10 largest cities in France




Amiens is a French commune, prefecture of the department of the Somme in the Hauts-de-France region. Historic capital of Picardy, it is, with its 134,057 inhabitants called Amiénois in the last census in 2017, the second city in the region after Lille and the twenty-seventh in France. Located within the Paris - London - Brussels triangle, it is at the heart of the Greater Amiens metropolitan area, with nearly 400,000 inhabitants.

The first city in France in terms of UNESCO heritage listings, Amiens is famous for its Notre-Dame cathedral, a jewel of Gothic art and one of the largest cathedrals in the world.

Nicknamed the "Little Venice of the North" because of the many canals that cross it and the hortillonnages (set of floating gardens covering 300 hectares), Amiens offers a rich heritage and picturesque neighborhoods, witnesses of a two-thousand-year-old history. Since 1992, the City of Art and History label rewards the protection and enhancement of this heritage.

The contemporary image of the city is strongly linked to three activities which radiate beyond its borders: its status as the historic capital of Picardy, the importance of its university and the vitality of its cultural life carried by infrastructures and national events.



Notre-Dame d'Amiens cathedral

Notre-Dame d'Amiens Cathedral is a Catholic church located in Amiens in the French department of the Somme in the Hauts-de-France region. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is the cathedral church of the diocese of Amiens. It is the largest cathedral in France by its interior volumes (200,000 m3). Its overall length is 145 meters and its vault height of 42.30 meters. Only the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre de Beauvais exceeds it in height, with 48 meters high under the vault.

Its construction is contemporary with that of the cathedrals of Reims, Bourges or Beauvais. It is considered the archetype of classical Gothic style for the nave and radiant Gothic for the choir. The flamboyant Gothic style is present in the rosettes of the western facade and the transept, the upper parts of the north tower, the Beau Pilier, the stalls and the statuary of the choir enclosure.

The cathedral has lost most of its original stained glass windows, but it remains renowned for its 13th century Gothic sculptures adorning its western facade and the portal of the Golden Virgin on the south facade of the transept, as well as the stalls, masterpiece cabinetmaking work. Its architectural unity is evident, except for the upper parts of the two towers. The elevation of the nave, choir and transept reflects the ingenuity and boldness of the builders. Listed as a historic monument in France since 1862, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.


Picardy Museum

The Musée de Picardie is an art and archeology museum located in Amiens, France. It brings together rich collections ranging from prehistory to the twentieth century, particularly in archeology and painting. It has received the “Musée de France” label.

From the cabinet of curiosities to the museum
At the beginning of the 18th century, Étienne de Fay created, at the Saint-Jean-des-Prémontrés Abbey in Amiens, a cabinet of antiques and curiosities made up of a collection of heterogeneous objects, including sixteen 17th century paintings. century, a 15th century alabaster statue of the Virgin, a Bernard Palissy dish, numismatic coins, ceramics, astronomical instruments. In 1786, the Vicomte de Breteuil sent a letter to the king requesting the creation of a museum in Amiens. The French Revolution temporarily put an end to this project.

In 1802, 85 paintings and engravings were deposited at Malmaison, to form the “Stock Exchange Museum”. At the time of the signing of the Peace of Amiens, the State had some twenty paintings from the Palace of Versailles deposited at the town hall of Amiens, including the four Hunts in exotic countries by Carle van Loo and Francois Boucher. All these works were left in Amiens after the signing of the treaty.

In 1828, the Musée de la Salle de la Bourse was inaugurated, the collections of which consisted - for the most part - of antique statues. At the same time, in 1835, the Society of Friends of the Arts of the Department of the Somme was founded and in 1836 the Archaeological Society of the Somme became, in 1839, the Society of Antiquaries of Picardy which, in addition to carrying out archaeological research and historical, set itself the task of creating a museum in Amiens.

Museum Foundation
The Société des Antiquaires de Picardie was recognized as being of public utility on July 8, 1851. Thanks to its militant action, the objects of art and archeology collected over the decades could henceforth be preserved and exhibited in a museum worthy of the name. In 1852, it was authorized by Napoleon III to organize a lottery to finance the construction work of the museum and the State granted it ownership of the land of the old arsenal of Amiens in 1854. The “Napoleon museum” was born. In 1869, it was ceded to the city by the Société des antiquaires de Picardie and took the name of Musée de Picardie in 1875.



The discoveries of important prehistoric deposits at Amiens contributed to the birth of Prehistory, a science which imposed itself in the second half of the 19th century. The territory has enormous potential for Quaternary geology and for the study of the first settlements in Europe.

The importance of the Amiens deposits as well as the quality of the work of local prehistorians, such as Victor Commont or Jacques Boucher de Perthes (considered the founder of prehistory), have brought international scientific fame to the territory. Like the Vézère and Dordogne valley, the Somme valley is a reference for Prehistory and for the study of the Paleolithic.

It is in Amiens that was thus defined one of the oldest civilizations of humanity: the Acheulean. In 1853, “cut axes” were collected in the old alluvium of the Somme near the suburb of Saint-Acheul, to the east of the city. This discovery fascinates the most imminent specialists of the time who flock to the site (Joseph Prestwich, Hugh Falconer, Charles Lyell, John Evans, etc.). In August 1859, Albert Gaudry discovered there nine new "cut axes" which, according to him, attest to the great antiquity of humanity.

These discoveries mark the beginning of the great period of Saint-Acheul which will last more than 75 years. Between 1860 and 1880, 20,000 bifaces were thus collected. From then on, the Amiens site becomes the reference for the main facies of the Lower Paleolithic and welcomes specialists and collectors from all over the world. This success even gave birth to a trade in false cut flint.

In 1872, Gabriel de Mortillet, designer of prehistoric chronology, decided to call Acheuléen the period of Prehistory characterized by the cut flints identical to those found in the Saint-Acheul district.

Nowadays, the archaeological garden of Saint-Acheul is open to the public and presents a landscaping of the old quarries classified as Historical Monuments in 1947.

In 2007, archaeological excavations in rue du Manège brought to light the very first traces of human occupation in an alluvial water table. The remains collected during this intervention date from around 500,000 to 550,000 years ago.

In 2014, a Gravettian Venus dating back around 23,000 years was unearthed in the Renancourt district. The Venus of Renancourt is the first work of this kind discovered in the North of France and one of the rare testimonies of the presence of Cro-Magnon man at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic. It is on display at the Picardy museum.

In 2006, excavations made it possible to discover Mesolithic sitesb on positions of the old banks of the Somme and Selle48.

The Neolithic has not been the subject of as intensive research as the Paleolithic in the territory of Amiens. However, a deposit in the Montières-Etouvie sector yielded an abundant Neolithic industry in yellow flint of excellent quality.

The brickworks of Renancourt have also unearthed vestiges attributable to the Neolithic or Chalcolithic; This is evidenced by the naviform bipenne ax which is on display at the Picardy museum.

In the third century BC, the territory was occupied by a Gallic people, the Belgians, divided into several tribes: the Ambiens occupied the surroundings of Amiens as far as the coast. This population densely exploits the territory, with the establishment of a network of farms. From the 2nd century BC, oppidums were founded locally: L'Étoile, La Chaussée-Tirancourt, Méricourt-sur-Somme, etc.

The Ambiens mint coins inspired by the staters of Taranto, Magna Graecia, which tends to prove the prosperity of this tribe and its economic links with the Mediterranean. Ambian coinage served as a model for the Parisii and the Bellovaques.

Nowadays, the Samara park is installed at the foot of the old Gallic oppidum of La Chaussée-Tirancourt. Located 15 km from Amiens, it is a natural and archaeological park dedicated to Prehistory, Protohistory and the Gallo-Roman period.

Samarobriva (Pont de la Somme in Gallic) is the name of the city of Amiens in Gallo-Roman times; it is cited for the first time in Julius Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War. The latter set up his winter quarters there on his return from an expedition to island Brittany in 54 BC. A few years later, the capital of Ambiens is a large city which controls the passage of the Via Agrippa of the Ocean connecting Lugdunum (Lyon) to Gesoriacum (Boulogne-sur-Mer). The junction point of many other Roman roads, Samarobriva holds a strategic place in terms of trade and the dissemination of Romanization.


