Amiens

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Amiens
Amiens
Amiens
Coat of arms of Amiens
Coat of arms
Amiens is located in France
Amiens
Amiens
Coordinates: 49°53′31″N 2°17′56″E / 49.892°N 2.299°E / 49.892; 2.299Coordinates: 49°53′31″N 2°17′56″E / 49.892°N 2.299°E / 49.892; 2.299
CountryFrance
RegionPicardy
DepartmentSomme
ArrondissementAmiens
IntercommunalityCommunauté d'agglomération Amiens Métropole
Government
 • Mayor (2014–2020)Brigitte Fouré
Area
 • Land149.46 km2 (19.10 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Population2139,271
 • Population2 density2,800/km2 (7,300/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code80021 / 80000
Elevation14–106 m (46–348 ft)
(avg. 33 m or 108 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
 
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This article is about the city in France. For the battles which occurred nearby, see Battle of Amiens (disambiguation). For the locality in Australia, see Amiens, Queensland.
Amiens
Amiens
Amiens
Coat of arms of Amiens
Coat of arms
Amiens is located in France
Amiens
Amiens
Coordinates: 49°53′31″N 2°17′56″E / 49.892°N 2.299°E / 49.892; 2.299Coordinates: 49°53′31″N 2°17′56″E / 49.892°N 2.299°E / 49.892; 2.299
CountryFrance
RegionPicardy
DepartmentSomme
ArrondissementAmiens
IntercommunalityCommunauté d'agglomération Amiens Métropole
Government
 • Mayor (2014–2020)Brigitte Fouré
Area
 • Land149.46 km2 (19.10 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Population2139,271
 • Population2 density2,800/km2 (7,300/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code80021 / 80000
Elevation14–106 m (46–348 ft)
(avg. 33 m or 108 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Amiens (French pronunciation: ​[a.mjɛ̃]) is a city and commune in northern France, 120 km (75 mi) north of Paris and 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Lille. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardy. The city had a population of 136,105 according to the 2006 census.

The first known settlement is Samarobriva ("Somme bridge"), the central settlement of the Ambiani, one of the principal tribes of Gaul. The town was given the name Ambianum by the Romans, meaning settlement of the Ambiani people. The town has been much fought over, being attacked by barbarian tribes, and later by the Normans. In 1113 the city was recognized by the King of France, and joined to the Crown of France in 1185. In 1597, Spanish soldiers held the city during the six-month Siege of Amiens, before Henry IV regained control. During the 18th and 19th century, the textile tradition of Amiens became famous for its velours. In 1789 the provinces of France were dismantled and the territory was organised into departments. Much of Picardy became the newly created department of Somme, with Amiens as the departmental capital. During the industrial revolution the city walls were demolished, opening up space for large boulevards around the town centre. The Henriville neighbourhood in the south of the city was developed around this time. In 1848, the first railway arrived in Amiens, linking the city to Boulogne-sur-Mer. During the 1870 Battle of Amiens, when the Somme was invaded by Prussian forces, Amiens was occupied.

The town was fought over during both the First and Second World Wars, suffering much damage, and being occupied several times by both sides. The 1918 Battle of Amiens, was the opening phase of the Hundred Days Offensive, which led directly to the Armistice with Germany that ended the war. It was heavily bombed by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. The city was rebuilt according to Pierre Dufau's plans, with a focus on widening the streets to ease traffic congestion. These newer structures were primarily built of brick, concrete and white stone with slate roofs. The architect Auguste Perret designed the Gare d'Amiens train station and nearby Tour Perret.

Amiens Cathedral, the tallest of the large, classic, Gothic churches of the 13th century and the largest in France of its kind, is a World Heritage Site. The author Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905, and served on the city council for 15 years. During December, the town hosts the largest Christmas market in northern France. Amiens is known for a few local foods, including "macarons d'Amiens", almond paste biscuits; "tuiles amienoises", chocolate and orange curved biscuits; "pâté de canard d'Amiens", duck pate in pastry; "la ficelle Picarde", an oven-baked cheese-topped crêpe; and "flamiche aux poireaux", a puff pastry tart made with leeks and cream.

