1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
Amiens (English: or AM-ee-?nz;French: [amj]; Picard: Anmien, Anmiens or Anmyin) 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 Sommedepartment in Hauts-de-France. The city had a population of 136,105 according to the 2006 census, and has one of the biggest university hospitals in France with a capacity of 1,200 beds. Amiens Cathedral is the largest church in France by volume, estimated at 200,000 cubic metres (260,000 cu yd). It is also a World Heritage Site. The author Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905, and served on the city council for 15 years.
The first known settlement at this location was Samarobriva ("Somme bridge"), the Ambiani tribe's central settlement, which was one of the principal tribes of Gaul. The Romans named the town Ambianum, meaning settlement of the Ambiani people.
Amiens was part of Francia starting from the 5th century. Normans sacked the city in 859 and again in 882.
In 1113, the city was recognized by King Louis VI of France, and in 1185 it was joined to the Crown of France. In 1597, Spanish soldiers held the city during the six-month Siege of Amiens, before Henry IV regained control. During the 18th and 19th century, the textile tradition of Amiens became famous for its velours. As a result of the French Revolution, the provinces of France were dismantled and the territory was organised into departments. Much of Picardy became the newly created department of Somme with Amiens as the departmental capital. During the industrial revolution, the city walls were demolished, opening up space for large boulevards around the town center. The Henriville neighborhood in the south of the city was developed around this time. In 1848, the first railway arrived in Amiens, linking the city to Boulogne-sur-Mer. During the 1870 Battle of Amiens, the city was occupied by invading Prussian forces.
The town was fought over during both the First and Second World Wars, suffering significant damage and being occupied several times by both sides. The 1918 Battle of Amiens was the opening phase of the Hundred Days Offensive which led directly to the Armistice with Germany that ended the war. It was heavily bombed by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. The city was rebuilt according to Pierre Dufau's plans with a focus on widening the streets to ease traffic congestion. These newer structures were primarily built of brick, concrete and white stone with slate roofs. The architect Auguste Perret designed the Gare d'Amiens train station and nearby Tour Perret.
Map of the Amiens and its surrounding communes
Amiens, the regional prefecture of Picardy, also functions as the prefecture of the Somme department, one of the three departments (with Oise and Aisne) in the region. Located in the Paris Basin, the city benefits from a privileged geographical position, with close proximity to Paris, Lille, Rouen, London and Brussels. At the crossroads of major European routes of travel (A1, A16 and A29), the city is also at the heart of a major rail star.
As the crow flies, the city is 115 kilometres (71 mi) north of Paris, 97 kilometres (60 mi) south-west of Lille, 100 kilometres (62 mi) north-east of Rouen, 162 kilometres (101 mi) east-north-east of Le Havre and 144 kilometres (89 mi) north-west of Reims. At the regional level, Amiens is located 53 kilometres (33 mi) north of Beauvais, 71 kilometres (44 mi) west of Saint-Quentin, 66 kilometres (41 mi) from Compiègne and 102 kilometres (63 mi) from Laon.
The area of the commune is 4,946 hectares (12,220 acres); the altitude varies between 14 and 106 metres (46 and 348 ft).
Hydrography: Somme and canal, Avre and Selle
The Somme in the old town at the beginning of the 20th century
The Becquet Bridge, at the start of the 20th century
The main stem of the River Somme passes through Amiens and is generally benign, except during exceptional floods that can last up to several weeks (such as in spring 2001). It is also, on its southeastern outskirts, close to Camon and Longueau, the confluence with its main tributary on the left bank (to the south), and the Avre. The Selle enters from the northwest of Amiens, with two arms (including the Haute Selle) passing behind the Unicorn Stadium, the exhibition park, the megacity and horse racing track, then passing the end of the Promenade de la Hotoie and the zoo of Amiens, and to the right of the water treatment plant, in front of the island Sainte-Aragone, opposite the cemetery of La Madeleine in Amiens.
The city developed in a natural narrowing of the river at the level of the hortillonnages [fr], due to the advance of the rim of the Picard plateau in Saint-Pierre (ford crossing). The Amiens citadel is built on this limestone butte and Rue Saint-Pierre is a slightly inclined path to leave the city from the north. At this narrowing, a network of narrow canals led to the construction of bridges and buildings including textile mills in the Middle Ages.
The hydrographic network has always been an important city-operated asset. The river helped shape the identity of the landscape, urban and economic territory. It is around the quarters of Saint-Leu, Saint-Maurice bordering the River Somme and most of the administrative and civil area of the current city center which the city has developed since antiquity.
Amiens has the typical oceanic climate of the north of France, with relatively mild winters, cool summers, and rainfall well distributed throughout the year.
Amiens is a hub between the Île de France and the rest of northern France; Normandy and Benelux; and France and Great Britain. Amiens is not directly on principal European road and rail arteries, such as the A1 motorway and the Paris-Lille TGV train line, at present.
However, due to its position halfway between the urban areas of Lille and Paris, Amiens has good conditions for service and accessibility, including motorways (at the junction of the A16 and A29).
1 hour 5 minutes from Paris (16 round-trip trains per day)
1 hour 15 minutes from Lille
1 hour 15 minutes from Rouen
2 hours 30 minutes from Brussels
3 hours 30 minutes from Lyon
3 hours from London
Since antiquity, Amiens has been a crossroads of important routes. The contemporary city is served by the A16 and A29 autoroutes. The Jules Verne Viaduct, 943 metres (3,094 ft) long, crosses the River Somme to the east of the city and allows circumvention of the city by motorway-type roads. The A16 and A29 autoroutes, the RN1 and the RN25 form a bypass-type motorway around the city that the population has called the Rocade d'Amiens [ring road of Amiens]. Initially constituting national roads which are downgraded today, mostly as departmental roads, the greater urban area of Amiens is served by:
The proposed A24 autoroute from Amiens to Lille via Doullens was cancelled in 2006.
Map of parking in the city center of Amiens in 2009.
Free outdoor parking
According to the urban transport plan [fr] (PDU) approved 19 December 2013 for the period 2013-2023 parking supply is considered abundant in Amiens. Although important, demand for parking is less than what is available (capacity reserves are still 20% minimum: If the road is sometimes saturated, the occupancy rate of the underground parking remains globally less than 100%).
In 2013, the city counted approximately 70,000 public parking spaces, including 8,400 in the city center and in its immediate vicinity, where 70% of places are paid.
4,400 spaces on highways (1,950 in the inner city, including 1,600 paid)
4,000 spaces in underground parking (620 other new places are programmed in a project for the Gare La Vallée development zone).
The underground car parks in the city center are organised thus:
Number of spaces
Rue du Général-Leclerc
Commercial Centre of Halles, belfry
Rue Frédéric Petit
Hôtel de ville
Rue de Beauvais
Espace piétonnier, town hall
Rue des Jacobins
Espace piétonnier, prefecture
Rue des Huchers
Faculties of law, political science and economy management; cathedral
Rue Robert de Luzarches
Espace piétonnier, courthouse, cathedral
Boulevard d'Alsace-Lorraine, rue de la Vallée
Amiens 2 commercial centre, bus station, SNCF railway station
Boulevard de Belfort, rue Vulfran-Warmé
Cinema, SNCF railway station
Gare La Vallée
Rue de la Vallée
SNCF railway station, Gare La Vallée development zone
As of 2007[update], a residential parking system has been deployed in Saint-Anne ward to cope with congestion in the streets caused by SNCF railway station users. During the campaign for the municipal election of 2008, parking was one of the important topics of debate. A year after the change of majority, the Gilles Demailly [fr] team launched a consultation with the population. From 2011, residential parking was extended to the Gare-La-Vallée and Riolan neighborhoods, then in 2012 to the Noyon neighborhood and the area east of the Riolan sector. In 2014, 2,600 parking spaces were affected by this system which allowed city residents more parking near their homes in order to promote a better rotation of vehicles in the streets and reduce permanent occupation of public space by the cars cluttering the highway.
Amiens was originally served by two tram lines over 10.7 kilometres (6.6 mi), opened in 1887. They intersect at Place Gambetta, one linking La Madeleine Cemetery [fr], the Church of Saint-Acheul, Cagnard bridge, Rue de Noyon and Rue Jules-Barni; the other from the Church of Saint-Pierre at the racecourse, by the streets of Saint-Leu, Frédéric-Petit and Colbert. Electrified in 1899, the network grew to seven lines totaling 19 kilometres (12 mi) in 1906. From 1932, Longueau was linked to Amiens by a bus service. German bombing in 1940 destroyed most of the city center and hit the Jules-Ferry Road tram depot [fr], totally destroying the tram fleet. Only the Longueau bus survived. A few old Parisian buses were also used in an extremely reduced service. These buses as well as the surviving bus were then converted to city gas and equipped with tanks on the roof covered by a huge white dome. This service continued until approximately 1946. There were only two urban lines: An east-west line (Saint-Acheul - Montieres) and a northeast-southwest line (Beauville - road to Rouen). It was decided after the war to serve the city by a trolleybus with one route to Longueau. This was only in part realized, serving Saint-Acheul, Rouen, La Madeleine and Saint-Pierre. In 1964, trolleybuses were abandoned and the bus became ubiquitous in Amiens transportation.
