Of the three major towns I visited in the North of France, Amiens was my least favorite but that is not to say I did not like it. When I think back to the day I visited the moment I go back to was my last 30 minutes there waiting for my great cousin to get the car. I heard music being played and I could not resist and had to investigate. I came across a group of guys outside a cafe/bar drinking beer, smoking hand rolled cigarettes and playing their guitars. Had I had the time I would have ordered a beer and just sat there and listened. But I did not have that time so I asked them if they would mind if I took photos and they obliged. To me that moment is a little how I see the North of France. The south is wine and Mediterranean food and the north is beer and cigarettes. That sounds unappealing but you have to understand that there are beer connoisseurs out there like there are wine connoisseurs. As for the food part I did not get a chance to eat there so I am a little limited on my ability to describe what they enjoy.
Other than this impromptu music ensemble I went to visit the Cathedral Notre Dame of Amiens. Every major city in Europe seems to have their own Notre Dame. This one however I believe was my favorite. It is also the largest of its kind in France. Here is a quote from Wiki about it “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.”. It sounds marvelous doesn’t it?
As a side note I learned in France that car mirrors that turn in are a necessity, not a luxury and you better know how to parallel park (or learn to) because there is no room for error (or room to walk between cars).