|Commune of Amiens |
Saint Leu area in Amiens
|Canton||Chief town of 8 cantons|
|Altitude||14 m–106 m |
(avg. 33 m)
|Land area¹||49.46 km²|
|- Density (1999)||2,740/km²|
|INSEE/Postal code||80021/ 80000|
|¹ French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq. mi. or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
|² Population sans doubles comptes: single count of residents of multiple communes (e.g. students and military personnel).|
Amiens is a city and commune in the north of France, 120 km north of Paris. It is the préfecture (capital city) of the Somme département. It is considered the Picarde capital of France.
The Paleolithic culture named Acheulean was named for its first identified site, in Saint-Acheul, a suburb of Amiens. Amiens, the Roman Samarobriva, was the central settlement of the Ambiani, one of the principal tribes of Gaul, who were issuing coinage, probably from Amiens, in the 1st century BC. By tradition, it was at the gates of Amiens that Saint Martin of Tours, at the time still a Roman soldier, divided his cloak with a naked beggar.
Amiens was later the capital of Picardy.
Amiens Cathedral (a World Heritage Site) is the tallest of the large 'classic' Gothic churches of the 13th century and is the largest in France of its kind. After a fire destroyed the former cathedral, the new nave was built 1220 - finished 1247. Amiens Cathedral is notable for the coherence of its plan, the beauty of its three-tier interior elevation, the particularly fine display of sculptures on the principal facade and in the south transept, and the labyrinth and other inlays of its floor. It is described as the "Parthenon of Gothic architecture," and by John Ruskin as "Gothic, clear of Roman tradition and of Arabian taint, Gothic pure, authoritative, unsurpassable, and unaccusable".
Amiens is also known for the hortillonages, garden on small islands in the marshland along the Somme River, surrounded by a grid network of man-made canals.