The bus network is today managed by the Ametis mixed economy company [fr], whose network covers Amiens Métropole, the agglomeration of Amiens. The establishment of dedicated bus lanes began in 2006. Former Mayor Gilles de Robien had envisioned the creation of a tram, but the choice of dedicated bus lanes had been preferred for reasons of cost and patronage. His successor, Mayor Gilles Demailly [fr], had been considering the development of a TSCP in the metropolitan area. As a result of numerous studies and conferences, elected representatives voted for the creation of a tram at the municipal Council of 15 November 2012. The project had been endorsed by the Communauté d'agglomération Amiens Métropole on 18 December 2012 and the commissioning of a first north-south tram route [fr] was scheduled for 2018/2019. Following the elections of 2014 [fr], which were a defeat for most municipal and community carriers of the project, the new mayor of Amiens Brigitte Fouré, and by extension the new president of Amiens Métropole Alain Gest, decided to suspend the project at least during the time of their respective mandates, thus applying a campaign promise (the tram was at the heart of debate) and despite a project announcement of trams on tyres (of TVR type). Improvement of public transit would then be only by that of the bus network. Indeed, in December of the same year, the Community Council approved funding for a study (the sixth in 20 years) relating to the establishment of a rapid transitbus network [fr] (BHNS), which should enter into service in March 2019, and whose vehicles could be electric.
The Place Gambetta: An important hub of the former tram network of Amiens at the beginning of the 20th century.
The lycée de jeunes filles and tramway, Rue des Otages, now Lycée Madeleine-Michelis.
Amiens has developed two bike services: Buscyclette and Velam [fr].
Buscyclette is a service of rental bikes on demand, created in May 1999. In 2014, nearly 2,400 "green bikes" are available for rent, essentially city bikes but also electric bikes (VAE), folding bicycles and specific bikes (kids bikes, child trailers, mountain bikes, freight bikes, tandems, etc.). The rental period varies from half a day to one year.
In 2012, Amiens Métropole had 100 kilometres (62 mi) of routes for cyclists. Despite the development of a bicycle plan in 1997 which was planning the development of 500 kilometres (310 mi) of equipped cycleways, the network of the territory in terms of paths is still incomplete.
The blueprint of the bicycle facilities of the agglomeration (SDAC) provides, over a period of 10 years (2014-2024), for 188 kilometres (117 mi) of cycle routes and equips 490 sites for the parking of bikes. This plan also includes the deployment of parking facilities over the entire territory of the city, close to the facilities frequented by bikers, as well as cyclist right-turns [fr] at traffic lights or even the maintenance of existing facilities.
Montieres station [fr], station assigned to the freight traffic, it serves only the industrial zone of Amiens. This station is located on the former railway line of Doullens.
Many regional and extra regional links (Haute-Normandie, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Champagne-Ardenne and île-de-France) pass through Amiens, especially by TER Picardie.
A station located 45 kilometres (28 mi) from Amiens, the Haute-Picardie TGV station, allows access to the TGV network. It is served by buses from Amiens. Its isolated character earned it the name of gare des betteraves, or gare betteraves, at the time of its construction.
Gare du Nord (old postcard published by Caron No. 328, postmarked in 1909).
Inside Saint-Roch railway station (postcard postmarked in 1905).
Gare de Longueau.
In addition to Amiens - Glisy Aerodrome, bordering the town's eastern edge 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the center, there are several airports nearby.
Amiens comprises a number of neighbourhoods ("quartiers" in French) with their own characteristics, including Saint-Leu, St-Maurice, Henriville, and Saint-Acheul.
St-Leu is a part of Amiens north of the city center. It has many older wooden and brick houses and several canals. At the foot of the cathedral, traversed by canals, this picturesque area was largely rehabilitated during the 1990s. It extends to the Somme canal, located more to the north, at the foot of the Coteau Saint-Pierre on which the fortress of Jean Errard [fr], called Citadelle, was built. Historically, it was the poor quarter of the city, where butchers, tanners and dyers gathered.
Amiens University's Faculty of Sciences, present since the 1960s, has been renovated and expanded on occasion. The Faculty of Law and Economics has also been transferred since the mid-1990s from the campus (offset to the south of the city) to its new location at the foot of the cathedral.[note 1] The open-air parking it replaces was a "gap" in the landscape dating from World War II. Nonetheless, it allowed an unobstructed view of the cathedral. Most of the buildings have been renovated and transformed into housing much of which is for students, many of whom are in the quarter.
The area became the heart of the Amiens people's evenings, with many establishments (bars, restaurants, etc.) on Place du Don and Quai Bélu.
The church is found at Rue Saint-Leu, located just between the Faculty of Science and Law-Economy (UPJV).
Two theatres were established in the quarter, that of the Chés Cabotans (puppet shows in the Picard language) and the Maison du Théâtre at the foot of the Saint-Leu Church. There is also La Lune des Pirates, a concert hall.
Place du Don: The River Somme and cathedral
Saint-Leu: Rue du Hocquet
Saint-Leu: Rue d'Engoulvent and Rue des Majots
Saint-Leu: Rue d'Engoulvent
Saint-Leu : Place Aristide Briand
Canal in the Saint-Leu quarter
Quai Bélu on the banks of the Somme, near the old market on the waterside
The Samarobriva footbridge towards the Saint-Pierre Park
Located to the west of the Citadelle, and east of the La Madeleine Cemetery [fr], this very old working-class quarter of Amiens acted as an industrial center in the 18th century. It is currently undergoing significant housing renovation and development.
Bordered by the Canal de la Somme, it offers a stopover for leisure boats, which must go through a lock.
The Henriville neighborhood was mostly built during the 19th century after the demolition of the city wall. It lies at the south of the town center. It has numerous bourgeois houses and townhouses, predominantly in brick, blending architectural styles of the period, including neoclassical, troubadour and neo-Gothic. There are also private mansions, such as the Acloque mansion and the house of Jules Verne.
The Saint-Acheul quarter (IPA: [a?oel]) existed before Amiens' inception, as people have lived there since prehistoric times. This is where archaeological excavations in the nineteenth century discovered prehistoric tool sets typical of the "Acheulean" prehistorical era, named after this neighborhood (also spelled Acheulian, pronounced [a?oelj]). Civilians can freely visit the archaeological garden there.
Not to be confused with the commune of Saint-Acheul situated 37 km (23 mi) to the north, the quarter of Saint-Acheul is the site of a military cemetery from the First World War (1914-1918).
It also contains the Church of Saint-Acheul, and the former normal school of teachers which became the Lycée Robert-de-Luzarches. A number of famous people are buried in the former Saint-Acheul cemetery such as the creator of Bécassine J.P. Pinchon, and many resistance fighters. Part of the quarter includes a so-called "English neighborhood," with typical English style houses. At the feet of this area lie the hortillonnages [fr], a marshy area criss-crossed by canals.
Amiens, like other big cities, has its large HLM high-rise tower blocks:
North of the city the quarters du Pigeonnier, which is famous for its weekend market, Messenger, Mozart, Fafet-Brossolette-la Cité, Balzac, Léo Lagrange-Schweitzer, etc.;
Southeast of the city: Victorine-Autier, Philéas Lebesgue, Condorcet, Pierre-Rollin.
West: Etouvie and Montieres (an ecodistrict is provided in this industrial space, where there are 19th century in brick buildings).
East: Saint-Acheul-la-Cité and the Clos de l'Avre.
These areas experience a lot of social troubles and have regularly been the place for riots. The northern quarters were the scene of violent events in 1994, 1999 and 2000 (clashes between several districts of the city and between the neighbourhoods of Amiens and the districts of Creil), in 2006 and 2008 (in the wake of incidents in the Paris suburbs) and more recently in August 2012 following a conflict between youth and the police. The cost of the latest vandalism to occur in the north of Amiens would amount, according to Gilles Demailly [fr], to between four and six million euros. These extremely violent riots caused sixteen police officers to be injured.
An extensive programme of redevelopment of these neighborhoods began recently, with demolition of HLM tower blocks and new infrastructure having been built, especially for schools. In 2009, the public transport network of the Amiens agglomeration was significantly modified.
Houses in the Saint-Leu quarter.
In 2017, the total number of dwellings in the municipality was 73,541, while it was 63,178 in 1999.
