Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Amiens, July 24-27

We left Corbie a little after 9 am and after negotiating three locks with the assistance of the waterways staff, we arrived at Amien about 12:30. There are three moorings in Amiens, the upper, or Amont,
closest to the center of town and the first we came to. Others are above the Amiens lock about 1 k downstream of Amont and below the lock on a pier in front of the engineering school. We preferred the Amont mooring but had been warned that it could be a little raucous. It’s right next to the parking lot that serves the bar and restaurant district and the weekends can be trouble. Luckily, we arrived on Monday and things were very quiet for the three days we were there. The Belgians that were there when we arrived (just behind us in the picture below) said their boat had been “boarded” by a drunkard about 3 am on Saturday.

A wide-beam narrowboat maneuvers to take a spot in front of us at the Port Amont.

An obligatory first stop in the city is the famous Cathedral Notre-Dame. The biggest gothic building in France, the building would hold two of Paris’ cathedral of the same name. Begun in 1220, it was effectively finished in 1269, a great contrast to other large churches that took generation to be completed.

Note the many sculptures surrounding the entrance doors. They are mostly intact, 
unlike many others in France that had their statues destroyed during the Revolution.

One of our guidebooks describes the interior as “a light, calm and unaffected space with works of breathtaking virtuosity… (like) the sculpted panels depicting the life of St. Firmin, Amiens first bishop, on the choir screen.”

Of course nighttime at the cathedral featured a spectacular Son et Lumière, a light show projected on the front of the cathedral with a soundtrack. This particular show finished up with a display painting the statues surrounding the three entrance doors in colored light to show what they would have looked like when new. It was breathtaking!

Just one of the three doors.

We spent Tuesday just walking around the city, admiring the old Saint-Leu quarter, the “little Venice of the North,”, its little houses with colorful facades, criss-crossed by small canals.

Wednesday we would visit one of the cities most unusual features, the Hortillonnages.

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