The first few places that come to one’s mind on the mention of France are Paris, The Palace of Versailles, Provence, and Bordeaux. In the eight years that we have been in London, we must have crossed the English channel at least 10 times to visit Paris and the French Riviera. If you have been reading Bruised Passports for a while, you’d know that we love discovering offbeat gems in a country, and we recently came across one in France too – the region of Picardy!
Truth be told, we weren’t really familiar with the region of Picardy except for the department of Somme, made famous by the First World War. Lately, we have been reading quite a bit about this region on different websites as it becomes increasingly popular with holiday makers from UK owing to its proximity to the English Channel. Here’s an image showing where exactly Picardy is located:
As you can see, the region of Picardy is so close to Paris and Callais – it makes for the perfect region to explore on a short weekend getaway from UK when you want to see something other than Paris or Reims. What’s more, it has plenty to offer to all types of tourists – from families with kids to couples looking for a relaxing hideout away from the commotion of the bigger cities of France. Here’s a list of our favourite things from Picardy:
Immerse yourself in the history and sights of Somme
While a lot of us know the department of Somme from the bloody Battle Of The Somme, there’s plenty more to see in this area of Picardy. If you base yourself in the gorgeous town of Amiens built on River Somme, you can easily visit the battlefields to pay your respect to the fallen or to admire the beautiful memorials in the perfectly manicured gardens. Both of us have visited many war sites around the world and feel that such visits put things into perspective and make you cherish the world you live in even more.
On your way back to England, make sure to spend a night in Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Bay of Somme – here you will enjoy nature at its best. Wildlife and birdlife can be found in abundance in this area of Somme – from the largest colony of seals in France to migratory birds, you can find them all here.
Enjoy a romantic rendezvous in Chantilly
There’s no better way to enjoy the region of Picardy than to unwind in the lap of nature, away from the hustle bustle of big cities. Chantilly offers just that – lush forests perfect for languorous walks, food and wine to go with the romantic mood, and sites that seem as if just out of a fairy-tale. If you ever find yourself in Chantilly, don’t leave without visiting the Chateau de Chantilly, known world over for its architecture, history, and the art collection. Once you are done with soaking in all the sites, do hop on a horse and ride through the forest – there’s no better way to connect with mother nature.
Discover Chateau De Pierrefonds
When we visited the French Riviera, we had an amazing time staying in an Auberge tucked away from Nice in a tiny village called Vence. We’d recommend you do the same in Picardy – book yourself in an Auberge located between Pierrefonds and Compiègne. What’s more, the in-house restaurant at l’Auberge à la Bonne Idée boasts of a Michelin star and the chef doles out scrumptious dishes representing the region. The location is perfect to spend a leisurely day discovering the magnificent Chateau De Pierrefonds, situated atop a hill with commanding views of the surroundings. The rest of the time can be spent exploring the imperial palace of Compiègne or strolling through the vast forests of Compiègne with your companion. This romantic getaway is the perfect way to spend a short weekend away from London!
If these places sound exciting to you, have a look at many more short and personalised experiences Esprit De Picardie – be it a family outing or a romantic weekend away. The experiences have been curated by English speaking local experts who live in the region along with local accommodation and service providers.