Picardy is the cradle of Gothic art and architecture with its six splendid cathedrals, particularly France’s monumental one in the capital of the region, Amiens. Picardy over the years has been a war-torn region that was often the place of invasions and battles. The two World Wars ripped through this region, leaving behind a fascinating legacy for visitors today, notably the battlefields of the Somme, now so tranquil.
Just north of Picardy is Nord-Pas de Calais, a region criss-crossed by a network of picturesque canals and rivers, a haven of pastoral landscapes, picturesque villages and historic cities such as Lille. Old mills, ancient abbeys and elegant châteaux are in abundance and it is the perfect region for those seeking a slower pace of life.
The scenery along the Canal du Nord, the canal we cruise on in this region, and over the Vermandois Hills is spectacular rural France at its best with wonderful towpath walks. Further south the châteaux of Chantilly and Compiègne nestle in a large forest that once extended all the way from Paris and it is near Compiègne itself that the World War I Armistice was famously signed in a railway carriage.
This map represents one of the sample itineraries we offer in this region.
Cruises and barges in Picardy