Among this housing, 88.7% were primary residences, 2.1% of secondary residences and 9.2% vacant housing. These dwellings were 35.6% of houses and 63.4% of apartments.
The proportion of principal residences, which were the properties of occupants, was 31.9%, down from 2007 (34.4%). The share of empty rented HLM homes (social housing) was up: 29.8% against 29.4% in 2007, their number increased from 18,268 to 19,431. However, this percentage remains much greater than the rate of 20% required by the law on solidarity and urban renewal [fr] (SRU) for cities and agglomerations of more than 50,000 inhabitants.
The identity of the city is strongly marked by the specificity of its housing stock, consisting in a large proportion of detached houses, semi-detached, single or bourgeois: the amiénoises. These traditional houses in the suburbs, in brick, were intrinsically linked to the expansion of the city during and after the Industrial Revolution.
The amiénoise simple includes a window on the ground floor and floors for attic and basement. It is built on a plot of a few metres wide but is very deep, and includes a garden, forming hearts with green islets and sparse areas. The amiénoise double has two windows at each level. The grandes amiénoises and townhouses rise to at least two floors with large rooms. They can have a gate opening onto a paved courtyard.
The official buildings or mansions regularly use brick façades on a sandstone base, decorated by stone window and door frames.
The Chanoines quarter has stone façades exclusively.
Amiens 2030: Amiens, in the context of the Communauté d'agglomération Amiens Métropole, is developing a master development plan called Amiens 2030. This strategic outreach project is centered around the priority issues of economic, social and cultural development of the agglomeration. The whole process of reflection will determine the development of the metropolis by the 2030.
La Citadelle [fr]: This flagship project for the agglomeration involves the amalgamation of units of training and research from the University of Picardie in letters, languages, history, geography, philosophy, sociology, psychology and the College teaching and education [fr] (ESPE) on the site of La Citadelle. It is to be set on 18 acres (7.3 ha) on the outskirts of downtown. This university construction program is intended to strengthen regional competitiveness and the development of higher education and research. The project, entrusted to the Italian architect Renzo Piano, will be accessible to all inhabitants.
ZAC Gare-la-Vallée: The project intends to strengthen Amiens in its role as the regional capital and allow the creation of a genuine business district in the heart of the city. With a budget of EUR157 million, the project combines tertiary activities, shops and a habitat walk from the station and the inner city. The first buildings were inaugurated in 2008. The second phase of development extended from 2012 to 2017. Under the control of the Chief Architect, Paul Chemetov, the quarter must accommodate 2,000 homes, 200,000 square metres (2,200,000 sq ft) of offices and two urban parks creating a visible link between downtown, the Somme and the Hortillonnages [fr].
ZAC Intercampus: This new housing and services quarter in the south of the city is projected to host 1,900 dwellings by 2030. A first tranche of 850 dwellings must be delivered in 2015. Located in the immediate vicinity of the campus and the CHU d'Amiens, it will be served by a future TCSP. The ecodistrict of 80 hectares (200 acres) is projected to provide green spaces and gardens, with 60% of its total area to not be built-up. It will include 12 hectares (30 acres) of gardens.
ZAC Paul Claudel: This new housing and services quarter of 40 hectares (99 acres) is located at the southern entrance to the city. Intended as a small neighborhood, it must accommodate 1,400 units and 1,800 square metres (19,000 sq ft) of commercial space. Designed in 4 slices, together with its inhabitants, it entered its final phase of development in 2013.
ZAC Renancourt: This new quarter must ensure the development of the city to the west. Located between the Grâce Valley, the Selle Valley, the Renancourt quarter and its suburb, this planning area is a natural viewpoint over the city. It is also adjacent to emblematic facilities of the city: The Zenith of Amiens, the Stade de la Licorne and the megacity [fr]. By 2018, this residential area is projected to accommodate 1,400 houses, a hotel, facilities and shops.
Bus rapid transit (BRT): A project of three BRT lines is under consideration for commissioning in 2019, at the end of two years of work. Estimated at EUR85 million excluding taxes, and spanning 44 kilometres (27 mi), the project would include the construction of a new bus depot and four park and ride stops. This project follows the cancellation of a tram project, which was endorsed by the municipal team in place between 2008 and 2014.
The toponym is derived from the name of the local Gallic people, the Ambiani, which in the 4th century, replaced the old name of the town Samarobriva [fr] (the bridge on the Samara - Somme). Amiens then became the episcopal headquarters. In Picard, Amiens is called Anmyen.
Politics and administration
Political trends and results
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2015)
Finally, Amiens participates in partnerships signed by the agglomeration community:
Santa Catarina, Cape Verde. The cities include partners in the field of water and sanitation.
Lviv, Ukraine: Draft exchange of apprentices and teachers in the catering industry.
Brighton and Hove, England, United Kingdom, since 2006. Cities shall cooperate in particular through the Nuit blanche and the European project "Beyond the blue - Woad".
On the same date, the site of the Communauté d'agglomération does cite only three twinnings with Dortmund, Görlitz and Darlington and does not cite the twinning with Bergen. Similarly, it cited the contract of partnership with Lviv, but none of the other partnerships, and adds a partnership with Tulsa in the United States.
Furthermore, in 1997, a cooperation agreement and a twinning charter signed between Amiens and the Chinese city of Mianyang. These were renewed in 2014 with aims to bring the two cities closer on various levels: economic, cultural, scientific, etc.
Population and society
The inhabitants of Amiens are called the Amiénois and their blason populaire is Chés maqueux d'gueugues (the eaters of nuts).
The population of Amiens has risen sharply since the mid-19th century: Its population doubled between 1850 and 1960, from 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, i.e. a gain of 50,000 people over this period of 110 years, and gaining about 30,000 others since (over 50 years only this time).
Amiens is distinguished by the youthfulness of its population. In 2017, more than 25% of the population of the city was less than 20 years old. The rate of people of an age over 60 years (19.3%) is also lower than the national rate (25.5%) and the departmental rate (25.4%). Like national and departmental allocations, the female population of the municipality is greater in number to the male population, with a rate of 52.5%, whereas the national rate is 51.6%.
In 2011, the Amiens agglomeration included 46 nursery schools, six elementary schools and 54 primary schools including eleven private. It had nine public colleges and six private colleges. Amiens has 24 schools:
Vocational high schools: Acheuléen, Édouard-Branly, Edouard-Gand, La Providence (private), Montaigne, Romain Rolland, Sacré-Coeur [fr] (private), Saint-Martin (private), Saint-Rémi (private) and Saint-Riquier (private).
General and technological high schools: Robert de Luzarches, La Hotoie, Jean Baptiste Delambre, La Providence (private), Sacré-Coeur [fr] (private), Saint-Martin (private), Saint-Rémi (private), Saint-Riquier (private) and Sainte-Famille (private).
The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) or, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire of Amiens Picardie, is organized around four sites:
South Hospital, Avenue René-Laënnec
North Hospital, Place Victor-Pauchet
Saint-Victor Centre, 354 Bis Boulevard de Beauville
Obstetrics and Gynaecology Centre, 124 Rue Camille-Desmoulins
Since 2014, the four sites have been gradually gathered on the current site of the South Hospital, with the exception of the long stay units for the elderly remaining in the Saint-Victor Centre. This merger will be completed in 2016 and allow the CHU of Amiens to increase its national and inter-regional dimension. This group represents the largest hospital construction of France and one of the most important in Europe with more than EUR630 million for work and equipment. At the end of the work, the total space of the CHU of Amiens will be 172,000 square metres (1,850,000 sq ft). It will total three blocks of hospitals with 400 beds each. The CHU of Amiens is the largest employer in the Picardy region. At the end of the merger, there will be 6,700 employees, 1,300 students of the health professions, and 1,250 consultants who will go there each day.
In order to maintain the availability of health units to the north of the city, a health center will open its doors in the first quarter of 2016, at the crossroads of the Avenue de l'Europe and the Rue Maurice-Ravel. This health space of 1,200 square metres (13,000 sq ft) will host general practitioners and specialists of the CHU such as: cardiologist, a service of gynaecology-obstetrics, psychologists, dentist, and masseurs-physiotherapists. There is a promise of a permanence of care [fr], 7 days a week and 24 hours a day.
Alongside the CHU, there are three private clinics, resulting from the consolidation of old clinics in the city. These care and hospitalisation institutions for medical, surgical, and obstetrics came together to create a private hospital center in the Vallée des Vignes quarter, south of the city.
Polyclinic of Picardy, 43 Rue Alexandre Dumas
Clinic of Europe, 5 Allée des Pays-Bas
Victor Pauchet Heath Group, 2 Avenue Irlande
The CHU of Amiens figured in 11th place in the 2013 awards of the hospitals and clinics of the magazine Le Point. In this ranking, the CHU stands out for ankle surgery (3rd), hip prosthesis (5th), foot surgery (7th) and paediatrics (14th). In this same classification, the Victor Palmer Health Group, equipped with a solid "mother-to-child hub", gained a 5th place in the table for the gynaecological clinics and an 8th place for breast cancers.