During the first century, the ancient city developed rapidly until it became the largest and most populous in western Gaul, Belgium. The excavations undertaken near the town hall and the courthouse revealed the foundations of monuments built for a population greater than that of Lutèce (Paris) and at least equal to that of Londinium (London): a forum, thermal baths as well as an amphitheater that can accommodate around 15,000 spectators.

From the reign of Claudius to that of Marcus Aurelius, Samarobriva experienced a prosperous period. It is a major equipment center and sees a flock of legionaries and merchants.

From 235, the overthrow of the Severan dynasty ushered in a period of economic and social instability. The city undergoes Saxon and Frankish raids before being again invaded by the Franks and the Alamans in 275 - 276. At the end of the third century, the city is surrounded by a rampart and transforms its amphitheater into a fortress in order to be protect.

During the Lower Empire, the fortified city was one of the main rear bases of the Roman system facing the Great Invasions. The enclosure protects an area of ​​20 ha.

At the turn of the third and fourth centuries, Samarobriva takes the name of "Ambianorum". “Most prominent city”, according to Ammien Marcellin, it strengthens its military role and becomes a garrison town.

Around December 334, Martin, a Roman legionary, shared his mantle with a poor man at the gates of the city, c, before converting to Christianity. The region was evangelized during this period and the Christian tradition made Firmin, Fuscien, Victoric and Gentien the first propagators of the new faith.

In 350, Magnence, a Roman general born in Amiens in 303, had the Emperor Constant I assassinated. On January 18, 350, he was proclaimed Emperor of the West. In Rome, this convinced pagan restored old beliefs while sparing the authorities of the new Christian Church. During his reign, he rebuilt the temples and celebrated with pomp great night sacrifices. He creates a monetary workshop in his hometown. The great Roman Empire is living its last decades and power stirs up greed; Magnence is threatened by Constance II who makes him retreat. Defeated at the battle of Mons Seleucus, he committed suicide in Lyon on August 11, 353.

In 367, Emperor Valentinian I moved to the city in order to organize a maritime defense system (Tractus Armoricanus and Nervicanus) and proclaimed Augustus his son Gratien. In 368, Amiens is the starting point of the operation which aims to restore the Roman order in Brittany.

In 383, the city surrendered to Maxime, proclaimed emperor by the legions of Brittany.

At the beginning of the fifth century, Germanic peoples ransack the city; the Huns would have devastated it too. From 435, the Franks occupied the city. The town became the main residence of Clodion le Chevelu, oldest known king of the Merovingian dynasty and great-grandfather of Clovis, who died there in 448.

Middle Ages
Apart from a mention of Grégoire de Tours evoking the surroundings of the castrum, a charter of 779 citing Amiens as one of the first places of the Frankish kingdom and another charter, of 850, attesting to an episcopal group made up of at least two churches , only archaeological data allow a sketch of the city during the six centuries following the end of the Roman era. Amiens then preserves the ancient architectural framework: the wall which closes the city, the road and some civil buildings such as the amphitheater which becomes the main fortress. The excavation of the market square has yielded only huts for the Carolingian period. A story from the 950s draws a city organized in two poles, one around the count's turris, the other around the bishop's turris.

In 859, the city was pillaged by the Vikings. In 881 - 882, the latter occupied the city again and transformed it into a military base before setting it on fire.

The city is rebuilt and knows, thanks to the found peace, a new development from the beginning of the eleventh century.

Around 1095, Amiens benefited from a draft municipal organization; the town was sworn in in 1113 and recognized by the king. In 1115, Louis VI le Gros was present to support Bishop Geoffroy and the inhabitants against Count Enguerrand de Boves who refused to recognize the municipal institution.

An essential place between Île-de-France and the county of Flanders, the city was reunited with the crown by Philippe Auguste in 1185. The latter met and married in the city of Ingeburge in Denmark in 1193. Amiens saw new fortifications s' expand northward and industrial textile districts with multiple mills develop. The traces of these districts are still visible today in the Saint-Leu district.


In 1218, lightning destroyed the archives of the bishopric and those of the chapter, and destroyed the Romanesque cathedral which had been rebuilt after the Viking invasions. It was at the heart of this city which enjoyed political stability and wealth that, from 1220, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world was built.

