Abbeville: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°06′21″N 1°50′09″E / 50.1058°N 01.8358°E / 50.1058; 01.8358

Commune of Abbeville

Abbeville église Rouvroy 2.jpg
Abbeville is located in France
Country France
Region Picardie
Department Somme
Arrondissement Abbeville
Canton Abbeville
Mayor Nicolas Dumont
Elevation 2–76 m (6.6–250 ft)
(avg. 8 m/26 ft)
Land area1 26.42 km2 (10.20 sq mi)
Population2 24,829  (2006)
 - Density 940 /km2 (2,400 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 80001/ 80100
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Abbeville (Abbekerke in Dutch) is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.



Abbeville is located on the Somme River, 20 kilometres from its modern mouth in the English Channel, and 45 kilometres northwest of Amiens. In the medieval period, it was the lowest crossing point on the Somme and it was nearby that Edward III's army crossed shortly before the Battle of Crécy in 1346, but resist to the invaders..


Abbeville was the capital of the former province of Ponthieu. Today, it is one of the three sub-prefectures of the Somme department.

St. Vulfran Collegiate Church


The name Abbeville has been adopted to name a category of early stone tools. These stone tools are also known as handaxes. Various handaxes were found near Abbeville by Jacques Boucher de Perthes during the 1830s and he was the first to describe the stones in detail, pointing out in the first publication of its kind, that the stones were chipped deliberately by early man, so as to form a tool. These earliest stone tools found in Europe were chipped on both sides so as to form a sharp edge, are now known as Abbevillian handaxes or bifaces.[1] The earlier form of stone tools, not found in Europe is known as Oldowan choppers. A more refined and later version of handaxe production was also found in the Abbeville/Somme River district. The more refined handaxe became known as the Acheulean industry, named after Saint-Acheul, today a suburb of Amiens.


Abbeville first appears in history during the ninth century. At that time belonging to the abbey of Saint-Riquier, it was afterwards governed by the Counts of Ponthieu. Together with that county, it came into the possession of the Alençon and other French families, and afterwards into that of the House of Castile, from whom by marriage it fell in 1272 to King Edward I of England. French and English were its masters by turns till 1435 when, by the treaty of Arras, it was ceded to the Duke of Burgundy. In 1477 it was annexed by King Louis XI of France, and was held by two illegitimate branches of the royal family in the 16th and 17th centuries, being in 1696 reunited to the crown. In 1514, the town saw the marriage of Louis XII of France to Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII of England.

Abbeville was fairly important in the 18th century, when the Van Robais Royal Manufacture (one of the first major factories in France) brought great prosperity (but some class controversy) to the town. Voltaire, among others, wrote about it. He also wrote about a major incident of intolerance in which a young impoverished lord, the Chevalier de la Barre, was executed there for impiety (supposedly because he did not salute a procession for Corpus Christi, though the story is far more complex than that and revolves around a mutilated cross.)

Abbeville was the birthplace of Rear Admiral Amédée Courbet (1827–85), whose victories on land and at sea made him a national hero during the Sino-French War (August 1884 to April 1885). Courbet died in June 1885, shortly after the end of the war, at Makung in the Pescadores Islands, and his body was brought back to France and buried in Abbeville on 1 September 1885 after a state funeral at Les Invalides a few days earlier. Abbeville's old Haymarket Square (Place du Marché-au-Blé) was renamed Place de l'Amiral Courbet in July 1885, shortly after the news of Courbet's death reached France, and an extravagant baroque statue of Courbet was erected in the middle of the square at the end of the nineteenth century. The statue was damaged in a devastating German bombing raid during World War II.

On 12 September 1939 in Abbeville a conference took place in which France and the United Kingdom decided it was too late to send troops to help Poland in its fight against Germany as Poland by this time was already on the verge of defeat.

The Blitzkrieg

The German advance until 21 May 1940

In 1940, the Germans had massed the bulk of their armoured force in Panzer Group von Kleist, which attacked through the comparatively unguarded sector of the Ardennes and achieved a breakthrough at Sedan with air support. The group raced to the coast of the English Channel at Abbeville, thus isolating (21 May 1940) the British Expeditionary Force, Belgian Army, and some divisions of the French Army in northern France. (Citation of Wikipedia Blitzkrieg) The Battle of France was lost.