In 2005, the CHU of Amiens became of international renown thanks to Professor Bernard Devauchelle, a native of the city, where his team performed the first partial face transplant in the world.
Thanks to a large proportion of youth in its population and the dynamism and the success of its sports clubs, Amiens has been awarded the title of "Sportiest city of France" [fr] by the L'Equipe newspaper in 1999. The city had already won the title in 1969. In 2013, Amiens Métropole had nearly 300 sports associations and Sports Recreation: approximately 150 associations are grouped within the Office of Amiens Metropole Sports and 150 others are referenced without being adherents. According to this same Office for Sports, Amiens has 25,000 members of sports clubs, excluding school and university members.
The Circle of Fencing of Amiens Métropole is one of the oldest French clubs. It was succeeded in the Hall of arms of Amiens opened in 1886. The circle has approximately 150 members and remains a major club of French fencing with many qualifications and results at the French Fencing Championships [fr]. The club held the Elite French Championships in 2001 and 2011.
The Amiens Sports Club [fr], currently playing in League Elite [fr] D1), were men's champions of France in 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and women's champions France in 1983, 1984, 1993, and 1995.
The Amiens SC, for Ligue 1. The team was a finalist of the Coupe de France in 2001 and semi-finalists in 1930 and 2008.
CSA Club, Amiens SC women's team plays in Division 2 [fr]. Before the 2012-2013 season, the team was known under the name of CS Amiens Montieres Etouvie.
The Amiens AC, currently playing in the CFA (D4).
The Sport Nautique d'Amiens (SNA) was founded in 1866. Located on the edge of the Parc Saint-Pierre, it is labeled "French rowing school 3 stars" by the French Federation of rowing [fr]. With 465 members in 2013, the club currently competes in the 2nd division.
The Amiens Métropole [fr] swim team, is that of Jérémy Stravius, who was a triple world champion of swimming and Olympic champion in the 4 × 100 m relay. The club hosted the French Youth Championships in 2012 at the Coliséum
Each 15 August at the Parc de la Hotoie, the city receives the final stages of the Picardy sports and in particular those of the most emblematic, traditional Picard sport: The Ballon au poing. This Picard game is played by teams of six. To be able to hit the ball, players surround their hand and their wrist with a strip of canvas or leather.
Since 7 February 1996, the Communauté d'agglomération Amiens Métropole distributes a free weekly local newspaper: JDA (Journal des Amiénois). This publication, which appears every Wednesday, is distributed to all homes in the metropolitan area and is made available in public places (taken at about 95,000 copies) as well as on the internet site of the city in its digital version. Over time, the journal has evolved through various forms. Carried out by the Directorate of communication of Amiens Métropole, the latest form dates to 16 January 2015. In addition to the JDA which is attached to information on the whole of the territory of Amiens Métropole, the city has also had monthly publications specific to the city, which no longer exist today: Amiensville then Amiens Forum (from April 2009 to June 2014).
Several associative journals and specialised magazines are also distributed free of charge in public places: L'Écho des Amphis (student monthly), Bon Temps (quarterly magazine dedicated to the culture of Amiens and the art of living), Style & Co Amiens (deco magazine, trends and lifestyle), Night Clubbing Magazine (magazine of the nightlife in Amiens), Picardie la Gazette (economics weekly), Entreprises 80 (monthly of the Chamber of commerce and industry of Amiens-Picardie [fr]).
Chapelle du Bon Pasteur (first of the name): Situated on Rue Daire, it belonged to the Conseil général de la Somme [fr]. Leased to the Society of St. Pius X from 1983 to 2007, it was sold, with the property complex to which it belonged, to Picardy in May 2007.
The city of Amiens has the largest Muslim community of Picardy and one of the largest in the north of the France. Places of worship are evolving, several mosques are in a phase of expansion or relocation. The city has fifteen Muslim places of worship including eight independent prayer rooms and seven mosques:
The An-Nour mosque where sits the Institute of the Arab-Muslim world of Picardy in Rue de la Hotoie.
The Al-Fath mosque (currently moving premises), also the Association of Worship and Culture of Muslims in Picardy located at 375 Boulevard Beauvillé.
The Al Badr mosque, also the Association of workers and Moroccan traders of Amiens, located at 33 Rue Winston-Churchill.
The Masjid Al Muhsinin mosque located on the Rue de l'île-de-France.
The Sounnahs mosque located Rue Victorine-Autier.
The Chekkar mosque, also Association of the Committee of the Briqueterie located at 40 Rue Ronsard.
The Mosque of the "19" is located at 19 Avenue de l'Europe and is home to the Association of Muslims in Picardy.
Several independent prayer rooms are present in the urban community. On the other hand, Muslim committees and associations exist in the image of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Amiens in the Rue de Savoie, the Muslim Cultural Freedom Association - Institute of Enlightenment and also the Association of residents of the home at 21 Route d'Allonville.
The Protestant Church of Amiens, Rue Saint-Jacques.
Both an industrial hub and services center, Amiens enjoys a large pool of workers with a labor pool of over 350,000 inhabitants and numerous professional training courses.
The magazine L'Entreprise [fr] elected Amiens "Most attractive city of France" for businesses, in 2009 and 2007, for the category less than 200,000 inhabitants. The city finished second in 2010, 2008 and 2006. The strengths of the city include a developed real estate business and taxation around the average for French cities. In addition, its geographical position in the center of the triangle "Paris - London - Brussels", is between three major European cities.
The magazine Challenges has also designated Amiens as "Best managed city of France", for the category large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, in 2011, 2010 and 2008.
Income of the population and taxation
In 2010, the median taxable household income was EUR22,539, which placed Amiens at 177th place among the 31,525 communes with more than 39 households in metropolitan France.
In 2017, the proportion of taxable households was 45%.
In 2017, the population aged 15 to 64 years amounted to 91,555 persons, among which there were 64.5% of assets including 51.4% having a job and 13.1% of unemployed.
There were 78,284 jobs in the employment area, against 80,908 in 2007. The number of assets employed and residing in the area of employment being 47,588. The concentration of jobs indicator[note 2] is 164.5%, which means that the employment area offers three jobs for every two active inhabitants.
Agriculture has very little representation among Amiens jobs with only 0.2%, just as the construction sector which represents 4.3% of jobs. Unlike these two sectors whose share is below the national average, the tertiary sector (trade, transport, services) represents a significant part of the Amiens workforce, 42.3%. Public services (public administration, education, health, social work) accounts for 42.7%. Industry includes 10.5% of jobs.
On 31 December 2015, at Amiens, there were 10,436 businesses: 51 in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, 394 in industry, 685 in construction, 7,110 in trade, transportation and various services and 2,196 were related to the administrative sector.
In 2018, 1,505 companies had been recorded as being established in Amiens, including 1,206 companies owned by sole proprietors.
Philatelic publishers Yvert et Tellier (catalogues of quotes) and l'Écho de la timbrologie (magazine) have their management in Amiens, even if they have more of their services in the Paris region. The Gueudet Group, one of the largest car dealers in France, was established at Amiens in 1918. The old textile tradition of the city remains with the factory of Lee Cooper France (122 employees).
Since the end of World War II, much of the city's economy was tied to automotive equipment with companies such as Valeo, Goodyear and Sumitomo-Dunlop tires. In 2003, the American Goodyear company bought Dunlop. These two companies suffered financially through late 2007 and early 2008, and in response, the American Goodyear company headquarters in the United States offered workers a change to their working hours and the number of posts, which a high percentage of staff refused.
Procter & Gamble, settled in Amiens in 1964 to produce soap, and inaugurated its new detergents unit in 1966. Established on over more than 45 hectares (110 acres), it is one of the largest factories in the world for laundry cleaning products (Ariel, Dash, Bonux, Gama) and for domestic cleaning products (Mr. Clean, Febreze). More than 85% of its production is intended for export.
The Amiens plant employs approximately 930 people.
Since the mid-1990s, the city has tried to convert the economy towards the internet and telephony industries. Many call centres (Intracall center, Coriolis France, Médiamétrie) have opened mainly within the city, region or state. The Unilog (now Logica) computer service company has installed a service center in Amiens (the CSA).
Amiens has the label of Towns and Lands of Art and History since 1992. Within this framework, the host of the heritage organises guided tours on themes intended for an audience of adults and children, with educational workshops. A signposted circuit allows an independent tour of the town, with information panels offering comment on places and notable buildings.