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Amiens was one of the main “draping towns” and developed an important trade in dyers' pastel (called waide in Picard). Amiens blue made the fortune of the city and helped finance the work of the cathedral. This prosperity earned Amiens the nickname "country of blue gold".

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the city was the scene of great events. On January 23, 1264, in the cathedral still under construction, Saint Louis made a famous arbitration in favor of the king of England Henry III known as the Dit d'Amiens. In 1279, the King of France Philippe III the Bold and the King of England Edward I initialed the Treaty of Amiens which put an end to the conflict between Capetians and Plantagenêt. In 1329, in the cathedral, the King of England Edward III paid homage to the King of France Philippe VI of Valois. On July 17, 1385, Charles VI married Isabeau of Bavaria there.

The Hundred Years' War had serious repercussions on the territory so close to England. In 1358, the battle of Amiens opposed the partisans of Charles II of Navarre - including the bourgeois of Amiens - to the troops of Charles V of France. Not far from there, the illustrious battles of Crécy (1346) and Agincourt (1415) bloody the Picardy lands. In 1423, the Treaty of Amiens sealed a triple alliance between the Duke of Bedford, Philippe III of Burgundy and John V of Brittany to fight against Charles VII.

From the end of the fourteenth century to the middle of the fifteenth century, the economy of Amiens was in difficulty. The war between France and England undermines the fruitful trade exchanges between Amiens and the towns across the Channel; the strengthening of the ramparts put a strain on the finances and competition from foreign drapery caused a decline in trade.

In 1435, by the Treaty of Arras, the city was ceded to Burgundy before returning to the crown in 1477 at the will of Louis XI. The sovereign then reaffirms the communal freedoms of Amiens and grants it the motto it still retains: Liliis tenaci vimine jungor (A powerful bond unites me to the lily).

In the last third of the fifteenth century, Amiens found new economic momentum thanks to the sayetterie, a light drapery. The Amiens merchants developed an important trade in fabrics with Artois and Hainaut. The wools come from all over Picardy and the fabrics are sold in Portugal, Switzerland, Italy as far as the Antilles. The king authorizes two annual fairs in the city, so that it not only increases but also does not increase the flight of currency from the kingdom to Antwerp and Bruges.

Modern era
Around 1520, charmed by the reception he received in Amiens, François I had the Logis du Roy built in order to spend part of the year there. Located opposite the current courthouse, it remains one of the few examples of Renaissance architecture in the city.

During the Protestant Reformation, many disturbances broke out and fights took place even in the cathedral. In 1588, the notable Amiens solemnly adhered to the Catholic League; they did not recognize Henry IV until 1594.

On March 11, 1597, the Spaniards attacked the Amiens by surprise: soldiers disguised as peasants came to the gates of the ramparts with nuts and apples. Hungry Amiens then opened the doors and the Spaniards seized the city by trickery. After the six months of the siege of Amiens, Henri IV took over the city, put an end to its privileges and imposed the construction of a vast citadel which would penalize its development. His successor, Louis XIII, stayed in Amiens several times during the Thirty Years' War. In 1636, then in 1640, accompanied by Cardinal Richelieu, he set up his headquarters there during the sieges of Corbie and Arrasd. At the end of the conflict, Picardy is devastated and the plague rages. The Peace of the Pyrenees pushes back the border of the kingdom further north; Amiens lost its place as a border town.

Although enamelled with wars and conflicts, the seventeenth century was nonetheless fruitful on the literary and artistic level. The city saw the birth of thinkers and artists famous in their time, such as academician Vincent Car, Charles du Fresne du Cange, Nicolas Blasset or Nicolas Cornet. The college of Amiens enjoys a good reputation and the schools flourish.


In the 18th century, Amiens benefited from a long period of peace conducive to its economic development. The Amiens city councilors undertake major town planning works; the ramparts gradually disappeared to make way for wide boulevards, a promenade and a body of water were built in La Hotoie (1746), seven public fountains were put into service (1753-1758), the water tower was built (1755), the town hall has a new facade (1760), the municipal theater is built (1780), etc.