History[edit]

Gambetta Square at the end of the 19th century

The first known settlement is Samarobriva ("Somme bridge"), the central settlement of the Ambiani, one of the principal tribes of Gaul, who were issuing coinage, probably from Amiens, in the 1st century BC. The Ambiani derive their name from the Gaulish word ambe meaning river – a reference to the Somme that flows through Amiens.[1] The town was given the name Ambianum by the Romans, meaning settlement of the Ambiani people. By tradition, it was at the gates of Amiens that Saint Martin of Tours, at the time still a Roman soldier, shared his cloak with a naked beggar. The prosperity of the city made it a target for barbarian tribes such as the Alans, the Burgundians or the Vandals, who attacked the city several times.

During the 5th century, Chlodio rose to power among the Franks, and Merovech was elected in Amiens by his comrades in arms. Saint Honorius (Honoré) (d. 600 AD) became the seventh bishop of the city. Normans sacked the city 859 and again in 882. During the second sacking, the city's cathedral was burned. During the early part of the 10th century, Count Herbert de Vermandois united the regions of Amiens, Vexin, Laon, and Reims.[2] In 1095, the people of Amiens began to form a rough municipal organization. In 1113 the city was recognized by the King of France; the city was joined to the Crown of France in 1185.

In 1264, Amiens was chosen as the seat of arbitrations when King Louis IX of France settled the conflict between King Henry III of England and his rebellious barons, led by Simon de Montfort. The arbitrations led to Louis deciding on the Mise of Amiens – a one-sided settlement in favor of Henry. This decision almost immediately led to the outbreak of the Barons' War.[3]

In 1435 the city was among the possessions granted to Philip the Good of Burgundy by the Congress of Arras. It was re-acquired again by King Louis XI in 1477 after the death of Charles the Bold.[2] In 1597, Spanish soldiers disguised as peasants entered the city and mounted a surprise attack. After the six-month Siege of Amiens, the forces of Henry IV regained control of the city and put an end to its autonomous rule.

During the 18th and 19th century, the textile tradition of Amiens became famous for its velours. The Cosserat family rose to prominence as one of the wealthiest of Amiens' textile manufacturing families. In 1789 the provinces of France were dismantled and the territory was organised into departments. Much of Picardy became the newly created department of Somme, with Amiens as the departmental capital.

Amiens' 18th-century City Hall

In November 1801, British and French delegates began discussing terms of peace at the Amiens Congress. On 25 March 1802, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the First French Republic signed the Treaty of Amiens, putting an end to the Second Coalition against France.

During the 19th century, Amiens began to feel the effects of the industrial revolution. The city walls were demolished, opening up space for large boulevards around the town centre. The Henriville neighborhood in the south of the city was developed around this time. In 1848, the first railway arrived in Amiens, linking the city to Boulogne-sur-Mer. After this time, the city began to grow beyond the river and into the surrounding hills. During the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, Somme was invaded by Prussian forces and Amiens was occupied.

Early science fiction author Jules Verne took up residence in Amiens in 1871, having met his wife there at a wedding in 1856. He was later elected city councilman in 1888.[4] In 1889, Jules Verne presided over the opening of the Amiens circus, including a courthouse, a police station and a museum dedicated to the history of Picardy.[2]

Beginning in 1905, Victor Commont, called "the founding father of modern Prehistoric science,"[5] performed important archaeological work in the Picardy area.[2]

The First World War[edit]

At the start of the war, in August 1914, Amiens had been the Advance Base for the British Expeditionary Force. It was captured by the German Army on 31 August 1914, but recaptured by the French on 28 September. The proximity of Amiens to the Western Front and its importance as a rail hub, made it a vital British logistic centre, especially during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.[6]

