Rediscovering Amiens

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Apr 21st, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Rediscovering Amiens

Having my ancestral roots in northern France, I retain an irresistable attraction to it. Obviously, I think that Provence and other areas of southern France are lovely, but I regret how often the north is overlooked by visitors.

To try to set things straight just a tad, I invite you to take another look at Amiens, where I spent last Saturday afternoon: http://tinyurl.com/2ceu6n9

I can't claim to have seen much in just a few hours, but I hope that I saw enough to intrigue a few of you.
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Apr 21st, 2010, 12:15 PM
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I day tripped there from Paris once and the cathedral is as sublime as any in France - the town however is typical of industrial northern France - a little tattered and gloomy IMO
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Apr 21st, 2010, 12:44 PM
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Well, K, I am a convert I adore Northern and eastern France. Somehow, Provence holds no apppeal to me. There are so many lovely places never mentioned here. I need to look over past reports and pick some out
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Apr 21st, 2010, 01:13 PM
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If you find some places in the grim North that rival anything in Provence let me know

I have ridden my bicycle thru most of this depressed and depressing area - slag heaps always on the horizon from broken industries

cities that are depressed and grim - yes grim IMO
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Apr 21st, 2010, 02:07 PM
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I have noticed that your concept of many things is hopelessly outdated, Palenque, including Paris. Clearly you are a person of a definitive one-time-only mindset. Too bad for you.

The "grim" North? Oh, poor baby...
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 03:10 AM
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I recently visited Amiens (see my trip report at http://suja-thoughts.spaces.live.com/) amongst other places in the north of france and therefore very interested to see the war time pictures that you posted. Thank you. Its horrifying to see how human beings are capable of defacing/destroying our heritage like this..
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 07:58 AM
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... and yet impressive to see how they can rebuild again and again.
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 08:01 AM
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well i see things thru the eyes of an American tourist perhaps and perhaps painted the north as too grim - but it is a lot grimmer than Provence or at least most foreign tourists would find it so. IME the farther south in France you go the more romantic cities and landscapes and villages get. That's my opinion based on many bicycle rides from north to south.
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 09:29 AM
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Clearly you are a person of a definitive one-time-only>

well for Amiens that would be true and it was some years ago that i went there and your pictures do indeed show a rather nice side of Amiens and it may spur me to go back

as for Paris the one-time-only - well i have been to Paris at least 100 times and, am addicted jogger/walker have literally walked around practically every if not every part of Paris inside the Peripherique and many outside of it.

Again what a foreign tourist thinks is often at odds with what locals know - my comments are from a tourist standpoint and yours from a local's standpoint - and thus often IMO blind to what the average tourist may appreciate, etc. This is not personal to you but to anyone living in a city and how they inevitably react to what tourists say - thinking how dare they comment on things they know nothing about, etc.

I post from a tourist's point of view and my personal point of view - it may not comport to what how a local may view things.
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Thanks, kerouac

I'm planning a 10 day visit to the north of Paris area next year. One week in a gite just inland from Le Troquet-Paris-Plage, and 3 nights in Compiegne. I know this region isn't Provence or the Dordogne - but I think I would welcome something different.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 10:10 AM
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Hi Stu -- I spent 45 minutes in Compiegne on Monday and believe it or not, I will have a photo report coming up for that, too, in a few days.

I grazed Le Touquet on this trip but decided not to stop, since I had just spend all day nearby (another photo report on the way!). I have heard (but I don't know how true it is) that Le Touquet is QE2's secret hideaway and that she spends a lot of unannounced time there with her horses. It does have a small private airport...
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Apr 23rd, 2010, 07:27 AM
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I've been researching my family background as well and I'm thinking that one day we'll go to Paris and then head north. Picardy would be the goal, Beauvais and over to Laon. Sounds like Amien should be on the list, and Rheims and over to Belgium perhaps.

Just a pipe dream at the moment, but apparently somewhere there is a plaque to the patriarch of my clan who emigrated to Canada.
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Apr 23rd, 2010, 08:08 AM
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The photo reminded me of the Cathedral in Chartres with the amazing carvings. Thanks kerouac.
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Apr 23rd, 2010, 02:44 PM
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kerouac, you have a wonderful gift. These photographs are fantastic and, once again, you have taken me to a place I haven't visited and made me want to book a trip right now!

Thank you.
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Apr 29th, 2010, 01:46 PM
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Thanks, billbarr.

As promised to StuDudley, here is my little set of pictures of Compiègne: http://tinyurl.com/36nm76t
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Apr 29th, 2010, 03:00 PM
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Thanks kerouac - I enjoyed the pics & your comments. Looks like there is some nice architecture in Compiegne.

Several years ago, I read a comment in a guidebook which stated that there are many towns in France where the number of names on the "Monument to the Morts" seem to be greater than the number of buildings in the town. Since I read this, my wife & I have always tried to seek out these monuments while walking or driving through villages & towns. As you know, there is usually one in every city/town/village/commune. Many of the monuments depect a soldier at the center of the monument. The monuments that are the most "moving" for us, are the ones which depict a grieving widow and/or family - like the monument you took the picture of in Compiegne.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 29th, 2010, 10:20 PM
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One interesting detail on that monument is that the list of names is about 5 times longer for WW1 than for WW2. In some other cities, sometimes the lists are of about equal length.
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Apr 30th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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>>One interesting detail on that monument is that the list of names is about 5 times longer for WW1 than for WW2.<<

I think that's the norm. It makes one realize how devastating WWI was, and why France was not anxious to get into another war real soon (even today). I heard Rick Steves mention that 50% of the men between 15 & 30 were killed or injured in WWI.

We stayed in a gite near a small village in the Lot. The village (Cayriech) consisted of a church & a Mairie which was part of the church. It was a small farming community and the farms were scattered around. There were 15 names on the "monument to the Morts" from WWI inside the church. There were 3 sets of victums that had the same last names. There was also a set which was probably the father & 2 sons. There were many other tiny villages in this region, and each one had a similar monument with "too many" names.

As we drive around France & notice the number of names on the different monuments, I got the impression that the soldiers fought in a region that was close to where they lived. The Rhone had a VERY high number of casualties - probably because it is wedged in between the Alps & the rugged Ardeche.

Stu Dudley
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