Charles de Gaulle (17–18 May 1940), as a Colonel in this period, launched a counterattack in the region of Laon (see the map) with 80 tanks to destroy the communication of the German armoured troops. His 4th DCR (armoured division) reached Montcornet. But, without support, the 4th DCR was forced to retreat. There was another counter-attack. After Laon (24 may) , de Gaulle was promoted to temporary general: On 28 May (...) the 4th DCR attacked twice to destroy a pocket captured by the enemy south of the Somme near Abbeville. The operation was successful, with over 400 prisoners taken and the entire pocket mopped up except for Abbeville (...) but in the second attack the 4th DCR failed to gain control of the city in the face of superior enemy numbers. [2]

Historical population

1901: 18,519
1906: 18,971
1990: 24,588
2006: 24,829


The city was very picturesque until the early days of the Second World War when it was bombed mostly to rubble in one night by the Germans. The town overall is now mostly modern and rebuilt. Several of the town's attractions remain, including:

  • St. Vulfran's church, erected in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The original design was not completed. The nave has only two bays and the choir is insignificant. The facade is a magnificent specimen of the flamboyant Gothic style, flanked by two Gothic towers.
  • The Boucher de Perthes Museum, situated in the now unused bell tower is a tribute to Jacques Boucher de Crèvecœur de Perthes who also has a lycée named after him. The museum features art work and other artefacts from the 16th century onwards, and other exhibitions that change every few months.


Abbeville is served by trains on the line between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Amiens. Abbeville was the southern terminus of the Réseau des Bains de Mer, the line to Dompierre-sur-Authie opened on 19 June 1892 and closed on 10 March 1947.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Abbeville is twinned with:

See also


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Abbeville is a city in Picardie.

Get in

Abbeville, located 20 km south of the English Channel, can be reached by car from the North or Southeast using the A16, or the Southwest using the A28 or E402. You can also come to town by rail. The ride from Paris to Abbeville doesn't take much more than 90 minutes. There is no international airport in Abbeville, though you can get a connection from Paris.

Get around

The city centre is quite compact, so walking or renting a bike will be perfectly suitable for exploring the area. If you do have a car, most hotels and restaurants have parking available, though it does sometimes carry a fee.

  • Collégiale Saint-Vulfran, Chausée du Bois. An exquisite 17th century Cathedral.  edit
  • Church of the Holy Sepulcre, 11 pl. St-Sépulcre. The Original building from the 15th century was expanded upon in the 19th century and therefore showcases a more very Gothic style of architecture.  edit
  • The Chateau and Gardens of Bagatelle, 133 route de Paris, 00 33 3 22 24 02 69. A beautiful 18th century chateau surrounded by extensive gardens and filled with original antique furniture. free!.  edit
  • Jardins d'Emonville, 26 place Clémenceau. A landscaped 2-hectare park with a wealth of plants, floral displays, decorative beds, perennials and century-old trees. Guided tours are free year-round.  edit
  • Boucher de Perthes Museum, 24 rue Gontier Patin. 14-18. An art gallery and collection of prehistoric artifacts, with an archeological exhibit. Closed Tuesdays. free!.  edit
  • La Baie Da Somme, 03 22 25 68 99. The marshland and reserve is renowned for its rich ecology. The Somme River meets the Channel and creates a lush estuary where thousands of types of animals and plants live. It is a great place to wander around, bird watch, or even get a guided tour in a horse drawn cart.  edit
  • Steam Train, [1]. A tourist train runs from Le Crotoy to St. Valery around La Baie de Somme.  edit
  • Golf d'Abbeville, Route du Val, 03 22 24 98 58. A 18-hole golf course open all year, just north of town. 25-45€.  edit


There is not too much shopping to be had in town, however nearby you can find some very interesting markets, depending on the day and the season.