Amiens was one of the key objectives of the German Spring Offensive which was launched on 27 March 1918. The German 2nd Army pushed back the British 5th Army, who fought a series of defensive actions. Eventually, on 4 April, the Germans succeeded in capturing Villers-Bretonneux which overlooked Amiens, only for it to be retaken by an Australian counterattack that night. During the fighting, Amiens was bombarded by German artillery and aircraft; more than 2,000 buildings were destroyed.[7] On 8 August 1918, a successful Allied counter stroke, the Battle of Amiens, was the opening phase of the Hundred Days Offensive, which led directly to the Armistice with Germany that ended the war.[8]

The Second World War[edit]

During the Battle of France, Amiens was captured by the German 1st Panzer Division on 20 May 1940, following two days of heavy air raids. It had been defended by a British Territorial Army battalion, the 7th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment.[9] Of 581 men with the battalion, 132 men are commemorated in CWGC burials, 165 are known to have become prisoners of war and many escaped back to Britain and formed 109 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery.[10]

On 18 February 1944, British aircraft bombed the prison in Amiens as part of Operation Jericho. The raid was intended to aid the escape of members of the French Resistance and political prisoners being held there. In all, 258 prisoners escaped.[11]

Prior to the Normandy landings, Allied aircraft concentrated on disabling communications in occupied France, and the railway junction at Longueau to the south east of Amiens was attacked by 200 Royal Air Force bombers on the night of the 12 and 13 June. There was much damage in the town itself.[12] Amiens was liberated on 31 August 1944 by the 11th Armoured Division, part of 30th Corps commanded by Lieutenant-General Horrocks.[13]

Post-War Amiens and the French cultural revolution[edit]

The city was rebuilt according to Pierre Dufau's plans, with a focus on widening the streets to ease traffic congestion. These newer structures were primarily built of brick, concrete and white stone with slate roofs. The architect Auguste Perret designed the Gare d'Amiens train station and nearby Tour Perret.

On 2 June 1960, the new region of Picardy was formed from the departments of Aisne, Oise and Somme.[2] In May 1968, students in Amiens joined in a large-scale strike that began in Paris. Factory and the railway workers in the city joined them a few days later. Amiens was paralyzed by fighting between conservatives and leftist groups. After President Charles de Gaulle's radio address on 31 May, his supporters demonstrated in the streets. The following October, the University of Amiens (Université d'Amiens) was founded on a campus in the southwestern suburbs of the city.

The city suffered the loss of many jobs as manufacturing plants in the region closed during the late 1970s and 1980s. Despite the hardships, the city made an effort to renovate the degraded area of St-Leu during this time.

The 1990s saw a great period of rebirth in the city. The St-Leu renovations were completed, and parts of the University were moved to the city center. The Vallée des Vignes neighborhood was developed in the south of the city, and large parts of the city center were converted to pedestrian areas. The Gare du Nord was renovated with a controversial new glass roof. The Tour Perret was renovated as well and a new cinema complex was built. The area around the train station began a reorganization.

Geography[edit]

Amiens lies on the basin of the Somme river more or less where its tributaries the Selle and Avre flow into it. The old town is situated in a swampy area at the bottom of the valley. The river Somme rarely floods, but did so in 2001. The town shares the typical oceanic climate of northern France. It is characterised by frequent rainfall, moderate winters and summers.

Amiens is a hub between the Île de France and the rest of the North of France; Normandy and Benelux; and France and Great Britain. Amiens is not currently directly on principal European road and rail arteries, such as the A1 motorway and the Paris-Lille TGV train line.

"Quartiers" and villages[edit]

Quai Bélu

Amiens comprises a number of neighbourhoods ("quartiers" in French) with their own characteristics, including Saint-Leu, St-Maurice, Henriville, and Saint-Acheul.

