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Picardy

Visit Picardy

Introduction

Picardy, full of pretty parks and gardens and known for its fabulous Gothic cathedrals is an ideal short break destination from the UK. The 13th-century Cathédrale Notre-Dame in the provincial capital of Amiens is the largest of its kind in France and the stand out example. But other cathedrals in Beauvais, Noyon, Senlis and the hilltop town of Laon are also incredibly beautiful to behold and well worth incorporating into a tailor-made tour of the region.

The gently rolling countryside of the Somme valley is still scarred in places by the bloody and muddy trench battles that took place here during the First World War. The Western Front passed through Picardy on a continuous frontline that extended from the Channel coast to Switzerland and it was in the Somme that some of the fiercest fighting took place. Driving past its now peaceful lakes, woods and fields, and stopping off in small villages close to where the trenches were dug is a moving and educational experience, even more so when accompanied by an expert guide.

There are a number of Commonwealth cemeteries to visit in the area. Thiepval memorial, designed by Lutyens and inscribed with the names of more than 70,000 British soldiers with no known grave, is a key site. Vimy Ridge, near Arras, where Canadian troops fought, is another place that often features on many guided - some of which also take in the war sites in Flanders.

Where to go in Picardy

Chantilly

Chantilly, southeast of Amiens and half-an-hour by train from central Paris, has several claims to fame, but is perhaps best known as France's horseracing capital. Thoroughbreds gallop across the Hippodrome de Chantilly course on race days, the very best taking part in the Prix de Jockey Club - the…

Amiens

Amiens, much restored after being damaged during both world wars, is the capital of the Somme department and the broader region of Picardy. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame, overlooking the River Somme and which incredibly it survived the wartime bombardment, is the main reason to visit.

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