1 - The Cathedral: climbing to gargoyle height
2020 commemorates 800 years since the construction of Amiens Cathedral began. The largest cathedral in France is a masterpiece of Gothic statuary - the Chroma show illuminates the 765 statues on the façade every evening until 22 September. Inside, the pulpit, the choir stalls and the organ are awe-inspiring. 150 steps and you emerge under the 13th century rose window, with a view of the belfry.
2 - The hortillonnages: sliding into a floating world
The Amiens hortillonnages are a unique in-between world, with hundreds of fertile islands irrigated by 60 kilometres of canals - the rieux. Until 31 October, electric boats slip through the canopies of foliage to discover a coot's nest, flowering banks, vegetable patches or a colourful cottage. To walk or to float is the key.
3 - Sleeping on a garden island
Along the banks of the Somme and its towpath, footbridges and gates give access to the homes of the hortillons, sometimes converted into gîtes. Thus, at D'une île à l'autre, six cabins are dressed in almond or raspberry colours. Next door, Pierrette Faille rents a 1900s cottage with honey-coloured shingles. One sleeps in the middle of three hectares of gardens planted with hundred-year-old trees, moving between eight ponds. A boat and bicycle are available.
- From one island to another - The unusual cabins
4 - Have a drink in the Saint-Leu district
With our feet in the water and our eyes raised towards the cathedral, we meet in the Saint-Leu district of Amiens to "bien boère, bien matcher, pis ne rien foaire", in Picard ("Drink well, eat well, and do nothing"). This is the motto of Lafleur, hero of the puppet theatre Chés Cabotans. Flowered bridges, lampposts, a square, a theatre and an alley pay tribute to him. Impassive, "L'homme sur sa bouée" by Stephan Balkenhol lets the Somme flow by at his feet.
5 - Visit Jules Verne in his tower
In love with Honorine, a widowed mother from Amiens, Jules Verne lived for 18 years in a house with a tower built by an astronomy enthusiast. On four floors, you can visit about fifteen rooms, his library or the reconstructed living room of his publisher, the clever Hetzel. A few hundred metres away is the circus that bears his name. You can get there by 100% electric Nemo bus.
6 - Hesitating between buttons and tricorns
The macaroon of Amiens is like a puck of almonds and egg whites: those of Jean Trogneux and Auzou are famous, and the Petit Poucet shop offers a chic setting for tasting them. Savoury eaters can look out for a Picardy tricorne, created by cheese maker Julien Planchon, at Les Halles.
7 - Walking in the zoo
Spider monkeys, or atelas, swing in the chestnut trees and the golden snout of a saimiri monkey emerges from a cedar tree... Located in a botanical garden in the middle of the city, Amiens Zoo is home to 450 graceful and rare inhabitants, such as the dorcas gazelle or the scalloped hornbill. After closing in November 2019, it will reopen on 1 February 2020 with a new entrance, a restaurant and much-anticipated Sumatran tigers.
8 - Visit the renovated Musée de Picardie
The Musée de Picardie will reopen in December 2019, after two years of meticulous renovation during which the building, considered since its opening in 1867 as one of the most beautiful French museums in the region, will also be enlarged. This major renovation will enable it to regain its place among the great French museums.