Saint-Leu

St-Leu is a part of Amiens north of the town centre. It has many older wooden and brick houses and several canals. It was a poor part of town, but since extensive renovation in the 1990s it has become popular with tourists and students as a pretty area with a high concentration of cafés, restaurants and night clubs. Local culture is offered by Chés Cabotans theatre (puppet shows in the Picard language) and 'La Lune des Pirates', a concert hall.

Amiens University's Faculty of Sciences and its Faculty of Law & Economics are located in Saint-Leu.

Saint-Maurice

Situated in between the east of the citadel and the Madeleine cemetery, St-Maurice is one of the industrial parts of Amiens. It is a working-class area which is currently being renovated and rearranged. The walls of the town's former factory of dye are now those of the École supérieure d'art et de design d'Amiens (fr) (ESAD) as well as those of the Faculty of Arts. The École supérieure d'ingénieurs en électronique et électrotechnique (ESIEE) is in the same neighbourhood.

Somme River from the Boulevard de Beauvillé
Henriville

The Henriville neighbourhood was mostly built during the 19th century after the demolition of the city wall. It lies at the south of the town centre. It has numerous bourgeois houses and townhouses, such as Jules Verne's house, in architectural styles of the period, including neoclassical and neogothic.

Saint-Acheul

This is where archaeological excavations in the nineteenth century discovered prehistoric tool sets typical of the "Acheulean" prehistorical era, named after this neighbourhood (also spelled Acheulian, pronounced /əˈʃuːliən/). Not to be confused with the commune of Saint-Acheul situated 37 km (23 mi) to the north, the quarter of Saint-Acheul is also the site of a military cemetery from the First World War (1914–1918). It contains the so-called "English neighbourhood," with typical English style houses. At the feet of this area lie the hortillonnages (fr), a marshy area criss-crossed by canals.

Other neighbourhoods

There are also other famous working-class areas in Amiens, such as the Pigeonnier famous for its weekend market in the north, Etouvie in the east, and Victorine Autier in the south-east. These areas know lots of social troubles and have regularly been the place for riots.

Main sights[edit]

The cathedral in Amiens

Amiens Cathedral (a World Heritage Site) is the tallest of the large 'classic' Gothic churches of the 13th century and is the largest in France of its kind. After a fire destroyed the former cathedral, the new nave was begun in 1220 – and finished in 1247. Amiens Cathedral is notable for the coherence of its plan, the beauty of its three-tier interior elevation, the particularly fine display of sculptures on the principal façade and in the south transept, and the labyrinth, and other inlays of its floor. It is described as the "Parthenon of Gothic architecture", and by John Ruskin as "Gothic, clear of Roman tradition and of Arabian taint, Gothic pure, authoritative, unsurpassable, and unaccusable."

Amiens' municipal Circus in 1912

The Municipal Circus, also known as the "Cirque Jules Verne", is one of the few remaining permanent circuses (in French: "Cirque en dur") in the world, one of seven in France and is still in use today.[14] Originally built from timber it is now a stone structure.

Amiens is also known for the hortillonnages (fr), gardens on small islands in the marshland between the River Somme and River Avre, surrounded by a grid network of man-made canals (locally known as "rieux"). They are also known as the "floating gardens of Amiens".[15] Because of the canals, the hortillonnages are sometimes called "Little Venice of the North".

The Madeleine Cemetery (Cimetière de la Madeleine)[16][17] contains a number of listed monuments including the sculpture on the grave of Jules Verne.

Culture[edit]

There are three cinemas and four theatres: La Comédie de Picardie, La Maison de la Culture, Chés Cabotans, and La Maison du Théâtre; three museums – the Museum of the Hôtel Berny, the Museum of Picardy, and a Museum of Natural History; the city has a number of concert spaces, mostly small venues, which include Le Zénith Amiens and La Lune des Pirates. Pubs also host numerous concerts throughout the year. Exhibition halls include Maison de la culture. The local football club is Amiens SC.

