1 - From Flanders to the Ile de France
Lille-Amiens (4 days)
Endowed with a magnificent architectural heritage, northern France merits more than a detour to experience the warmth and generosity of the local people.
This ancient city, ruled at various stages by Flanders, Burgundy and Spain, possesses a superlative architectural heritage. A commercial capital since the Middle Ages, a citadel in the times of Louis XIV, industrialized in the 19th century and ambitious in the 20th, contemporary Lille combines memories of the past with facets of the future.
European Capital of Culture in 2004, Lille has become a benchmark in this regard. Here, art is everywhere you turn. From museums to theaters, ballets to concerts, cultural events are a natural part of everyday life.
Proud of its traditional festivals and food specialities, this regional capital remains a city on a human scale, reflecting the generosity and warmth of its people. It is a year-round destination, where travellers are delighted to immerse themselves in a unique mix of Flemish traditions and French lifestyle.
•The picturesque architecture of the Grand Place (plaza) and Vieux Lille (old town).
•A minibus tour of the city (50 minutes, 8 languages available).
•The Palais des Beaux-Arts, 22000m² (230,000 square feet) of prestigious art collections.
•Hôtel de Ville (town hall) and its belfry inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
•Flemish dishes, local beers and the mouth-watering "gaufres" (waffles) from the Méert bakery.
•Major annual events, such as the popular "braderie" (flea market) in September, and the lille3000 exhibition (the second show, Europe XXL, which runs from March 14 to July 12, 2009)
By train: TGV or Eurostar high-speed train, Lille is one hour from Paris, 33 minutes from Brussels and 80 minutes from London.
Lille – Amiens: approximately 1½ hours by train (TER non-stop service).
By Road: Lille - Amiens: 140 km (87 miles). Motorway A1, then A29
Contact: Lille Tourisme Tel.: +33 (0) 891 56 20 04
If Amiens were to look at itself in a mirror, two faces would look back at it. One would be that of a quiet, traditional city attached to its fantastic heritage of history and art, and to its soil, whereas the other would reveal a personality that is anything but commonplace: innovative, daring, a maker of bold architectural and cultural choices.
It is this ability to draw on the past while building the future that endows it with such originality.
Whether you are a connoisseur of ancient buildings and history, an indefatigable culture vulture, a sports fan, a nature lover or just a dreamer who likes to stand and stare, Amiens will surprise you with its contrasts and colors.
Let yourself be surprised for a weekend!
- Notre-Dame Cathedral, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list (audio-guided tours available in 6 languages)
- A boat tour of the floating market gardens right in the city center
- Jules Verne’s house
- The Saint-Leu district with its canals and floating market
- The Museum of Picardy, from Puvis de Chavannes to Sol Lewitt (renovation work underway in 2009/2010)
- Gourmet specialities: macaroons, chocolate tiles, ‘ficelle picarde’ savory pancakes, gâteau battu (a very rich brioche)
- Major events: the April and October réderies (flea markets), the street arts festival in June, the cathedral in color from June to September and, in December, the Christmas market
- The Somme Bay and the Battlefields of the Somme close by
1 hour from Paris, 1½ hours from Lille, 3½ hours from London, 40 mins from Paris-Beauvais airport, and 1½ hours from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.
Contact: Amiens Tourisme Tel.: +33 (0) 3 22 71 60 50