Amiens © Guillaume Piolle
Amiens is the ancient capital of Picardy and lies on the River Somme, 75 miles (121km) north of Paris and 65 miles (105km) south of Calais. Walking around the maze of narrow streets, divided by canals, visitors may feel that this is a city past its prime; nevertheless, there are definitely a couple of sites worth exploring.
The city's centrepiece is the Gothic cathedral, built between 1220 and 1270, which is one of France's finest cathedrals. The interior contains wonderful examples of medieval masonry and woodwork; 126 slender pillars hold up the vast structure and the stalls are decorated with thousands of carved figures. Like most great churches it has been added to and restored over the centuries. The nearby Musée de Picardie displays the history and art of the region from prehistoric times through to the present day, along with exhibits from the Roman, Greek and Egyptian empires. The art collection includes European paintings and sculptures from the 16th century, including works by El Greco, Fragonard, Guardi, and Tiepolo. As Amiens also played a vital role in the First World War there is plenty of military history to explore in the area, including some significant and famous battlefields, cemeteries, German bunkers, a battlefield park and a museum.