Amiens has an important historical and cultural heritage, and an accessible and varied natural heritage, on which tourism is based. The main attractions are the cathedral, which is included in the world heritage of UNESCO, the hortillonnages [fr], Jules Verne House [fr], the Tour Perret, the Musée de Picardie, the zoo [fr], and the quarters of Saint-Leu and Saint-Maurice.
Places and Monuments
The commune has an exceptional heritage: 60 monuments listed in the inventory of monuments historiques and over 1600 places and monuments listed in the general inventory of cultural heritage [fr]; and on the other hand, 187 objects listed in the inventory of monuments historiques and 254 objects listed in the general inventory of cultural heritage. The information given below is relative only to a brief selection.
Façade of Notre-Dame Cathedral
It's a lovely old woman, this Cathedral is a Virgin. ... Point of pain confusion, here, point of exaggeration or smell. It is absolutely empirical of supreme swelling.
The city is famous for its Notre-Dame Cathedral, masterpiece of Gothic art and one of the largest cathedrals in the world by its interior volume (200,000 cubic metres (7,100,000 cu ft)). The largest religious and medieval building of France, its interior could twice hold Notre Dame de Paris.
The cathedral measures 145 metres (476 ft) long and its spire rises 112 metres (367 ft) high. The vaults of the central nave, finished in 1247, are 42.3 metres (139 ft), close to the maximum limit for this architecture.
Dating back to the 13th century, its construction is due to the wealth of the city in the Middle Ages and to the fire of the Romanesque cathedral which stood previously. Three architects, including Robert of Luzarches succeeded to complete the construction.
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 inlays of its floor. It is also described by John Ruskin as "Gothic, clear of Roman tradition and of Arabian taint, Gothic pure, authoritative, unsurpassable, and unaccusable."
Regarded as the archetype of the classic Gothic style, the cathedral also presents some elements of the radiant Gothic style and flamboyant Gothic. The speed of construction, barely 70 years for the shell (1220 to 1269), explains this remarkable homogeneity of style. Its façade is decorated with more than 3,000 statues, gargoyles and chimeras.
Registered since 1981 as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO, it is a "masterpiece of world heritage". For a second time in 1998, it is a monumental step on the Camino de Santiago. Despite the two World Wars of the 20th century, which severely affected the city, it managed to stay intact.
A show of the reproduction of the original polychromy of façades, discovered as a result of recent laser cleaning, is given annually for free in December and during the summer period. The show is a projection on the façade of slides in color.
The zodiac [fr] is a set of reliefs on the foundations of the western façade formed series of quatrefoil medallions, carved in a representative agrarian calendar and the signs of the zodiac.
The statue of the weeping Angel [fr] that is on a tomb carved by Nicolas Blasset [fr], and the reliefs evoking Saint-Firmin and St. John the Baptist, are some of the well-known works of the Cathedral.
At ground level lies the intact labyrinth [fr] of 234 metres (768 ft) long.
Its origin dates back to the establishment of the commune of Amiens by Louis VI. It is mentioned for the first time in an arbitral award issued by the chapter of Amiens in 1244.
Symbolizing the independence of the commune, it was formerly used for meetings of the notables of the city and then as archive rooms, weapons store and prison. A spotter nearby monitored arrivals and warned the population of the external dangers. During the Middle Ages, the building was repeatedly engulfed by fire.
The belfry is composed of a base in white cut stone, built in the 15th century between 1406 and 1410, a stone superstructure bell tower built from 1749 with Baroque volutes at its base, and a dome covered with slate and then the renowned arrow weather vane. At the time, a huge 11-ton bell was installed inside, it was later destroyed along with the dome, whose copper component melted, in the bombardment and fire of the city on 19 May 1940. Abandoned and devoid of a roof since World War II, the monument was fully restored between February 1989 and July 1990.
Located on the Place au Fil, the old central square of the city before the arrival of the railway and the rise of the Rue des Trois Calloux, the belfry is adjacent to Les Halles and the back of the city hall. At a height of 52 metres (171 ft), it rings every hour of the day.
Since July 2005, the belfry of Amiens is, as with Notre Dame Cathedral, classed among the UNESCO world heritage sites. The belfry is also recorded in the inventory of Historic Monuments.
The municipal circus of Amiens in 1912, on the festival of Saint Jean.
The municipal circus of Amiens in 2006.
In 1845, the traditional fair of Saint-Jean, formerly held at Place René Goblet, was transferred to Place Longueville. It is a wide esplanade that took the place of the Longueville bastion, after the demolition of the city walls in the early 19th century. Each year, a temporary circus is established for this occasion.
In 1865, a circus company emerged to claim a permanent circus, which would be built in wood by the Schytte contractor in 1874. However, expensive maintenance prompted the municipality to consider the construction of a new building. The decision was made in 1886 under the leadership of Mayor Frédéric Petit and the work began.
The Chief Architect of the Somme, Émile Ricquier [fr], a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, was responsible for its construction. It was inspired by the Cirque d'hiver of Paris but with a cast metal frame, supplemented by brick from the local countryside. The architect of civil buildings, Charles Garnier, claimed that the frames should be hidden with a plaster imitating stone. The "moderninst" design of Ricquier, who chose to display the structure, and to favor local material such as brick, is visible at the rear of the monument.
With its 16-sided polygonal shape and a diameter of 44 metres (144 ft), it includes lodges and stalls in its enclosure. As a completely modern project, it hosted two steam engines, dedicated to fully electric lights and central heating. Since its construction, it was also the first circus which included a buffet and a refreshment bar. The cost of the construction of the building finally reached double the forecast. In 1888, the new city councilor responsible for festivals and celebrations, Jules Verne, was responsible for monitoring the work, and it was he who opened it on Sunday 23 June 1889, for the opening of the fair and the centenary of the French Revolution:
The new circus is a work of art that your municipal administration wanted to build with all of the enhancements of modern industry. It is the very best, undoubtedly, it is also the most comprehensive, with its facilities and equipment, to have been built in France and abroad.
The roof was damaged by a shell in 1916. The circus was the setting for Federico Fellini's The Clowns (1971), and the film by Jean-Jacques Beineix, Roselyne et les lions (1989), with Isabelle Pasco as lead actress. The largest of the circuses of the province with its 3,000-seats, the building has acquired a multidisciplinary use for decades of performances of theatre, dance, concerts, galas, sports and public meetings.
Opposite the Gare d'Amiens, is located the Tour Perret (from the name of its architect Auguste Perret). Over 100 metres (330 ft) high, it was one of the first skyscrapers built in Europe, and the highest for a long time.
The Church of Saint-Leu
This church was built at the end of the 15th century, on the model of the hall-churches. It is dedicated, as its district, to Saint Leu, referring to the 7th century bishop who was exiled to the Vimeu. It has three naves. A flamboyant portal adorns the base of the steeple. The latter, struck by lightning, had to be rebuilt at the beginning of the 16th century. The ends of beams are carved. Stone and wood statues date from the 17th century. The choir houses the glory of the Duthoit brothers.
Other notable buildings or monuments
Architecture from antiquity
Numerous archaeological excavations have uncovered remains from proto-historic times to the Roman era. Two skylights cut in the last development of Place Gambetta, allow observation of a few remains of the forum. And, important remnants of a large Gallo-Roman theatre uncovered in early 2007, have been dismantled and stored in accordance with the rules of archaeological conservation, during the redevelopment of the Gare quarter in March 2007.
The archaeological garden of Saint-Acheul testifies to the presence of Paleolithic man in the Somme Valley some 450,000 years ago. A stratigraphic cut, classified as an historic monument since 1947, allows visualisation of successive strata of the Somme Valley.
Architecture from the Middle Ages
The Church of Saint-Germain, is disused, but where exhibitions are regularly held on the colourisation of the cathedral and the St-Germain quarter, and historical competitor of the Saint-Leu quarter. The animosity, between the populations of the two districts has marked the history of Amiens. This church has a high and oddly leaning tower. Affected by the bombing of 1940, it was returned temporarily to worship in October 1965, after a thorough restoration.
The remains of the Hôtel-Dieu (Saint-Leu district, between the CRDP and the Faculty of Sciences),
The mills Passe avant and Passe arrière (at Saint-Leu).
Architecture from the Renaissance
The renaissance façade of the Maison du Sagittaire (moved to adjoin the Logis du Roy).
The Logis du Roy (Faculty of Arts until 2003).
The House of the Bailiwick or Malmaison.
The Citadelle: First ravelin, erected north of the Montrescu gate, the fortress was located in 1531 by F. di Giorgio on the order of Francis I (Francis I gate, with sculpted salamanders). After the capture by the Spaniards and its takeover by Henry IV (1597), Jean Errard [fr] received the charge to rebuild the defences of the city.
The Logis du Roy and the Maison du Sagittaire.
The Maison du bailliage ou Malmaison, former residence of the bailli of Amiens, constructed in 1541.
