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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 49°53′31″N 2°17′56″E / 49.892°N 2.299°E / 49.892; 2.299

Commune of Amiens

Blason fr ville Amiens.svg Amiens quartier saint leu canaux 200503.jpg
Saint Leu area in Amiens
Amiens is located in France
Country France
Region Picardie
Department Somme
Arrondissement Amiens
Intercommunality Communauté d'agglomération Amiens Métropole
Mayor Gilles Demailly
Elevation 14–106 m (46–348 ft)
(avg. 33 m/108 ft)
Land area1 49.46 km2 (19.10 sq mi)
Population2 139,271  (2006)
 - Density 2,816 /km2 (7,290 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 80021/ 80000
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.

Amiens (French pronunciation: [amjɛ̃]) is a city and commune in northern France, 120 km (75 mi) north of Paris and 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Lille . It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy. The city had a population of 136,105 according to the 2006 census.



Originally called Samarobriva ("Somme bridge"), the name of the local celtic tribe "Ambiani" has given its name to the city "Amiens" during the 4th century.


Blason fr ville Amiens.svg Motto « Liliis tenaci vimine jungor » in other words « A strong link unites me to the lily » the lily being the symbol of the Crown of France.




The Paleolithic culture named Acheulean was named for its first identified site, in Saint-Acheul, a neighbourhood of Amiens.


Amiens, the Roman Samarobriva, was the central settlement of the Ambiani, one of the principal tribes of Gaul, who were issuing coinage, probably from Amiens, in the first century BC. By tradition, it was at the gates of Amiens that Saint Martin of Tours, at the time still a Roman soldier, shared his cloak with a naked beggar. The prosperity of the city made it a target for barbarian tribes such as the Alans, the Burgundians or the Vandals. They take over the city several times.

Middle Ages

During the 5th century, the Franks headed by Clodio. Merovech is elected in Amiens by his comrades in arms. Saint Honorius (Honoré) (d. 600 AD) was the seventh bishop of the city.

In 859 the city is sacked by the Normans. In 882 they attack again, take over the city and burn the cathedral

In 1095 Amiens benefits of the rough-shape of a municipal organisation. In 1113 the city is recognised by the King of France.

Joined to the Crown of France in 1185

In 1264, Amiens was the seat of arbitrations by King Louis IX of France in the conflict between King Henry III of England and his rebellious barons, led by Simon de Montfort. The arbitrations led to Louis deciding on the Mise of Amiens – a one-sided settlement in favour of Henry. This decision almost immediately led to the outbreak of the Barons' War.[1]

In 1435 the city is given to Burgundy with the Congress of Arras

In 1477 Amiens was acquired by Louis XI

Modern era

To the 20th century

In 1597 the Spaniards attack the city: the soldiers disguised in peasants come into the city. After six months of siege, Henry IV takes over the city and put an end to its autonomous gestion.

During the 18th and 19th century, Amiens and its textile tradition becomes famous with its velours. The Cosserat family becomes one of the richest family of the richest one in Amiens' great textile manifacturing families.

In 1789 the Provinces of France are demantles and the territory is organised into departments. Picardy is itself dismantled and Amiens becomes the head-city of the new-created department of Somme.

In November 1801 British and French delegates begin to discuss the final terms of the peace in the Amiens Congress. On March 25, 1802 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and First French Republic sign the Treaty of Amiens and put an end to the Second Coalition against France.

During the 19th century, Amiens benefits of the industrial revolution, develops and grows. Its walls are demolished leaving space for large boulevards around the town-centre. In its south is built the Henriville area.

In 1848 the first railway going through Amiens is built, linking the city to Boulogne-sur-Mer

The city no longer develops itself around the river, but to its higher parts.

In 1849 like in every other communes of France, the male citizens can vote for the first time with the universal suffrage

During the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, the department is invaded by the Prussians and Amiens is occupied.

From the 20th century

The First World War

Amiens was bombarded. The Battle of Amiens was the opening phase of the Hundred Days Offensive in World War I. This offensive led to the armistice which ended the war.

The Second World War

During World War II, on 18 February 1944, Nazi-occupied Amiens was the site of Operation Jericho, a British operation which freed 258 people by bombing Amiens prison. The city is bombarded, great parts of its centre and the main station are destroyed.

The After-War

The city is rebuilt according to Pierre Dufau's plans aiming at enlarging the streets to make the traffic easier. The buildings are mostly built with bricks, whites stones and slate roofs such as the Place Gambetta and concret. The Place de la Gare with its Tour Perret is drawn by August Perret.