The Enlightenment movement found a favorable echo in Amiens, where a growing interest in science and technology emerged. In 1746, Jean-Baptiste Gresset created the Académie des sciences, des lettres et des arts d'Amiens, a learned society which is still active today. In 1751, the Jardin du Roy (the current Jardin des Plantes d'Amiens) opened its doors and botany courses were given there. Artistic and literary productions are abundant throughout the century. In 1767, Jean-Jacques Rousseau received a triumphant welcome during his visit to the city. In 1782, the Amiens Pierre Choderlos de Laclos signed one of the masterpieces of French literature, Dangerous Liaisons.

It was at this time that the city's industry took its greatest expansion. In 1666, Colbert gave the Amiens textile industry regulations which would contribute to its growth and influence. In 1701, the Spanish and American markets opened up to Amiens products. In 1756, Alexandre Bonvallet founded his factory in the Faubourg Saint-Maurice and successfully introduced embossing and printing on fabric. In 1762, Honoré Matifas introduced to Amiens the manufacture of cotton velvet. In 1766, the title of royal manufactory was granted to Jean-Baptiste Morgan for his production of Utrecht velvet and cotton velvet. The city was then the center of a considerable trade and produced all kinds of fabrics: serges, Indiennes, street vendors, baracans, drugstores, Utrecht velvet, etc. This production is shipped throughout France, the Netherlands, the United Provinces, Germany, Spain, America, the French Antilles, etc. In 1785, the importation of English textiles and the new fashion for cotton caused an economic slowdown which led to the unemployment of thousands of friends.

Contemporary period
The revolutionary period, although dotted with conflicts and fruit riots (1789, 1795), was relatively calm in Amiens. In March 1790, the town became the capital of the Somme department.

The periods of the Consulate and the First Empire reinforce the city's position. On March 25, 1802, the United Kingdom and France signed the Peace of Amiens at the town hall; this peace treaty puts an end to the Second Coalition against France. In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais stayed in Amiens60. In 1804, the Amiens Court of Appeal was created. In 1806, the Lycée d'Amiens succeeded the Central School created during the Revolution. The same year, a practical health school was founded. In 1808, the Academy of Amiens was established while faculties of letters and sciences opened their doors.

In the nineteenth century, Amiens took advantage of the industrial revolution and retained international recognition for its textile production. Still strongly marked by its medieval character, the city is expanding and modernizing. Under the Restoration and the July Monarchy, the city is a perpetual site, prefiguring the Haussmanization. In the 1820s, the ramparts were completely dismantled to make room for wide boulevards that surround the city center. This demolition gave birth in particular to the bourgeois quarter of Henriiville. Radial streets converging towards the center are pierced from 1830 to 1848. The rue de la République is created and becomes the street of power and knowledge with the erection of the municipal library (1826) and the expansion of the prefecture (1838 ). Industrial activities were pushed to the outskirts, in the Saint-Leu district and the Saint-Maurice and Hem suburbs. The Amiens industry was perfected and organized around an "Industrial Company", created in 1836 to stimulate it and improve production.

The railway is operated quickly in Amiens. The first line was built in 1846, with the first station known as Gare du Nord; it connects the city to Parise. A second line was opened from 1847, towards Boulogne-sur-Mer, with the Saint-Roch station. This progress changes the geography of the city, which now turns its back on the river, like the town hall which transfers its entrance from the square to the wire, to the current rue des Trois-Cailloux.


The Second Empire was a period of prosperity in this Bonapartist city with the expansion of industry and the rail network. In 1867, the Amiens-Laon and Amiens-Rouen lines were put into service. The city experienced strong demographic growth, going from 52,000 to 63,000 inhabitants between 1851 and 1872. From 1855 to 1867, the current Picardy Museum was built. It is the first building specially constructed in France to be a museum.

During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the Somme was invaded by the Prussians, we were fighting for Amiens which was finally occupied.

The 1870s saw the emergence of the republican current, embodied locally by Jules Barni, Frédéric Petit and especially René Goblet who became the head of the French government in 1886.

In 1872, the writer Jules Verne moved to Amiens. Involved in local public and political life, he became a municipal councilor in 1888. He was one of the initiators of the municipal circus, inaugurated in 1889. Died in 1905 at his home, he is buried in the cemetery of La Madeleine.

In 1891 the network of the old Amiens tramway was created, first in horse-drawn traction then in electric traction from 1899. This network operated until the destruction of the Battle of France in 1940.

