The historic towns of Picardy


The northern French region of Picardy is a popular destination among British holidaymakers. Conveniently situated just a short drive from Calais, it is easily accessible for day trips and short breaks, as well as holding enough attractions for a longer holiday. There are lots of rental gites in Picardy and most of them will be within easy travelling distance of several of the region's main towns. Famous for seeing action in some of France's and Europe's, most historically significant battles, Picardy has many sites of interest. This article outlines the attractions of Picardy's main towns.


Most famous for the 1918 Battle of Amiens, this sizable town is popular among tourists interested in military history or in paying their respects to those lost during the First and Second World Wars. Amiens is also home to a spectacular Gothic cathedral, the largest of its kind in France. Visitors to the town in winter will find the centre transformed by a hug Christmas market with traditional Picardy food, drink and crafts are on offer. Many of the most popular gites in Picardy are located in the countryside surrounding Amiens.


Beauvais is the setting for another spectacular Gothic cathedral, prized for its unusual and daring architecture. Recently renovated, the cathedral is the perfect place to start a day in Beauvais. The surrounding streets are fascinating, too, with houses dating back as far as the 12th Century. The Chateau de Troissereux is well worth a visit, with guided tours offered by the current owners. This beautiful building is in need of some repair but provides a fascinating insight into French chateau life.


Named after the 3rd Century Saint Quentin, the town is home to Basilika Saint-Quentin. Visiting this grand Gothic church is a breath-taking experience. Although extensively damaged in World War 2, renovations are on-going and the size and grandeur of the building is still evident. Saint-Quentin has a small number of museums, including the Butterflies Museum and the Antoine Lecuyer Museum. There are also several attractions aimed at children, including the giant play centre of Royal Kids.


The town of Laon has the world's only fully-automated cable car system, which makes for a fun way to get around when you're visiting. Laon is home to many medieval buildings, mainly dating from the 12th Century. The town's Notre-Dame Cathedral contains elements built in the 13th Century and is yet another example of the splendid Gothic architecture so prevalent in Picardy. There is an archaeological museum in the centre of the town with some interesting exhibits.