Gate of the Ravelin of Montrescu constructed from 1524 to 1531.
The city hall (partly 18th century and partly 19th century). Made in the regional style of stone and brick, with bedrock of sandstone, and stone pavilions. On the pediment is found the statues of King Louis VI and Bishop Geoffroi, which granted freedom to Amiens in 1115.
The city hall
The former Stengel barracks converted into apartments (18th century, historic monuments, 1992).
Façade of the former theatre of Amiens, bank Rue des Trois-Cailloux.
Fountain of Rue Saint-Jacques.
Convent of the grey sisters (18th century, historic monuments, 1992).
Hôtel Blin de Bourdon (18th century: 1 Rue des Augustins (historic monuments, 1993).
Maison Cozette (18th century) : 26 Place Vogel (historic monuments, 1992).
Hôtel de la Préfecture (18th and 19th centuries, historic monuments, 1992).
Architecture from the 19th century
The Palace of Justice was built from 1865 to 1880 on the site of the Abbey of Saint-Martin-les-Jumeaux (1073 to 1634) established at the supposed place of the sharing of the cloak of Saint Martin and the convent of the religious Order of the Celestines (1634 to 1781). Les Célestins, whose order was abolished in 1778, left the premises in 1881.
Henriville quarter, including the hotel Acloque (neo-Louis XIII style) and the Saint-Martin Church (neo-Gothic, built by Louis Antoine in 1874).
The home of Jules Verne [fr], which was reopened after renovation, in 2006, including the present neo-Gothic dining room and antique desk. The tower was covered with an armillary sphere commissioned from artist François Schuiten, who also signed the mural extending the imaginary garden of yesteryear.
The Madeleine Cemetery (Cimetière de la Madeleine) contains a number of listed monuments including the sculpture on the grave of Jules Verne. His tomb is decorated with a sculpture by Albert Roze [fr] symbolising the resurrection: Jules Verne lifting the slab to glimpse the modern world.
The Verrière de la place de la gare d'Amiens, also called the Canopy. It is the work of architect Claude Vasconi, known especially for the Forum des Halles in Paris. A subject of a controversy when it opened in March 2008, the canopy is designed to create a link between the pedestrian zone of the city center and the ZAC Gare la Vallée, and to become a business district of Amiens. Criticised for its massive and imposing area of more than 10,000 square metres (110,000 sq ft), the canopy rises to 15 metres (49 ft) in height and is composed of pixellated glass panels created by Bernard Pictet [fr]. This is one of the largest canopies in Europe.
With 270 hectares (670 acres) of green space (excluding communal woodland) 118,300 hectares (292,000 acres) of hortillonnages [fr], 300 hectares (740 acres) of forests, 30 hectares (74 acres) of marshland, and its river and its streams, Amiens proves to be green and blue city.
Presenting itself as a city concerned with the environment, Amiens has made the link between the city and nature a central axis of its metropolitan development project called Amiens 2030.
Amiens is also known for the hortillonnages [fr], gardens on small islands in over 300 hectares (740 acres) of marshland between the River Somme and River Avre, surrounded by a grid network of man-made canals (locally known as "rieux"). They are also known as the "floating gardens of Amiens". The hortillonnages are sometimes called "Little Venice of the North", because of the canals.
Hortillon means market garden in Picard, and derives from the Latin hortillus, small garden. It is navigated in flat bottom boats, formerly called barque à cornet [Cornet boat], due to the very raised front, which allows the boats to easily dock on the fragile shores of the cultivated fields. It is the upstream port, located at the foot of the cathedral, where a weekly market is held on the water, although the arrival the growers by boat can only be accomplished once a year, in summer.
On a boat
Amiens Metropolitan Zoo
Prior to its opening in May 1952, the Amiens Zoo [fr] is a green space bordering the basin of the Park of the Hotoie [fr]. It was the mayor of the time, Maurice Vast [fr], who decided to develop the site in 1949. Originally intended as an entertainment venue, the zoo began its mission of conservation, education and research between 1970 and 1980. Between 1990 and 2000, the zoo was completely renovated and became a permanent member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) in 2001 and the National Association of Zoological Parks [fr] (ANPZ) in 2002. Today, there are 300 animals, representing approximately 75 species from all continents, cohabiting on 6.5 hectares (16 acres). They live in environments, which are close to their natural environment, favouring their well-being. In 2014, the zoo received 161,128 visitors. Traditionally, entry is free on 14 July, Bastille Day.
Parc du Grand Marais [fr], along the Somme Canal, to the west of the city. Covering over 25 hectares (62 acres), this park has many sports facilities: American football stadium, skate bowl, football field, play structures.
Jardin des plantes [fr] originally called the Jardin du Roy. Created in 1751, it is the oldest garden of Amiens on the Boulevard du jardin des plantes
As a floral city, 4 flowers were awarded in 2013 by the National Council of Cities and Villages of France for the competition of floral cities and villages. The national Council of Cities and Villages awarded the 2012 National Tree Prize to the city for "its exceptional and innovative management of its wooded heritage" with its 37,000 trees, some more than a century old.
The House of Jules Verne [fr], labeled Maisons des Illustres, is the home of the most translated writer in the world after Agatha Christie:Jules Verne. He lived here from 1882 to 1900 with his wife Honorine, and wrote part of his work in this mansion of the 19th century. To visit is to enter into the intimate and creative universe of the author. The building largely retains its original decor and opens almost all of its rooms, from the ground floor to the attic. The permanent collections are presented on two floors, in the attic, the tower and the belvedere of the house: Approximately 700 collected objects evoke the personality, sources of inspiration and memories of Jules Verne. Costumed tours, performances, parties and literary encounters of thematic conferences are also regularly organised.
The Gallery of stained glass is located in the workshop of master glassmaker Claude Barre, in a 16th century house near to the cathedral. It presents a large collection to the public, including religious stained-glass windows and interiors, from the 11th to the 19th century. The gallery also offers demonstrations on the techniques of stained glass.
The Fonds régional d'art contemporain of Picardie (FRAC Picardie), created in 1983, aims to promote contemporary art, in particular through dissemination actions. As early as 1985, FRAC Picardie had specialised its action in the field of the design and its contemporary dimensions. It is also interested in new media, on and off paper, since artists are now working through the video medium. This has allowed it to acquire a good reputation in France and abroad. In 30 years, the FRAC has brought together a unique collection of a thousand drawings which include major names of contemporary art, such as Basquiat, Dubuffet, Oppenheim, Twombly, Matta, Manessier, etc. In 2001, discussions are undertaken to construct a new building to accommodate the fonds and its collections.
The city has a number of concert spaces, mostly small venues, and pubs also host numerous concerts throughout the year.
The Zenith of Amiens was inaugurated in September 2008. With a capacity of 6,000 seats, it is the work of the Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas. Holder of the required Zénith label, this facility allows the hosting of national and international headline acts and ensures a high level of services and organisation. The accessibility of the place by motorway (A16, A29, A1), and the possibilities of free parking, the venue radiates to Belgium and to the Paris region.
The megacity [fr] is the Park of the Congress and Exhibitions of Amiens. Located in immediate proximity of the Zenith of Amiens and the Stade de la Licorne, there are two auditoriums of 350 and 1,000 places where concerts and comedy shows [fr] are programmed.
Cirque Jules-Verne [fr], the biggest grand circus of France, has about 1,700 seating spaces since its renovation in 2003. It welcomes, among other shows, concerts.
The House of culture of Amiens [fr] offers many live shows and concerts. It manages also New Dreams, a room for 120 seated or 300 standing, which also hosts concerts.
The House of Culture of Amiens [fr] has the Scène nationale [fr] accreditation from the Ministry of Culture. Cultural place of the city, its mission is broad and covers many disciplines: theatre, music, dance, cinema and visual arts. It brings together two theatres: the Grand Théâtre (1,070 seats) and the Petit Théâtre (300 seats).
The Maison du Théâtre was established in April 1988 in the historic quarter of Saint-Leu [fr]. Its activities range from creation to dissemination, training and theatrical information. Focused on contemporary theatre, the Maison du Théâtre also hosts local theatrical companies and their creations.
The puppet theatre "Chés cabotants of Amiens", founded in 1933, is the heir of some eighty cabotan theatres which were created in Amiens in the 19th century. Amiens is known as the French capital of the puppet son. Since 1997, a theatre is dedicated to Chés Cabotans of Amiens and his popular hero Lafleur [fr]. It is located in the heart of the Saint-Leu quarter.
Amiens Métropole has nine cultural centers which cover much of the metropolitan area: Six in various districts of Amiens, and three in the neighbouring communes of Longueau, Camon and Glisy. These outreach facilities working in the field of art and creation are openly oriented "venues". Open to all, they offer an eclectic programme; theatre and concerts, shows for young people and dance, projections of films, exhibitions, meetings and debates, etc. In 2013, they accommodated 48,000 people.