In May 1968 Amiens's students join their fellow Parisians' movement of contestation. The factory and the railway workers join them a few days later. Without knowing the violence of Paris Amiens quickly gets paralysed. Leftist and far-right fight. After the address of President De Gaulle on May 31, its suppoters demonstrate on the street. Next October the Loi Dufaur is passed and the University of Amiens (Université d'Amiens) is founded, the Campus is built in the south-wester suburban area.

The decree of 2 April 1969 gives the first shape of the administrative regions.

Since the 1970's

The Law of 4 July 1972 is passed, creating the Conseils régionaux. The administrative Regions are created. The new Picardy gathers the departments of Aisne, Oise and Somme

From the 1970s the municipality of Amiens starts to buy and renovate the degraded area of St-Leu.

During the late 1970s and particularly the 1980s, Amiens which was mostly an industrial city faces numerous job-cuts and manufacture closings. Its unemployment rate increases.

The 1990s are a great period of reconversion. The city which is historically left-wing lined up elects centre-right mayor. St-Leu is renovated, sectors of the University are moved to the town-centre. The Vallée des Vignes area is built in the south. (nowadays put into question for its isolation and car-centred organisation). Whole streets of the town-centre are transformed into pedestrian areas.

During the 2000s the Gare du Nord is renovated and its place is covered with a glass-roof which triggered much controversy. The Tour Perret is renovated as well and the cinema complex is built. The area of the station starts its reorganisation.



Amiens lies on the basin of the Somme more or less where the rivers Selle, Avre and the Somme meet. The old town is situated in a swampy area at the bottom of the valley. The river Somme is usually calm but exceptional floods have already occurred such as in 2001.


The town has a typical oceanic climate of northern France. It is characterised by regular rainfalls, rather fresh winters and mild summers. However sporadic cold waves can occur, usually in January or February, as well as heat waves in summer.


Amiens is a hub between:

However the major European traffic ways that represent the A1 motorway and the Paris-Lille TGV line do not serve the town directly.

International and European relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Amiens is twinned with:


Amiens comprises a certain number of neighbourhood ("quartiers" in French) with their own characteristics, among which St-Leu, St-Maurice, Henriville or Saint-Acheul.

Saint Leu

St-Leu remains the most famous area. It lies at the north of the town-centre at the feet of the cathedral. Numerous canals run through its typical wooden and bricken houses. It used to be a poor part of the town which has been renovated during the 1990s. It is nowadays one of the most touristic areas of Amiens gathering various cafés restaurants and discothèques. It is also the place for the local culture, with Chés Cabotans theatre(puppet shows in Picard language) and La Lune des Pirate, a famous concert room. It has also become home for lots of students bringing night life to the town. This is also where the Faculty of Sciences as well as the Faculty of Law & Economics are.

Saint Maurice

Situated in between the east of the citadel and the Madeleine cimetary, St-Maurice is one of the industrial parts of Amiens. It is a working-class area which is being currently renovated and rearranged. The walls of the town's former dying manufacture are now those of the École Supérieure d'Art et de Design (ESAD) as well as those of the Faculty of Arts. The École supérieure d'ingénieurs en électronique et électrotechnique (ESIEE) is in the same neighbourhood.


The Henriville neighbourhood was mostly built during the 19th century after the demolition of the city wall. It lies at the south of the town-centre and gathers numerous bourgeois houses and a certain number of town houses such as Jules Verne's house. Several examples of the architectural styles of the times like néoclassique, troubadour and néogothique, can be found there.

Saint Acheul

This is where archeologic excavations have enabled to discover prehistorical rests, which have given the name of the area to a prehistorical era "Acheulean" (also spelled Acheulian, pronounced /əˈʃuːliən/). In St-Acheul also lies a famous 1914–1918 military cimetary. It comprises the so called "English neighbourhood" with typical English style houses. At the feet of this area lies the hortillonnages.

Other Neighbourhoods

There are also other famous working-class areas in Amiens, such as the Pigeonnier famous for its weekend market in the north, Etouvie in the east, and Victorine Autier in the south-east. These areas know lots of social troubles and have regularly been the place for riots.



Amiens is served by several motorways


Amiens has two stations: the Gare du Nord and the Gare St-Roch

The station TGV Haute-Picardie has also been built on the TGV line Lille-Paris which is reachable bus from Amiens


In addition to the aerodrome of Glisy in the east of the town, Amiens is located nearby several airports

  • Beauvais-Tillé (reachable by bus)
  • Lille-Lesquin (via the A29 and A1 or by train)
  • Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle (via the A29 and A1, via the A16, or by train)


The Somme canal runs through the town to the English Channel. This canal is linked to the Canal du Nord (Paris to Lille metropolitan area)

Urban transportation

The town's public transport network is managed by Ametis. It links most of Amiens Metropole's communes. The project of building a tramway network is currently in debate. In 2008 the municipality has set the Vélam, a system of public bikes similar to those of other European cities.


