Château de Chantilly which took shape around 1528 and was rebuilt after being destroyed during the Revolution. There is a Petit Château and a Grand Château (photo) which together form the present Musée Condé, named after the Great Prince of Condé (1621-86). Here there are works by Raphael, Botticelli, Poussin, and Ingres. Chantilly is also known for its lace which is a handmade bobbin lace dating from the 17th-century, with the most famous being introduced in the 18th-century. Chantilly lace was made with more colors in the 19th-century and common designs include floral and ribbons, usually on a spotted background. France Picardie Chantilly
Château de Pierrefonds (Oise) demonstrates quintessential medieval military architecture and was originally constructed by Louis d'Orléans in the 14th-century. It fell into ruin over the next 500 years then in 1857, Napoleon III (Bonaparte) commisioned the architect Viollet-le-Duc to restore it to its current glory. It overlooks the town below and has the characteristic moat, drawbridge, towers, and double walls. (photo) France Picardie Château de Pierrefonds
Château-Thierry (Aisne) has several interesting sights including a castle overlooking the city built between the 9th-17th centuries. The church of Saint-Crépin (photo), built in the 14th-15th centuries, is the only church in Chateau-Thierry and has a 118 foot (36m) bell tower. Also here is the 108 foot (36m) Balhan tower (photo) which is a remnant of a city hotel from 1480. It has been classified as a historical monument since 1926 and the tower contains a spiral staircase and a former chapel. The Hôtel-Dieu was founded in 1304 and a new one built in 1876. Office de Tourisme France Picardie Château Thierry
Compiègne (Oise) is best known for its royal Château designed for Louis XV and completed by Louis XVI. It was restored by Napoleon and later was the residence of Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie. Within the château is the Musée du Second Empire and Musée de l'Impératrice which have furniture and portraits. Château de Compiègne. Compiègne is also where Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians in 1430. France Picardie Compiègne Hotel de Ville
Laon (Aisne) is the capital of the département and has many gothic buildings, one of the most important being the Cathédral Notre-Dame dating from the 12th-13th centuries (photo). The chapter-house and the cloister contain beautiful examples of 13th-century architecture and the old episcopal palace, contiguous to the cathedral, is now used as a court-house. There is also a Gothic cloister and an old two-story chapel. The Église Saint Martin dates from the middle of the 12th-century and the old abbey buildings of the same foundation are now used as the hospital. The museum of Laon has collections of sculpture and painting and in the garden there is a chapel of the Templars belonging to the 12th century. France Picardie Laon Notre Dame Cathedral
Noyon (Oise) is a religious centre and the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame (photo), built between 1145 and 1235, has nicely-blended Romanesque and Gothic features during this architectural transition period. The Musée de Noyonnais, a history museum, is in the former Bishop's Palace. The small Musée Jean Calvin here celebrates his life and work as a Protestant theologian and a leader of the Reformation. France Picardie Noyon
Pérrone (Somme) was once a strongly fortified town and close to where the Battles of the Somme took place during World War I. The castle with its four round towers and the remains of the old town walls are still impressive. The Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Péronne (photo), slightly damaged in 1944, was built in the gothique flamboyant style. The Historial de la Grande Guerre museum contains modern multimedia displays which emphasize the role of the French army in World War I. The Musée Alfred Danicourt, founded in the Hôtel-de-ville in 1877, is the only museum of the Somme to have been pillaged and destroyed by the Germans between 1916 and 1918 losing about ninety-eight percent of its collection. Currently, it has one of the finest collections of early Gallic coins, antique gold jewelry, Merovingian funeral artifacts, a panorama of sand production during prehistoric times, and some local examples of 19th and 20th century paintings. The city of Péronne is equally known for its "Monument to the Dead", work of the architect Louis Faille, representing a Picardie woman with clenched fist raised above the body of her son or husband killed by the war. The Brittany Gate, with its strengthened stonework, is reminiscent of the defensive aspect of Péronne France Picardie Pérrone

Saint-Quentin (Aisne) is on the right bank of the Somme. The town has a number of beautiful buidings including the Hôtel-de-Ville with a Gothic façade from 1509 (photo), , a theater, and the massive Basilica of Saint-Quentin from the 12th-15th centuries. (photo). Also here is the Museum of Entomology which has a large collection of insects including over 600,000 butterflies and moths. North of the square is the Musée Lécuyer, with a famous collection of 80 pastels by Quentin de la Tour (1704- 1788). The Parc Ornithologique is a large bird reserve, with many species flying freely or living in large enclosures. France Picardie Saint Quentin Hôtel de Ville
Senlis (Oise) is notable for its Gothic cathedral , historic streets, and medieval ambiance. Cathédrale Notre-Dame (photo) was built during the 12th-century and influenced other structures such as the famous cathedral in Amiens. Nearby are the ruins of the Château Royal and its gardens along with the Musée de la Vénerie, which celebrates hunting via paintings, weapons, and trophies. Also here is the Musée d'Art which has an excellent collection of Gothic sculpture and displays the town's Gallo-Roman history. France Picardie Senlis Notre Dame Cathedral
Soissons (Aisne) is one of the most ancient towns of France and the seat of the Bishop since the 3rd-century. Today it is a commercial and manufacturing center. Saint Léger is a 13th-century church and now houses the Musée d'Archéologie et d'Art, with Gallo-Roman and medieval antiquities and a collection of pictures. St Médard has a pre-Romanesque crypt. Notable is the 12th-century Cathedrale de Saint-Gervais et Saint-Protais (photo) and Saint Jean des Vignes Abbey (photo) as one of its most important historical buildings. France Picardie Soissons Cathedral
Vallée de la Somme (Somme) along the gentle and tranquil Somme river is worthwhile for camping, hiking, fishing, and lakes as well the Marquenterre bird sanctuary photo at the mouth of the river. There are WWI battlefields and Commonwealth cemeteries along the river which was witness to one of the largest battles during WWI with more than a million casualties. France Picardie Somme River

Les Plus Beaux Villages in the Picardie Region

Natural Parks in the Picardie Region

Additional Resources for the Picardie Region

Average Monthly Temperatures in the Picardie Region