The Briqueterie was installed in 2001 on the site of the former Friant military barracks in the Elbeuf quarter. As part of its programming, it hosts concerts, as well as exhibitions, public theatre and shows for youths. To this end, it has a room that can accommodate 120 people.
The Jacques Tati cultural center is located in the heart of the Pierre Rollin. Opened in January 2008, the Jacques Tati theatre has 198 seats and hosts plays, public youth performances, concerts, etc.
The Léo-Lagrange cultural center is located in Saint Germain district. A venue for exhibitions, meetings and performances of music, theatre, dance and circus, it has a room of 85 seats named the chapel.
The CSC is installed in the heart of the Etouvie quarter. Its missions include the dissemination of exhibitions and performances. To this end, it has a room of 150 seats.
The Étoile du sud is located in the neighbourhood Victorine-Autier. This cultural center is specialized in urban cultures and has the peculiarity of having a computer (MAO) recording studio.
The Safran is located in the north quarter of Amiens. This 'multidisciplinary and experimental' Scène Conventionnée [fr] offers diverse programming: Drama, public youth shows, dance and exhibitions. Its theatre hall, known as Gérard-Philipe has 220 spaces. Saffron also hosts a music complex, the Cité Carter, which offers rehearsal studios, recording sessions and organises concerts of contemporary music in its 250-seat hall.
Libraries currently constitute a network of 28 facilities spread over the whole territory of the metropolis. The heart of this network is the Louis Aragon library, located on Rue de la République. Built between 1823 and 1826, it is one of the oldest municipal libraries in France. It experienced several improvements, including campaigns of work between 1982 and 1993, which have endowed it with new spaces: Two auditoriums, a youth space, a library and an art library.
Registration and borrowing is free for all of the people of Amiens in all libraries. Two libraries also provide service to neighborhoods and the communes of the agglomeration, and there is home delivery of documents for people with reduced mobility.
There are three cinemas:
The Cinema Gaumont Amiens (12 rooms, 2,700 seats) was inaugurated in September 2005. Located just steps from the Amiens railway station, it has a large lobby and a 600-seat room. A 500-space car park is located under the cinema. It is the work of the architects Philippe Chaix and Jean-Paul Morel [fr] and its interior decoration was entrusted to Christian Lacroix. In 2011, this multiplex received 887,000 cinemagoers.
The Cine-Saint-Leu (one room with 250 seats) was inaugurated in October 2000, after the closure of the Regent Cinema located near the railway station. An arthouse cinema, it is part of the major cultural facilities of the Cathedral Centre. Its eclectic and cinephile programming offers the possibility to see the original version of contemporary films.
The Un été en musique event at the Jules Bocquet bandstand.
Number of editions (In 2015)
Festival Tendance Europe
This festival, organised by the Maison de la culture d'Amiens [fr], is dedicated to contemporary creation. Programming highlights emerging European artists in a variety of areas: Theatre, dance, music, circus arts and visual arts.
Salon des Antiquaires
The Salon des Antiquaires of the city is held, every year, at the Megacity [fr]. Its reputation makes it one of the most important events of its kind in the north of the France.
Festival du jeu et de l'imaginaire : À toi de Jouer
This festival is dedicated to fun activities: Board games, card games, role plays, video games, comics, manga, etc. Many tournaments are organized during this event which takes place at Megacity [fr]. The first edition was held on 12 and 13 May 2012 with Simon Astier [fr] for sponsor.
Salon du chocolat et gourmandises en Picardie
For three days at the Megacity [fr], the fair offers demonstrations, parades, contests around the theme of chocolate and food in general.
The Grande réderie de printemps [fr] (jumble sale) is a popular event that takes place twice a year: in spring (the last Sunday in April) and autumn (the first Sunday in October). After the Braderie de Lille, the Réderie of Amiens is the second largest event of its kind in France. It hosts more than 2,000 professional traders and individuals as well as 80,000 to 100,000 visitors to each edition.
This festival, organized by the association "Cardan", offers various free activities relating to the world of words: Workshops, calligraphy, typography, writing games, slam and shows.
Foire Exposition de Picardie
It takes place at the park of the congress and exhibitions of Amiens, the Megacity [fr]. During nine days, it hosts approximately 50,000 visitors, 300 exhibitors and more than 20 activities.
This comic strip festival, organised by the association "Explorers on the bubble", is one of the most important comic strip festivals in France. Created in 1996, it takes place each first weekend in June, in the University Library of the Cathedral hub. Various activities in connection with the festival are also organized at different places in the city.
Fête dans la ville
This international festival of street theatre is also known under the name of "The street is in Amiens". Created in 1977, it invited 20 companies for four days of performances, parades, fairground theatre, circus, etc. in the streets of the city.
Marché sur l'eau
Once a year, in the context of the "Festival in the city", the walking on water takes place. Growers (gardeners) in traditional costumes boat down the Somme with their crafts loaded with fruit and vegetables from the hortillonnages.
June to July
Foire de la Saint Jean
It is the largest funfair in the north of the France. It takes place during 3 weeks between mid-June and mid-July on the esplanade of Hotoie [fr].
Created in 1999, this son et lumière show is the first world. Daily from mid-June to mid-September as well as in December, in the dark, the medieval colors of the portals of the façade of the cathedral are reborn thanks to projections of digital images. Since its inception, nearly two million people have attended the free event.
Un été en musique
This summer event, conducted from June to September, offers a series of free concerts outdoors (at Place René Goblet and Place Gambetta, and the Jules Bocquet bandstand). Programming is mainly of local artists.
June to October
Festival Art, villes et paysage - Hortillonnages Amiens
This festival, organized by the Maison de la culture d'Amiens [fr], was born in 2010 under the heading "Imagine it now". Invited are landscapers, visual artists, architects and designers involved in the hortillonnages. In total, twenty artists facilities and landscaped gardens are located in several places in the "hortillonnages" [fr]. These unusual works (floating sculptures, reinvented huts, diverted gardens, revisited gardens etc.) are visible either by walking track or boat, from June to October.
Voyage au coeur de l'été
The event, which takes place every July in the Espace Dewailly. The programming consists of live performances around world cultures, traditions, folklore and modernity.
Bal du 14 juillet
This ball takes place on the Place de l'hôtel de ville. It is followed by a fireworks display at the parc de la Hotoie [fr].
July to August
Un été à Amiens
This summer event, conducted by the city hall of Amiens, brings together four concepts spread across three sites in the city: "Amiens-les-Bains" (children) and "Beach Attitude" (adolescents) in the Parc Saint Pierre, "Zen Attitude" in Place Gambetta and "Sportez-vous bien" at Grand Marais.
Défi Jules Verne
This event, also known as "Montgolfiade", commemorates the first balloon flight (1873) of the most illustrious adopted son of Amiens: Jules Verne. Its uniqueness lies in the take-off of many balloons and unusual machines (between 20 and 30) from the Parc de la Hotoie [fr]. Music with readings of excerpts from novels by Jules Verne accompany their flight in the sky of the city. Subject to favourable weather conditions, this event takes place every month of August.
Bal de la libération
This festive event, which is held at the Place de l'hôtel de ville, celebrates the liberation of the city on 31 August 1944. It joins the various commemorations and tributes traditionally organised there on this day.
Fête au bord de l'eau
This traditional festival, organised by the association "Jacobins Traditions and history", plunges the historic quarter of Saint-Leu into a medieval atmosphere for two days: Market and medieval camps, trades of yesteryear, parades in the streets and on the water, activities, etc. It is on this occasion that the popular tournament of water jousting runs. Created in 1990, this free event takes place every second weekend of September and gathers an average of 80,000 visitors.
Evolution of the Nuit Blanche (9 editions), this event is dedicated to the performing arts and visual arts and is held in the cloister of the grey nuns.
This festival, held since 2006 by the association of "Free radicals", allows regional, national and international artists to find themselves on the same stage for an evening which is followed by street arts and circus, theatre, concerts and graphic services.
The largest Christmas market in the north of France, it attracts over one million visitors each year. The market consists of approximately 135 chalets in the city center and offers various animations (a Son et lumière show, Amiens, la cathédrale en couleurs, Ferris wheel, ice rink, village of Santa Claus, parades, rides, etc.).
Even if it rarely achieves national notoriety (with the notable exceptions of Les Fatals Picards, The Rabeats [fr], Olympe, Albin de la Simone, Disiz and Rokia Traoré), the Amiens music scene is active and developed. In this dynamic, the New French Rock [fr] scene holds a central place and is organised around a collective, Amiens Burning, which is responsible for networking the breeding ground for the local rock scene, to accompany its projects, and organize concerts.