The Cathedral

The cathedral in Amiens

Amiens Cathedral (a World Heritage Site) is the tallest of the large 'classic' Gothic churches of the 13th century and is the largest in France of its kind. After a fire destroyed the former cathedral, the new nave was begun in 1220 - and finished in 1247. Amiens Cathedral is notable for the coherence of its plan, the beauty of its three-tier interior elevation, the particularly fine display of sculptures on the principal façade and in the south transept, and the labyrinth, and other inlays of its floor. It is described as the "Parthenon of Gothic architecture", and by John Ruskin as "Gothic, clear of Roman tradition and of Arabian taint, Gothic pure, authoritative, unsurpassable, and unaccusable."

The belfry

The Circus

The Perret Tower

Amiens is also known for the hortillonnages, gardens on small islands in the marshland along the Somme River, surrounded by a grid network of man-made canals.




  • Museum of the Hôtel Berny (Arts, History)
  • Museum of Picardy (Arts, Archeology, Ethnology...)
  • Museum of Natural History


  • La Comedie de Picardie
  • La Maison de la Culture
  • Chés Cabotan(Puppet show in Picard)
  • La Maison du Théatre

Concert halls

The city counts a certain number of concert rooms, mostly small alternative ones but not only. Numerous concerts happen in pubs along the year.

  • Le Zénith Amiens
  • La Lune des Pirates
  • La Maison de la Culture
  • Mégacité

Exhibition halls

  • Le Safran
  • Mégacité
  • Maison de la culture
  • Archives départementales
  • Centre Jacques Tati
  • Maison de l'architecture


The city gathers a large range of schools and faculties

  • The University of Picardy which provides large options of studies
    • Faculty of Medicin and Pharmacy
    • Faculty of Law, Politics and Economics
    • Faculty of Sciences
    • IUP MIAGE (computing in companies)
    • Faculty of Human Sciences, Literature, Languages, Sport Sciences
    • IUT (Institut Universitaire Technique) of Management, Administration, Computing, Mechanical Engineering, Biological Engineering, Commercial Management.
    • Faculty of Arts
    • Free training courses
  • Preparatory courses for sciences, economics, biology schools...
  • ESIEE(Engereering School of Electronics and Electrotechnics)
  • Commerce school
  • ISAM(Institute of Management and Administration)
  • ESAD(School of Art and Design)
  • BTS(advanced vocational diploma)of audio-visual methods
  • Nursing School
  • Midwifes School
  • Physiotherapy and Massage School
  • Teachers School




  • The Courrier Picard
  • The Journal des Amienois(JDA) (newspaper of the municipality)
  • The Fakir
  • Agir en Picardie (administrative region newspaper)
  • Vivre en Somme (département newspaper)


  • France Bleu Picardie
  • Radio Campus Amiens

TV Channels=

  • [France 3 Picardie] (part of [France 3 Nord-Picardie])


  • The Macarons d'Amiens
  • The Chocolate Tuiles
  • The Flamiche
  • The "Summer Rambo", an heirloom apple cultivar, originated near Amiens sometime during the 16th century.
  • Duck pâté

See also


  1. ^ Maddicott, John (1994). Simon de Montfort. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 257–8. ISBN 0521374936. 
  2. ^ "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr Destrict". © 2009 Retrieved 2009-10-28. 


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Amiens [1] is the capital of the northern French region of Picardie. As well as its own attractions, the city makes a practical base from which to explore the area of the First World War's Western Front located nearby.

Get in

Trains from Paris at least hourly, normally about €18 each way. Journey time one hour ten minutes for fast Corail trains, slightly longer for stopping TER services.

Amiens has got a decent bus system.


Amiens' cathedral is one of the major works of the French Gothic style, with a fine facade and interesting sculptures.

The Hortillonages, market gardens separated by small canals, are visitable by boat. (May not be open in winter).

