Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens
At 141m (469 ft.) long, this cathedral is the largest church in France. It was begun in 1220 by Robert de Luzarches and completed around 1270. Its original purpose was to house the head of St. John the Baptist, brought back from the Crusades in 1206.
Two unequal towers were added later - the south one in 1366, the north one in 1402. The renowned architect Viollet-le-Duc restored the cathedral in the 1850s.
Inside the cathedral are carved stalls and a Flamboyant Gothic choir screen. Local artisans made these stalls, with some 3,500 figures, in the early 16th century. One hundred twenty-six slender pillars hold up the interior of the church, the zenith of the High Gothic in the north of France.
The cathedral managed to escape destruction in World War II. In 1996, the Portail de la Mère-Dieu (Portal of the Mother of God), to the right of the cathedral's main entrance as you look over the facade, was restored at enormous expense.
Hours: Easter-Oct daily 8:30am-6:45pm; Nov-Mar daily 8:30am-noon and 2-5pm (6pm on Sat)
Location: Place Notre-Dame
Prices: Free admission. Guided tours 3€, free for 12 and under
Musée de Picardie
This museum occupies a building constructed from 1855 to 1867. The palace of the Napoléonic dynasty, inaugurated by Napoléon III, is divided into three sections, including one devoted to archaeology.
Other sections include exhibits on the Roman occupation of Gaul, the Merovingian era, ancient Greece, and Egypt. One collection documents the Middle Ages with ivories, enamels, objets d'art, and sculpture.
The sculpture and painting collection traces the European schools from the 16th to the 20th centuries, with works by El Greco, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Guardi, and Tiepolo. Fragonard's Les Lavandières most beautiful work is here.
|Canard - regional dish
|Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon