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The hortillonnages

Hortillon cultivant son jardin

The hortillonages “floating gardens” are emblematic of Amiens. You can discover them in special boats known as “barques à cornet”. The hortillonages cover 300 hectares. They are interlaced with 65km of small canals, known as “rieux” in the local dialect. These market gardens, gently lapped by the Avre and the Somme, have been cultivated since the Middle Ages.

 

This idyllic place is the fruit of the work of men who shaped these fertile islands on land recovered from the marshes. Until early last century, fruit and vegetables from the hortillonages fed the town of Amiens. Still today, this rich land produces up to 3 harvests per year.

 

Amiens, marche sur l'eau
Amiens, marche sur l'eau

Every Saturday, the seven hortillons (name given to the market gardeners) sell their products at the water market in the Saint-Leu district.

 

Amiens, le marche sur l'eau en juin
Amiens, le marche sur l'eau en juin

On the 3rd Sunday in June, dressed in traditional costume, the market gardeners travel up the Somme in their “barque à cornet” boats, as they did in times gone by. Then they sell their ware on the dock.

 

 

Video account:
Laurent Gavory, chargé de mission Espaces naturels sensibles - Amiens Métropole

Film made by Somme Tourisme.