Picardy - cathedrals and rural scenery
Enjoy the Canal de la Somme on its rural route through the Somme valley from our Penichette boat base at Cappy to the sea at St-Valery-sur-Somme.
The valley is noted for its fishing – pike, carp, eels and rudd, and for the superb Gothic architecture at Amiens and Abbeville. Throughout Picardy the magnificent abbeys and cathedrals reflect the rivalry between towns since the 12th century.
Amiens is one of France’s oldest towns, with a maze of ancient streets and typical colour-washed houses.
Amiens dates back to 54BC when Julius Caesar established a winter camp - on a site which is now an archaeological theme park. Amiens cathedral is the largest in France and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Don’t miss the unique ‘hortillonages’, a patchwork of 300 hectares of vegetable and flower gardens alongside the Canal de la Somme just outside Amiens. These delightful riverside smallholdings were first established by the Romans.
Further west, the gothic church of Saint Vulfran at Abbeville should not be missed.
The canal reaches the Channel coast at St Valery. This old town has fortified walls, and plenty of activity with stalls and restaurants around the port. From here William the Conqueror launched his invasion of England in 1066.
Outside the town, the Bay of the Somme is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. One of France’s best sites for migrating birdlife it offers unforgettable walks in unspoilt surroundings. Nearby is the Marquenterre Bird Sanctuary.
East from Cappy base the First World War battles of the Somme are marked at Peronne and nearby military cemeteries.
Discover St Quentin with its tall and narrow town houses
See Noyon where in 768AD the first Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne was crowned in the cathedral.
This area of Picardy is easily visited from the UK. Convenient for driving from Calais, the base at Cappy is also only 12km from the TGV railway.
To help you choose see:
Picardy Boat Bases and Routes in Google Maps
Picardy Penichette Boat Holiday Routes