During December, the town hosts the largest Christmas market in northern France.[18] Amiens is known for a few local foods, including "macarons d'Amiens", small, round-shaped biscuit-type macaroons made from almond paste, fruit and honey, which were first recorded in 1855;[19] "tuiles amienoises", chocolate and orange curved "tuiles" or biscuits; "pâté de canard d'Amiens" - duck pate in pastry, made since the 17th century;[20] and "la ficelle Picarde", an oven-baked cheese-topped crêpe with ham and mushroom filling.[18][21] The region is also known for "flamiche aux poireaux", a puff pastry tart made with leeks and cream.[22]

The Summer Rambo apple cultivar originated near Amiens in the 16th century.

Education[edit]

The city has several schools and colleges

Transport[edit]

Motorways

Amiens is served by several motorways

Railways

Amiens has two stations: the Gare d'Amiens (the former Gare du Nord) and the Gare de Saint-Roch (Somme), with connections:

The station Gare TGV Haute-Picardie on the Lille-Paris TGV line is reachable by bus from Amiens.

Airports

In addition to Glisy aerodrome bordering on the town's eastern edge, there are several airports nearby

Waterways

The Somme canal runs through the town to the English Channel. This canal is linked to the Canal du Nord (Paris to Lille metropolitan area)

Urban transport
Vélam public bicycle sharing system in Amiens.

The town's public transport network is managed by Ametis. It links most of Amiens Metropole's communes. Proposals to build a tram network are under discussion.

In 2008 the municipality established Vélam, a system of public rental bicycles similar to those in other European cities.

Media[edit]

Newspapers
Radio
TV channels

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Amiens is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Placenames of the world: origins and ... – Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Maddicott, John (1994). Simon de Montfort. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 257–8. ISBN 0-521-37493-6. 
  4. ^ "Translation result for http://www.jules-verne.net/". Babelfish.yahoo.com. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Le Tourisme dans la Somme". Uk.somme-tourisme.com. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Reading Room Manchester. "Commonwealth War Graves Commission – ST. PIERRE CEMETERY, AMIENS – Historical Information". Cwgc.org. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  7. ^ "Australians on the Western Front – France 1918: Defence of Amiens". Ww1westernfront.gov.au. 1918-09-07. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  8. ^ "History of War – Rickard, J (5 September 2007), ''Battle of Amiens, 8 August-3 September 1918''". Historyofwar.org. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  9. ^ "Major L. F. Ellis, ''THE WAR IN FRANCE AND FLANDERS, 1939–1940'', HMSO 1954 (p.80)". Ibiblio.org. 1940-05-20. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  10. ^ Osborne, Dan. "7th Battlion Royal Sussex Regiment: May 1940". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ "The National Collection of Aerial Photography: Sortie 106G/3133 – Longueau railway depot". Aerial.rcahms.gov.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  13. ^ "IWM Collections – 30TH CORPS CAPTURES AMIENS". Iwm.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  14. ^ "The Cirque Jules Verne Website". Cirquejulesverne.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  15. ^ "The Visit Amiens Website" (in French). Visit-amiens.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  16. ^ "Somme Tourism Website (in French)" (in French). Somme-tourisme.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  17. ^ Madeleine Cemetery in the French Wikipedia (in French)
  18. ^ a b Hugh McKnight (1 Sep 2005). Cruising French Waterways. Sheridan House, Inc. p. 35. 
  19. ^ Nick Rider (1 May 2005). Short Breaks Northern France. New Holland Publishers. p. 135. 
  20. ^ Michelin (16 Apr 2010). Michelin Green Guide Northern France & Paris Region. Michelin. p. 62. 
  21. ^ Russel Cousins, Ron Hallmark, Ian Pickup (15 Dec 1994). Studying and Working in France: A Student Guide. Manchester University Press ND. p. 111. 
  22. ^ Alan Rogers (1 Jan 2007). Alan Rogers France 2007. Alan Rogers Guides Ltd. p. 88. 
  23. ^ a b "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr District". Twins2010.com. 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2009. [dead link]
  24. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns [via WaybackMachine.com]". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]