  • Jules Verne Museum. The small but cosy Jules Verne Museum is well worth a visit for those who are interested in literature.  edit
  • Amiens Circus. The Circus building is quite unique in France and Europe altogether even from the outside. If cou can tr to get a seat for one of the events taking place there.  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

AMIENS, a city of northern France, capital of the department of Somme, on the left bank of the Somme, 81 m. N. of Paris on the Northern railway to Calais. Pop. (1906) 78,407. Amiens was once a place of great strength, and still possesses a citadel of the end of the 16th century, but the ramparts which surrounded it have been replaced by boulevards, bordered by handsome residences. Suburbs, themselves bounded by another line of boulevards, have arisen beyond these limits, and the city also extends to the right bank of the Somme. The busy quarter of Amiens lies between the river and the railway, which for some distance follows the inner line of boulevards. The older and more picturesque quarter is situated directly on the Somme; its narrow and irregular streets are intersected by the eleven arms of the river and it is skirted on the north by the canal derived therefrom. Besides its boulevards Amiens has the ample park or Promenade de la Hotoie to the west and several fine squares, notably the Place Longueville and the Place St Denis, in which stands the statue of the famous 17th-century scholar Charles Ducange. The cathedral (see Architecture: Romanesque and Gothic Architecture in France; and Cathedral), which is perhaps the finest church of Gothic architecture in France, far exceeds the other buildings of the town in importance. Erected on the plans of Robert de Luzarches, chiefly between 1220 and 1288, it consists of a nave, nearly 140 ft. in height, with aisles and lateral chapels, a transept with aisles, and a choir (with deambulatory) ending in an apse surrounded by chapels. The total length is 469 ft., the breadth 216 ft. The facade, which is flanked by two square towers without spires, has three portals decorated with a profusion of statuary, the central portal having a remarkable statue of Christ of the 13th century; they are surmounted by two galleries, the upper one containing twenty-two statues of the kings of Judah in its arcades, and by a fine rose-window. A slender spire rises above the crossing. The southern portal is remarkable for a figure of the Virgin and other statuary. In the interior, which contains beautifully carved stalls, a choir-screen in the flamboyant style and many other works of art, the most striking features are the height of the nave and the boldness of the columns supporting the vaulting. The chief of the other churches of Amiens is St Germain (15th century), which has some good stained glass. The hotel de ville, begun in 1550, a belfry of the 14th and 18th centuries and several old mansions are of interest. Amiens has a rich library and admirable collections of paintings, sculptures and antiquities in the museum of Picardy. Its learned associations include the Societe des Antiquaires de Picardie, by whom the museum was built in 1854-1864. The city is the seat of a bishop, a prefect, a court of appeal and a court of assizes, and headquarters of the II. Army Corps. There are also tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, a chamber of commerce and a branch of the Bank of France. The educational institutions include lycees for boys and girls, training-colleges for teachers, a preparatory school of medicine, a school of music and a school of iron-working and wood-working. The textile industries for which Amiens has been celebrated since the middle ages include manufactures of velvet, cotton-, wool-, silk-, hempand flax-spinning, and the weaving of hosiery and a variety of mixed fabrics. Manufactures of machinery, chemicals, blacking, polish and sugar, and printing, dyeing and iron-founding are also carried on. Market gardens, known as hortillonnages, intersected by small canals derived from the Somme and Avre, cover a considerable area to the north-east of Amiens; and the city has trade in vegetables, as well as in grain, sugar, wool, oil-seeds and the duck-pasties and macaroons for which it is renowned.

Amiens occupies the site of the ancient Samarobriva, capital of the Ambiani, from whom it probably derives its name. At the beginning of the 4th century Christianity was preached there by St Firmin, its first bishop. During the middle ages its territory formed the countship of Amienois. The authority of the counts was, however,balanced by that of the bishops,and early in the 12th century the citizens, profiting by this rivalry, gained a charter of enfranchisement. The fief became for the first time a dependency of the French crown in 1185, when Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders, ceded it to Philip Augustus. It more than once passed out of the power of the French kings, notably in 1435, when, by the treaty of Arras, it came into the possession of the dukes of Burgundy, to whom it belonged till 1477. Surprised by the Spaniards in 1597, the city was recaptured from them after a long siege by Henry IV. Till 1790 it was the capital of the gouvernement of Picardy. The famous treaty between Great Britain, France, Spain and Holland which took its name from Amiens was signed in the hotel de ville on the 25th of March 1802. During the war between France and Germany, Amiens, after an important action, fell into the hands of the Prussians on the 28th of November 1870. (See Franco-German War.) See A. de Calonne, Histoire de la ville d'Amiens (1900); John Ruskin, The Bible of Amiens (1881); La Picardie historique et monumentale, tome i., published by the Societe des Antiquaires de Picardie (1893).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



Old French Amiens

Proper noun




  1. A large city which is the capital of The Somme, France.





Old French Amiens

Proper noun


  1. Amiens (city)

Derived terms


Old French

Proper noun


  1. Amiens (city)


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