Since their creation, La Lune des Pirates [fr] and Cité Carter also provide support to the local scene. For example, the Cité Carter produces a compilation each year, with local groups.
Here is an overview of the Amiens music scene:
Rock: The Rabeats (cover band of The Beatles), The Beyonders, Molly's, Sobo, The Void, Violent Scaredy Cats, Elegant Fall, Gene Trio
Electro: The Name (who created the soundtrack for the series Bref), The Blue
World Music: Rokia Traoré (Malian-born singer who lived in Amiens in the 1990s)
Multiple genres: Les Fatals Picards, Zic Zazou (group of nine musicians created in 1982 and winner of La Grande Battle in November 2012)
Classical music is represented by the Orchestre de Picardie [fr] and the University Orchestra of Picardy. Vocal practice is represented by the Regional Choir of Picardy, the University Choir of Picardie, and the Choir of France Picardy.
One can also include the Harmony Saint-Pierre, a fanfare of 70 musicians, which has become a local institution since its inception in 1894.
Here I am quite citizen of Amiens. It seems to me that I was born. I live very happy, although uncomfortable to work. Amiens is a wise city, even-tempered, and the company is friendly and literate. It is near Paris, close enough to have the highlights without unbearable noise and bustle.
In the 19th century, there was a brilliant literary life around the Académie des sciences, des lettres et des arts d'Amiens [fr] with historian Albéric de Calonne and the Yvert family. However, the great name of Amiens literary life is Jules Verne. He animated all intellectual activity, giving balls and parties, while his wife held a famous salon. He often attended the library of the industrial society, which subscribed to numerous scientific journals. A member of the Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts of Amiens from 8 March 1872, he was elected Director in 1875, and in 1881 and, on this occasion, he delivered several speeches of welcome, especially for one of his friends, Amiens cartoonist Gédéon Baril [fr], who signed illustrations of Dix heures en chasse [fr] with Hetzel. Engaged in local life, he was Councillor of Amiens from 1888 to 1904. He was closely interested in the affairs of the city, wrote many reports on the theatre and brought its support to the construction of the municipal circus [fr].
Amiens does appear explicitly in his novels but there are however characteristic elements of the city such as the cathedral and the river. This is the case, for example, for the imaginary city of Ragz in Le secret de Wilhem Storitz. In the novel Une fantaisie du docteur Ox, the inhabitants of the fictional town of Virgamen, the Virgamenois, refer directly to the Amiénois and their prudent nature.
In 1875, he delivered before the Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts of Amiens a speech entitled "An ideal city: Amiens in the year 2000" where he portrays himself wandering in a forward-thinking city of Amiens. Since then, the city has built a tourist route from this text.
He died in Amiens in 1905, and he deeply marked the town's footprint, so that today many places, monuments and events bear his name. He rests at La Madeleine cemetery [fr] where one can read on his tomb: Vers l'immortalité et l'éternelle jeunesse. [Towards immortality and eternal youth].
Such as it is with his distinctive smile, how much I love the Golden Virgin, with her smile of heavenly hostess; how much I love its home at the door of the Cathedral in its adornment exquisite and simple of hawthorns.
-- Marcel Proust (about the portal of the Virgin Golden of the Cathedral of Amiens)
In 1885, Englishman John Ruskin published the Bible of Amiens, which was translated into French, extensively annotated and prefaced, in 1904, by Marcel Proust. This book dedicated to Notre-Dame d'Amiens was the opportunity for Proust to recall his admiration for the English author and the Cathedral of Amiens.
I would like to give the reader the desire and the means to spend a day at Amiens in a sort of Ruskinesque pilgrimage. It was not worth starting by asking him to go to Florence or Venice, when Ruskin wrote a whole book on Amiens.
Chés Cabotans d'Anmien or the Cabotins of Amiens is a small Picardy traditional puppet theatre founded in 1933. Lafleur [fr], the hero, was created around 1811 at Saint-Leu [fr]. He talks in Picard, exclusively. Traditionally a lackey costume (wearing a red velvet tricorne hat) dressed, Lafleur is cheerful, dynamic, independent and resourceful; its motto is: "bin mier, bin boere, pis did rin foere!" (Drink well, eat well and then do nothing).
The Picard language is recognised regional language. It is spoken in France in the Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais regions, and in Belgium in the Province of Hainaut. Various associations work for the promotion and development of Picardy culture expressed in theatre, song, in spoken tales but also in writing: Novels, journals, poetry, etc. Since 1993, the Conseil régional de Picardie [fr] has developed within the "Office Culturel Régional de Picardie" a cultural policy for the language and the Picardy culture. "The Agency for Picard", created in 2008, is headquartered in Amiens.Picard is taught at the University of Amiens.
The blasons populaires are surnames or the nicknames given to the inhabitants of cities and the Picardy villages. These surpitchets sometimes come from the history of the city, sometimes a verbal game, sometimes through a mockery of people. The nickname of the inhabitants of Amiens is: Chés Maqueus d'gueugues d'Anmien [Amiens nut eaters] in reference to an episode of the Spanish invasion. On 11 March 1597, the Spanish armies developed a ploy to seize the city: The soldiers of Hernán Tello de Portocarrero, Governor of Doullens, disguised as peasants, came to the gates of the walls with nuts. The starving citizens of Amiens opened the doors and the Spaniards took the city.
During December, the town hosts the largest Christmas market in northern France. Amiens, in the image of the Picardy region, has a rich gastronomic heritage. Here are some of the specialities:
Louis Antoine Vimeux [fr] (1737-1814), general of the Revolution and First Empire, Knight of the Royal order and military of Saint-Louis, Commander of the Légion d'honneur, hereditary baron, Governor of the Place de Luxembourg (from 1802 to 1814)
The arms of Amiens are blazoned : "Of gules to ivy of argent, the chief azure sown of fleurs-de-lis Or."
Motto: "Liliis tenaci vimine jungor", which means 'a strong bond unites the lilies'.
Amiens, a fortress city, suffered attacks and resisted, staying French. Its coat of arms symbolise this attachment to France, commitment symbolised by ivy. France being symbolised by the seedlings of fleurs-de-lis authorised by the Kings of France.
In the full arms of the city, holding and support are two unicorns, support is of acanthus leaves, while the crest is a castle keep of five parts. The two figures emblazoned in the arms of Amiens are lily and ivy, which today still decorate the city logo. The unicorn is a symbol of the knightly virtues of purity and attraction to beauty and delicacy. Even today, the unicorn makes a number of references in the city: The eponymous stadium, the coat of arms of the Amiens football team as well as the award of the Amiens International Film Festival.
Logo of the city of Amiens
In 1991, the municipality formed around Gilles de Robien designed a new logo, incorporating the Fleur-de-lis and the Ivy leaf present on the coat of arms, placed side by side in red with a background of grey or white, depending on usage.
A stamp representing the arms of the city was issued in 1962, this issue fitted into one of the Arms of cities. Its power of postage was five cents. It was issued on 23 January 1962 and withdrawn from sale on 23 January 1977. A first day was arranged in Amiens on 21 July 1962. It was designed by Robert Louis [fr]. Artist Arman made a board collage of this stamp.
^Work had also been delayed, because some people wanted to "preserve the cathedral", the situation was exceptional.
^The concentration of employment indicator equals the number of jobs in the area per 100 people in active employment residing in the area, according to the Insee definition.
^He lived for 18 years in a mansion located in Henriville, which includes an observatory atop a tower. His house, now classified as an Historical Monument, was acquired by the city of Amiens in 1980. Reopened on 24 March 2006 after a year of work, the Jules Verne House is a museum. The University of Picardie is called "Jules Verne". A viaduct east of the city and a lecture hall of ESIEE also bear his name.
^Unlike most cathedrals in France, Notre Dame Amiens has substantially retained all of its original statues and ornaments, which even today allows one to admire some of the colours used in Middle Ages.
^Collectif, " Amiens Ville d'Art et d'Histoire - le guide ". " Vie littéraire à Amiens sous l'ancien Régime " et " La vie littéraire au siècle XIX ", éditions du patrimoine, centre des monuments nationaux, 2007, p.26 and p.35.
^José Brice, Patton-Leclerc, éd. Société des Ecrivains, 2014, ISBN978-2-342-02324-4, 190 p., p. 21; Christine Levisse-Touzé et Musée Jean Moulin, Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, 1902-1947: la légende d'un héros, éd. Paris-Musées, 2002, ISBN978-2-84734-033-4, 159 p., p. 19; Michel Marmin, Leclerc, Éditions Chronique, 2013, ISBN979-10-90871-96-0, 136 p., Philippe fait ses études chez les Jésuites
^OEuvre listed under the No. APA #8005.62.010 Arman archives in New York.
: Document used as a source for the drafting of this article.
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