An Eastward Homage, Day 19: Amiens, Part I- The Queenly Somme and Her Canals

June 14, 2014-  In planning my trip to France, I was drawn to Amiens by two factors:  The Somme, and its role in World War I, the Centenary of which  we begin to observe this year; and the fact that some of my online friends have a friend living in the capital of Picardie.

When I arrived in Amiens, it was a Friday night, with the bars and restaurants quite alive- at 11 PM.  I found the Picard spirit of friendliness, coquetry among the young ladies and a “Where’ve ya been, Bud?”atmosphere pervading the Grand Canal and the district called St. Leu.  My huge hotel was a tomb, by comparison- despite the gracious welcome by desk clerk Therese and the raucous group of Turks next door to my room.

I headed along the canal, and the edge of the Cathedral District.  I will present Amiens in three parts:  The water, both river and canal; the cathedral, interior and exterior; and the city centre, both medieval and modern.  The Friday night and all day Saturday was one very full ride.  Never mind that I was walking- you get my drift!

Here are the canals and the towpaths in their midst.  It was a fabulously hoppin’ Nuit du Vendredi.

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Even though it looks quiet below, there was no silence for miles around.SAM_0662

 

As in much of Europe, the sidewalks don’t get rolled up much before 1 AM, if then.

 

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The canals look deep.

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GOTCHA!

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Picard humour is evident everywhere, and I was drawn in a few times, as I will recount.  A local insisted I must be of Picard extraction, as my nose is prominent, like his and those of his family members.  I wouldn’t be surprised.  Picards would have naturally been swept along with the Normans, when they swept down out of the North Sea lanes, through Holland and Flanders.

 

 

 

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Amens, like many French towns, adopted the row house to billet workers, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.  This row is close to St. Leu.

 

 

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The linchpin of the Somme and its canals is Parc Saint Pierre.

 

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The true radiance of the water, this far north, and at this time of day, comes from its interplay with light.

 

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A bit “sideways” and to the north, a tad, is the crown jewel of this part of the Somme:  L’Hortillonage.  Let’s have a look.  Down the stairs we go.

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There is more cat and mouse, between light and shadow.  This is where the natural flora of the Somme is preserved.

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A cat is feigning stealth.SAM_0834

 

The Somme emerges from its canals and small locks.

 

 

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Here, the farmer and the naturalist have made a peace.

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I met a farmer, walking his dog, near here.  He reminded me of the friend of my Xanga friends, a man I have seen only in his profile picture when he responds to aforementioned mutual Cyberpals.  Amiens has kept its natural profile quite well.

NEXT:  The Ins and Outs of Amiens Cathedral

 

 

4 thoughts on “An Eastward Homage, Day 19: Amiens, Part I- The Queenly Somme and Her Canals

  1. Wonderful night-time shots, Gary! Reading through this post, it almost seems like a different country — one of the artists and musicians of France 🙂 . I hope this was as relaxing as it seems.

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