If you’re looking for wide open spaces and a protected natural environment, if you appreciate local culture, and if you enjoy meeting new people as much as visiting a monument, then Picardy is the place for you.
With a great history of royal dynasties, a vacation in Picardie will undoubtedly be colored by rich tradition and history. The region boasts a scenic coast, beautiful green valleys, and fruitful forests. For adventurous travelers, the scenic Bay of Somme offers countless outdoor activities, including kayaking, yachting, hiking, horse trekking or bike trips.
For bird-watchers and nature reserve enthusiasts, visit the House of the Bay of Somme and Birds and the . Botany enthusiasts will be enchanted by the many remarkable parks and gardens, including the Gardens of Valloires.
The Picardie region possess a rich spiritual heritage which includes the Senlis Cathedral, the cathedrals of Laon and Noyon, the Beauvais Cathedral, the Abbey of Saint-Michel-en-Thiérache, the Royal Abbey of Chaalis, the abbeys of Prémontré and Saint-Riquier, and the Saint-Quentin Basilica. The International Festival of Living History showcases the region’s rich history, which can largely be traced back to the Middle-Ages. The Seigniorial (Manorial) of Coucy, the Bouffon Celebrations, the Medievals of Laon and the Medieval Feast of Eaucourt successfully recreate medieval life, which is showcased in the Medieval City of Lucheux. The Castle of Pierrefonds and the Castle of Condé also display fascinating snippets of Picardy’s history.
“Les souvenirs de 14-18” (The memories of 1914-18)
We’re just a few months away from the centennial of the beginning of the Great War, so be sure to visit these many great sites: Thiepval’s welcoming centre and centre for interpretation, the Memorial and Australian National Museum of Villiers-Bretonneux, the Memorial and South-African National Museum in Longueval, Pozières (British cemetery and Australian Memorial), the 1916 Somme Museum in Albert, the Memorial for Newfoundland soldiers in Beaumont Hamel, the Chinese cemetery in Nolette (near Abbeville), la Caverne du Dragon and Chemin des Dames in Oulches-la-Vallée-Foulon, the Fort de Condé in Aisne Valley, Cote 204 American Memorial in Château-Thierry.
The people of Picardy are known to not only be hospitable, but also great culinary artists. Traditional specialties include the Picardie Ficelle (a crêpe with ham and mushrooms), a duck pâté pie, rabbit with prunes, eel and mussels. Gastronomic delicacies include the Lords of Coucy rissoles (pastry croquettes), caghuse (slices of simmered pork) and the soissoulet, a stew made with beans from Soissons.
Irresistible deserts include the Compiègne Cake, Picantins (local handmade chocolates), macarons, Chocolate Tuiles from Amiens, and Raffolait milk candies. To drink, locals enjoy Folie Douce as an aperitif, a wine made from red fruits. Pear cider and champagne from the axon side of the Marne Valley is also popular, and offers a festive air to meals.
The Prix de Diane and the Chantilly Jockey-Club figure amongst the great equestrian events. The Days of the Rose in the Abbey of Chaalis and the sound and light show of Coucy-le-Chateau in july offer explosion of colors to any stay in Picardy. The colors call to mind those that adorn the cathedrals in grandiose light shows, displayed at the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Amiens during a few weeks each year.
On top of all that, history is reinvented in a small Gallic village that awaits visitors at the Astérix Amusement Park. Other great destinations include The Sea of Sand, Samara and Saint-Paul Amusement Park.
This is tourism with a human face, a relationship based on complicity, the sense that things are tailored for your particular requirements - "just for you" - that’s the Spirit of Picardy!