The Hortillonnages

AT THE GATEWAY TO THE CITY AND THE SAINT-LEU DISTRICT, THE HORTILLONNAGES ARE AN EXCEPTIONAL MOSAIC OF FLOATING GARDENS INTERSECTED BY CANALS.

Les hortillonnages d'AmiensLes hortillonnages d'AmiensPaul Lebrun
300 hectares
65 kms of canals
4 communes
9 garden markets
3ème SUNDAY IN JUNE Market on the water in costume and boat following tradition

Gardens on the water unique in France

Shaped by generations of market gardeners known as hortillonners, the site offers a unique landscape in France. The Hortillonnages consist of a multitude of small cultivated plots surrounded by water, accessible only by boat thanks to a network of small canals, the "rieux".

The Hortillonnages of Amiens have existed since Antiquity. They are located in the former bed of the Somme, which is naturally marshy. The name of the site comes from the Latin "hortus" which means garden. Today, more than a thousand owners share this green space of 300 hectares for their market gardening activities or their hobbies such as gardening, fishing, nature observation... This green haven cradled by the flow of the water invites contemplation and rest.

Rieu hortillonnagesRieu hortillonnages - Paul Lebrun

The hortillons, market gardeners and boatmen

For a long time, these atypical market gardeners supplied Amiens with fruit and vegetables, but also with peat for heating. Specific boats were used to travel around the Hortillonnages and transport the produce. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were still nearly 250 market gardeners.

Although most of the 300 hectares of marshland are now devoted to ornamental gardens, there are still a dozen families cultivating this land. Several generations of hortillonists live side by side and farm about 10% of the site. Their fruit and vegetables are sold every Saturday on the Place Parmentier in the Saint-Leu district.

The farmers, who have formed an association, use the brand "les t'cho légumes des hortillons" to market their produce. On the third Sunday of June, dressed in their traditional costumes, the hortillons sail down the Somme, as in the past, in a horn boat to sell their produce opposite the Bélu quay.

Musée des Hortillonnages de RiveryMusée des Hortillonnages de Rivery - Nos Cœurs Voyageurs

The museum of the Hortillonnages

The Hortillonnages museum in Rivery honours this protected natural area and the life of its market gardens. It presents a rich collection of materials and equipment patiently gathered over many years by a couple of hortillonners.
René and Thérèse Nowak will tell you about the hard but endearing history of these people of the earth and water, the evolution of the techniques used but the eternal soul of this profession!

To complete the visit, an individual boat trip with an electric motor is available to discover the hortillonnages along the streams... They are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, the richness of which is due to the multiplicity of environments: gardens, waterways, wastelands, marshes and woodlands.

Water birds such as great crested grebes, swans, mallards, coots and moorhens are easily approached during a walk on the water.
 From May to August, you can see the water lilies glistening on the surface of the ponds, while water iris, wisteria and cattail cover the banks.

Balade depuis le Jardin des VertueuxBalade depuis le Jardin des Vertueux - Paco

A change of scene!

 

There are many other ways to explore this natural puzzle:

This list is far from exhaustive and it is up to you to create your own experience for an exceptional "natural" moment...

Les Hortillonnages et Vous

© Les copains Babord

Les Copains Babord

© L'auberge des Hortillonnages

L'Auberge des Hortillonnages

You will appreciate : The Chef’s inventive cooking that revisits local products (vegetables from the Hortillon, locally...

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Stand Up Paddle Le Grand Huit

Incontournable