At the end of the 19th century, the industrial development of the “French velvet capital” attracted a population from the countryside. The Société Industrielle had a subdivision built, with a washhouse, school and church between Saint-Roch station and Boulevard du Port [archive] to strengthen the alliance of labor and capital between 1869 and 1879. The family Cosserat built houses on the Abbeville road to house workers in their textile factories.

Since 1900
From the Belle Époque to the First World War
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Amiens was the tenth most populous French city. Faced with the need to accommodate newcomers, the city enriches its heritage and particularly enhances its center. Amiens extends first to the South then to the North, preserving traces of its past with a plan retaining the imprint of successive enclosures. It was during this period that many so-called “Amiens” houses were built. They still participate in the identity of the city.

The Nouvelles Galeries opened in 1895 rue des Trois-Cailloux and competed with the small business. In 1902, the Amiens ready-to-wear brand Devred 1902 set up its first store in this emblematic shopping street.

On October 13, 1906, the CGT held a historic congress which adopted the Amiens Charter, a constitutive act of French trade unionism asserting its independence from political parties.

The Picardy capital is then a lively city, rich in sporting and cultural activities. In 1906, the international exhibition that the city organized welcomed 1.3 million visitors. In 1913, 100,000 spectators attended the French Automobile Grand Prix63. A great intellectual activity reigns in the city with several influential learned societies, a varied press and a renowned theater. There are many traditional, popular or aristocratic festivals.

In 1913, the city had 38 clothing companies. The districts of Saint-Leu, Saint-Pierre and the suburb of Hem, where the textile industry predominates, contrast with the prosperity of the city center and the upper town by concentrating poverty and unsanitary housing.

With the declaration of war of 1914, Amiens, which geographic determinism places in a position to protect Paris, suffered the full brunt of the throes of war.

World War I
The largest city behind the Western Front, Amiens held a strategic place throughout the First World War. Occupied for a few days by the German army in 1914, the capital of the Somme went from 93,000 inhabitants when the war entered to 110,000 during the conflict due to the presence of Allied troops.

Between 1914 and 1918, the city welcomed fighters from all over the world: French, British, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, South Africans, Indians, Chinese… Life is intense and there are many activities: industrial in war factories , health with hospitals, media with the production of newspapers in English, sports with the development of football in contact with Anglo-Saxon troops, entertaining for soldiers on leave.


The city is going through difficult times with the reception of Belgian and French refugees, population evacuations, restrictions and deprivation (gas, coal, bread, etc.). Faced with regular bombardments, the municipality implemented the protection of historic monuments in 1915. The same year, modern camouflage was invented in Amiens; a workshop of 200 people is responsible for making decoys to deceive the enemy air force (fake trees or cows, fake tanks, fictitious farms, etc.).

In 1916, east of Amiens, took place the Battle of the Somme, the bloodiest confrontation of the Great War with 1.2 million victims. The collective memory retains a deep memory of this event which remains the deadliest in British history; a day of commemoration is held at the main Commonwealth places of memory in the Somme every July 1st. ANZAC Day is celebrated every April 25 in Amiens and in other communes of the department.

During the conflict, Notre-Dame Cathedral served as a rallying point for soldiers in search of recollection and peace. Sent from Amiens, letters to their families are often accompanied by photos or postcards. The images of Amiens Cathedral and its Weeping Angel are thus sent around the world, in millions of copies.

At the end of March 1918, an intense wave of bombardments destroyed the Gare du Nord, the Nouvelles Galeries and the Halle aux blés. It involves the evacuation of the population; the municipality then took refuge in Neufchâtel-en-Bray.

In March 1918, the Germans launched Operation Michael, which was stopped by the Canadian cavalry brigade (Lord Strathcona's Horse - Royal Canadians) on April 4 at Villers-Bretonneux and Moreuil. In August, Marshal Douglas Haig's British Expeditionary Force led the Battle of Amiens. The attack is intended to liberate a large part of the railway line between Paris and Amiens.

At the end of the conflict, the death toll of civilian victims was 152 killed and 213 wounded, that of material damage was 731 buildings completely destroyed and nearly 3,000 damaged, plus looting.

