Paradise in Picardy
From war-torn to natural beauty
Picardy is a region which is steeped in history, its geographical location between Paris, the Channel and also touching the border of Belgium meant that Picardy has played host to some of the most important events that have taken place in European history.
The region benefits from some beautiful countryside, and the towns and cities also feature some wonderful Gothic churches and cathedrals. Being as though much of the region is flat, perfect for farming, Picardy enjoyed relative wealth throughout history, which explains the impressive and ornate buildings.
The Somme area also falls in within the Picardy region, which of course, is best known for the battlefields of the First World War. With so much to offer, it’s surprising that it’s not one of the most popular tourist regions. So we’re going to fly the flag for Picardy region in this blog, and feature some of the must see sights to try and include on any trip here.
A lovely seaside resort with a beautiful beach which must be visited. It’s also a bit of a quirk, as it’s a Northern French beach – which actually faces south. Its history is quite colourful, it’s been under both French and English control, and Joan of Arc was held there before she was taken to Rouen for trial. Seals can often be spotted, and at low tide, it is possible to walk across the sand and mud flats to Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme.
You can visit Le Crotoy as part of our Baie de Somme cycling tour.
On that note, the whole of the Baie de Somme is a must- see, it’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its wetlands. The whole area is a mixture of marshes, dunes and saltwater meadows. The area is teeming with wildlife, and is one of France’s major sites for migrating birds. A definite for nature lovers. There’s also a quaint steam railway which operates in the area which is quite popular!
Perhaps one of the best examples of Gothic cathedrals in France, it too is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Amiens itself is lovely to visit, the largest Christmas market in Northern France if you are looking for somewhere different to visit in December. Jules Verne lived here for a while, and even became a city councilman!
A theme park which is dedicated to Astérix, it’s a great theme park which is a brilliant alternative to Disneyland Paris, with plenty of rides and attractions for all ages.
Battle of the Somme and other battlefields
Of course, no trip to Picardy should be without a visit to some of most poignant reminders of some of the most horrific sites of the First World War, to take stock and remember one of the biggest events in our history. There are many memorial sites to visit, including the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is one such site which is extremely moving. The Chemin des Dames is also to be visited, it’s a 30km stretch of pathway between the Aisne and Ailette rivers, and played a huge part in the conflict. It played host to several battles, and there are a few memorials along the route which you can pay respects to.
We have two different tours commemorating the history of the region, the Great War Cycle Trail and the Picardy Pastures which follow in the footsteps of the soldiers. Truly a fitting way to remember what happened, and very emotional and life-changing.
With so many contrasts and varying land and sea scapes to see, Picardy is an almost undiscovered region which is a great place to visit if you are looking for something different. If you would like to arrange a visit, our team are on hand to help and advise you on this trip of a lifetime.
In the footsteps of soldiers - https://bellefrance.com/blog/footsteps-of-soldiers
A visit to the battlefields - https://bellefrance.com/blog/walking-in-the-footsteps-of-soldiers
2 Related Holidays
Baie de Somme
Sea air, wildlife and sandy beaches
Discover the beautiful Baie de Somme on the Picardy coast. Open water, marshes, dunes and saltwater meadows make up a landscape where water and dry land seem to merge. It is one of France’s major sites for migrating birds.
Picardy Pastures: Land of Battles and Cathedrals
Delve into the history of the medieval city of Laon and walk in the footsteps of the soldiers of the First World War
This centenary walk through the Picardy countryside takes you to some of the most poignant sites of World War I, enabling you to explore destroyed villages, visit the fascinating Dragon’s Lair and walk in the footsteps of the soldiers...