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Waterside Amiens

Waterside Amiens

Summer is on the way, bringing a yen for unwinding in the countryside: take a walk on the banks of the Somme ! Here you have an east-to-west panoramic tour from the Camon pools to the Saint-Maurice district to help you explore Amiens and its surrounding area.

 

Set out from Camon, at the Marais des Bœufs. The towpath offers you two options: either to retrace the Somme upstream and explore the surrounding countryside or to follow its course and explore the hortillonnages (marshland market gardens) and Amiens.

 

For seekers after the truly rural, the circuit de la canardière (duck pool trail) holds out another alternative: an 11 km hiking trail between Amiens and Longueau. The Marais des Bœufs also offers picnic and play areas and amateur angling facilities.

 

When you set out along the towpath a few steps is all it takes to forget noise: you are in the hortillonnages. Their name derives from the Latin “hortus,” which means garden. They extend over four municipalities: Amiens, Camon, Longueau and Rivery. Almost 300 hectares of gardens and water that form nothing short of a mosaic in the midst of the Amiens conurbation. The best way to explore them is the boat trip that operates in the afternoons from 1 April to 31 October, leaving from Boulevard Beauvillé.

 

There are a few market gardeners (Hortillons) who cultivate around 10% of the site’s plots amid the allotments and pleasure gardens. You can meet them every Saturday morning at the waterborne market held on Place Parmentier, in the Saint-Leu district, another staging post on your route, a little further on.

 

Information panels set up between l’Auberge du Pré Porus in Camon and le Vert Galant in Amiens will tell you about the history of Amiens and the banks of the Somme. Both these addresses invite you to make a refreshing stop on peaceful waterside terraces.

 

Continuing your walk, you will come across the Pont du Cange, Amiens’ oldest bridge. The remains of the fortifications, which bear witness to there once having been towers, are still to be seen. The Maison des Sports Nautiques Amiénois (rowing club), right by the waterside, was built in the 19th century and is reminiscent of country cottage architecture.

 

If you’re on a family outing, take advantage of the Saint-Pierre Park’s 22 hectares of vegetation. A charmingly bucolic pond awaits you in the midst of children’s play areas and volley and basketball pitches for the more athletic visitors.

 

The Samarobriva footbridge that spans the Somme takes you to the Saint-Leu district. The Quai Bélu’s terraces are mirrored in the Somme and suggest a short break to contemplate Notre-Dame Cathedral. The names of the bars and restaurants refer to their waterside position: le Quai, la Capitainerie, la Queue de vache… A 15th century boatyard converted several years ago into le restaurant des Marissons is to be found at the entrance to Rue Motte.

 

The Saint-Leu district explored by boat : a 35-minute tour by electric boat may be taken as an introduction to the architecture, colours and life of the Saint-Leu district, a picturesque area of Amiens steeped in charm and history.

 

Your waterside walk then continues towards the working-class district of Saint-Maurice, a once industrial neighbourhood that is now home to the colleges of higher education and art on the right bank of the Somme. The tour then extends through the family allotments to the island of Saint-Aragone: another of Amiens’ market gardening sites.

 

Whether on foot of by bike, for a relaxing half hour or an outing with the family or friends, the towpath is a green haven, a world apart in the midst of the Amiens conurbation.