Visit Amiens by Mouse
is on the Somme river in the province of Picardy
in the Department of the Somme in northwest France. It is about 82 miles northwest
of Paris and just under 100 miles south of the ferry port of Calais. This region of France was fought over in both World Wars. The
road we took to Amiens from Lille in the northeast went by many cimitieres (cemeteries) in which were buried the dead of many countries,
segregated by their nationalities, just as they were when they were alive. We saw cemeteries of Germans, French, British, Australians,
New Zealanders, South Africans, Canadians and Americans. Most fell in battles of the Somme
during WWI. This whole region suffered
destruction on a huge scale.
We went to Amiens for one reason, and it was a good one: To see its Cathedral
, among the most beautiful anywhere, a UNESCO World Heritage
. Either it was not destroyed in the two wars, which we think is the case, or it was supurbly reconstructed. There are other attractions
in Amiens, which you can investigate on the Amiens Tourist office
website, but none seem to us to be in the same category as the Cathedral.
The UNESCO web site says this : "Amiens Cathedral, in the heart of Picardy, is one of the largest 'classic' Gothic
churches of the
13th century. It is notable for the coherence of its plan, the beauty of its three-tier interior elevation and the particularly fine
display of sculptures on the principal facade and in the south transept." The main reason for "the coherence of its plan" is that
its construction was designed and supervised by only three architects over a very short time span compared to most other Cathedrals.
The whole West Front was constructed in only 16 years, from 1220 to 1236. The completion date of the whole structure is given as 1266,
although finishing work went on beyond that date.