In 1919, Amiens was decorated with the 1914-1918 War Cross. The same year, a reconstruction plan was initiated by Louis Duthoit. In 1924, the state rejected the municipality's claim for war damages. A less ambitious reconstruction began in 1925, as evidenced by some Art Deco facades.

The Second World War
While the reconstruction of the city center, already severely affected during the First World War, was not completed, the city was again affected by the numerous bombings of the Second World War, in 1940, in particular at the beginning of June, during the Battle of Amiens: on May 20, the 1st Panzerdivision was on the outskirts of the city. The Germans gradually penetrated the city and two other armored divisions provided support for the offensive. French and British units resisted, stationed in positions south of Amiens, and fired at the town on June 5. A last offensive by the German armored vehicles in numerical superiority, launched from 6 to 8 June, overcomes the Franco-British lock, the city falls definitively on the 8 and the Wehrmacht can continue its breakthrough towards its next objective, Paris. However, the German losses are high: nearly 200 tanks. Despite these bitter fighting, the cathedral and a few neighborhoods were spared, including those of Henriiville and Saint-Leu.

In 1942, the first reconstruction plans were put together by German officials, and by Pierre Dufau.

On January 4, 1944, at the initiative of the Germans, a raid was organized which resulted in the arrest of 21 Amiens Jews, joined by other Jews from the department. First detained at the Drancy camp, most of them were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau by convoy no 66. Of this convoy, there was only one survivor from Amiens at the end of the conflict: it was Renée. Louria, who recounts her terrible fate in the Courrier Picard in May 1945.

On February 18, 1944, the British air force targeted the prison during Operation Jericho, then the railroads. The 1944 Pentecost bombardment by more than 450 planes, which primarily targeted the railway junction near the Gare du Nord, was one of the deadliest, with 146 dead and several hundred injured.

The British army liberated the city on August 31, 1944. By saving the Beauvillé bridge from destruction, and following intense fighting at the Citadel, the FFI facilitated the continuation of the advance of the Allied armies towards the North.

Amiens comes out of the conflict 60% destroyed.


The city was rebuilt according to the plans of Pierre Dufau: its reconstruction and development plan was adopted in July 1942. It was based on the desire to improve traffic by widening the streets and densifying the blocks. Place Gambetta was designed by architect Alexandre Courtois, Place de la Gare was designed by Auguste Perret, including its famous Tower, Dufau focusing on Place du Marché and Place de la Cathédrale.

The winds of protest that blew over France and the world at the end of the 1960s also affected Amiens. First, a demonstration opposed to the Vietnam War was organized on October 21, 1967. Then, while the Maison de la Culture had welcomed the Minister of National Education Alain Peyrefitte in mid-March 1968, on the occasion of a symposium on education, the students of Amiens follow in the footsteps of Parisian events by parading on May 6 and 7.

The workers of the Somme joined the protest movement on the 17th, while the next day, the railway workers of Longueau blocked the switches. Ferodo workers occupy their factory from May 20 for five weeks.

Without experiencing clashes comparable to Parisian nights, the city is quickly paralyzed: the lack of collection of household waste gives the streets foul odors, and the department runs out of gasoline from the 22nd. Faced with this movement of left, the extreme right is not absent: while militants had thrown an explosive device on the communist office of the city on December 23, 1967, members of the West opposed the students on May 21, in front of the cinema Picardy. On the night of May 27 to 28, the students attempt to take the Culture House. The day after De Gaulle's speech, his Amiens supporters marched on May 31, while the recovery began the following week. The Faure law promulgated, the University of Amiens was created on the following October 26.

Since the 1970s
In the 1970s, the city gradually bought the houses in the Saint-Leu district and renovated it in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the Saint-Pierre park was redeveloped and part of the University of Picardy settled in new buildings at the foot of the cathedral, while the North district is undergoing major renovations. Over the past fifteen years, the city has also developed through the commercial district of the Vallée des vignes, to the south of the city.

Since 2006, a vast redevelopment program for the station district, the Gare la Vallée project, has been underway. Since June 2008, the vast architectural transformation of the Place de la Gare has made it easier for people with reduced mobility to access the station and to ensure pedestrian continuity between the town hall and the latter, at the cost of a controversy over the quality of the enhancement of Perret's work.