  • Amiens Christmas Market. A very popular seasonal market in front of the Cathedral from November through December. free!.  edit
  • Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme Sunday Market, Along the Somme river. Every Sunday there is a local flea market in the quaint medieval fishing village of Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme, where you can find clothes, gifts, food, etc for cheap prices.  edit


Abbeville is a great place to sample some traditional, more rustic French cuisine, in a homey atmosphere that is in no way pretentious. Try duck and fish from the area, or some of their specialty baked goods, such as beaten cake or macaroons.

  • Le Picardiere, 101 route de Paris, Epagnette. Authentic local cuisine in a family atmosphere, located in a small village just south of town on the D4901. 19-38€.  edit
  • Chez Mel, 63-65 rue Saint-Vulfran, 03 22 19 48 64. With an old style setting and musical accompaniment, this is a hearty and family-friendly restaurant. It is also a tea room in the afternoon.  edit
  • Le Garden's, 83 Chaussée du Bois, 03 22 24 04 58. A friendly establishment serving freshly caught fish, homemade desserts, and a daily special. They have English menus as well! 9-40€.  edit


The few bars in town can be found along the main avenue, Chausée du Bois, mostly between Rue Saint-Gilles and Boulevard Vauban.

  • Le Royal Bar, 67 Chaussée Bois, 03 22 24 63 14‎.  edit
  • Le Saint Pierre, 13 Rue Alfred François, 03 22 24 73 75. Found just off of the main street.  edit
  • Ibis Abbeville, Route d'Amiens 234, (+33)3/22248080. Located 2 km from the city centre, this 2-star hotel is a perfectly decent place to stay while you are in town. They offer a restaurant, bar, 65 rooms, wifi, and parking. € 66.  edit
  • Relais Vauban, 4 Boulevard Vauban, 0322253800, [2]. The Relais is a 22 room, 2-star accommodation in a beautiful historic building. They have car parking for a fee, hire bicycles, and offer breakfast for a small additional fee. € 54.  edit

Get out

Drive to other locations in Somme or Picardy, or take the train from the station on the West side of the Canal du Transit, on Boulevard de la Portelette. Go to Paris for your international flight connection. Some interesting places nearby are the larger town of Amiens, the medieval towns and marshland along the bay. You can take a ferry across the Channel from Dieppe or Le Havre, or take the Channel Tunnel from Calais.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ABBEVILLE, a town of northern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Somme, on the Somme, 12 m. from its mouth in the English Channel, and 28 m. N.W. of Amiens on the Northern railway. Pop. (1901) 18,519; (1906) 18,971. It lies in a pleasant and fertile valley, and is built partly on an island and partly on both sides of the river, which is canalized from this point to the estuary. The streets are narrow, and the houses are mostly picturesque old structures, built of wood, with many quaint gables and dark archways. The most remarkable building is the church of St Vulfran, erected in the 1 5th, 16th and 17th centuries. The original design was not completed. The nave has only two bays and the choir is insignificant. The facade is a magnificent specimen of the flamboyant Gothic style, flanked by two Gothic towers. Abbeville has several other old churches and an hotel-de-ville, with a belfry of the 13th century. Among the numerous old houses, that known as the Maison de Francois Ier, which is the most remarkable, dates from the 16th century. There is a statue of Admiral Courbet (d. 1885) in the chief square. The public institutions include tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, and a communal college. Abbeville is an important industrial centre; in addition to its old-established manufacture of cloth, hemp-spinning, sugar-making, ship-building and locksmiths' work are carried on; there is active commerce in grain, but the port has little trade.

Abbeville, the chief town of the district of Ponthieu, first appears in history during the 9th century. At that time belonging to the abbey of St Riquier, it was afterwards governed by the counts of Ponthieu. Together with that county, it came into the possession of the Alengon and other French families, and after wards into that of the house of Castille, from whom by marriage it fell in 1272 to Edward I., king of England. French and English were its masters by turns till 1435 when, by the treaty of Arras, it was ceded to the duke of Burgundy. In 1477 it was annexed by Louis XI., king of France, and was held by two illegitimate branches of the royal family in the 16th and 17th centuries, being in 1696 reunited to the crown.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. A town in Picardy, France.
  2. Any of several towns in North America named either directly or indirectly after Abbeville, France.
  3. A county in South Carolina, United States.



Proper noun


  1. Abbeville

Derived terms

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