Picardie

 

Region of northern France, bordered by the English Channel to the west and Champagne to the south, including the Aisne, Oise, and Somme départements; area 19,399 sq km/7,490 sq mi; population (1999 est) 1,857,500. Most of Picardy is occupied by a chalky limestone plateau, while its central Somme River valley is marshy in many areas. Industries include chemicals and metals. Principal towns include Abbeville and Amiens; the latter is the administrative centre and was capital of the old province. Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais are major fishing and commercial seaports; Le Touquet and Le Crotoy are tourist resorts, particularly for the British.

 

map

 

Famous people from Picardie:

John Calvin (1509-1564), the French Reformation leader was born in the town of Noyon

calvin

The writers Jean Racine (1639-1699), Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), and Jules Verne (1828-1905) all lived in the region.

racine dumas verne

 

 

 

The region is composed of 3 départements

Aisne (02), Capital: Laon

There are six territories in Aisne each with its own identity. To the north lies 'La Thierache' known as 'Little Normandy' for its cereal fields, plains and delicious Maroilles cheese. 'Le Vermandois' and 'Le Chaumois' with its many canals and lakes.
The capital Laon is surrounded by rolling countryside and 'Sissonnais' is defined by its plateau and escarpments.
Omois to the south and the 'Vallee de la Marne'is where you'll find 10% of Champagne's vineyards.
The many religious monuments and castles bear witness to an often turbulent past - such as Saint Quentin with a Gothic basilica and the Eglise Notre Dame at Plomion (see below).

plom

 

Oise (60), Capital: Beauvais

Oise was once home to kings and noblemen who left their mark in the many chateaux, abbeys and cathedrals.
Its forests, lakes, valleys, half-timbered houses and meandering rivers make it hard to believe that you are just 45km from Paris! The place to relax - over 2000km of walking trails and 10 golf courses.
A chance to sample foie gras, leek pie, pear cider and Crème Chantilly.
Horse riding is another tradition here with the National Stud Farm based at Compiegne and the equestrian museum at 'Musee Vivant du Cheval' at Chantilly.

chanti

Castle of Chantilly

 


Somme (80), Capital: Amiens

Some of France's finest monuments and cathedrals are situated in the Somme. Its capital, Amiens boasts fine stone churches and an impressive Gothic cathedral.
The battlefields of the Somme Valley that indicate what life in WW1 was really like.
Local produce includes Peronne beer and smoked eels.
The Somme coastline takes in cliffs, dunes, marshes and pretty villages. Here you'll find the delightful fishing village of Le Crotoy (see below) that bewitched Colette, Jules Verne, & the Duke and Duchess of Windsor among others.

crot

 

 

 

The Picardie Region lists 2 "most beautiful villages of France"

 

Gerberoy (Oise)

Parfondeval (Aisne)

parf

 

 

 

What to Do?

Chateau de Pierrefonds, Pierrefonds

The beautiful Chateau of Pierrefonds, originally built in the 14th C, is a remarkable tribute to the architect Viollet-le-Duc who oversaw the restoration of this medieval castle. The fairy tale castle was commissioned by Napoleon III and was never fully completed.
pierrhttp://pierrefonds.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/bdd/page/infospratiques
Cathedrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens, Amiens
A World Heritage Site, Notre Dame d'Amiens, is a beautiful classical gothic cathedral. "Amiens, the cathedral in color" from the medieval and beautiful stained glass windows make magic of the light. As always, visit the crypt, located under the alter, for a trip into the past.
amie
Musee Vivant du Cheval, Chantilly
This museum is dedicated to horses, in a town that's been racing them since the 19th century.
chevalhttp://www.museevivantducheval.fr/en
La Mer de sable, Ermenonville
Amusement park, well designed for a good time in family. Free parking.
mersabhttp://www.merdesable.fr/
Australian War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux
Lots of historic buildings and memorials to celebrate Australian help during the war.
memorhttp://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/villers-bretonneux/
Town of Soissons
Soissons is famous for its "vase" and was the capital of the first Merovingian kings. Having preserved an important heritage it is classified as a "Ville d’Art et d’Histoire".
soiss

 

Festivals and Traditional Events

 

Spring
4 main musical festivals in March:

* "Le Blues autour du Zinc" in March, Beauvais. http://www.zincblues.com/

* "Les nuits du blues" in March, in Abbeville. http://www.picardie.fr/Les-Nuits-du-Blues-a-Abbeville

* "Festival jazz" in April, in Hirson. http://www.pro-festivals.com/index.php?page=festivals-fiche&festi=9076

* Festival "musique de jazz" in March, in Amiens. http://www.amiensjazzfestival.com/2011/index.php


Summer
* Les Nuits de Feu in Chantilly, in June (celebrating fireworks).

feux


* Merveilles de Coucy-le-Château, in June (celebrating medieval show)

coucy


* "Festival des fôrets", in July, in the heart of Compiegne Forest (original concept celebrating music).

* "Fête de Jean de la Fontaine" in June, in Chateau- Thierry (celebrating famous fables)


Autumn
* Festival du film d'Amiens, in November (celebrating international cinema) http://www.filmfestamiens.org/?-Professionnel-&lang=en
* "Festival des cathédrales" in September (celebrating classic music) http://www.picardie-cathedrales.com/evenements/le-festival-des-cathedrales-de-picardie/


Winter
Festival du film de Beauvais, in November (celebrating European cinema).
Fête du Bois-Hourdy in Chambly in February (celebrating carnival).

 

 

 

Markets Days

Laon

Tuesdays, in Quartier de Montreuil, 8am-12pm

Wednesdays and Saturdays, in Cité médiévale, 8am-1.30pm

Thursdays, in Quartier de Vaux, 8am-1.30pm

Sundays, in Quartier La Neuville AND in Quartier d’Ardon, 8am-1.30pm

 

Beauvais

Wednesday, All day, Market hall

Saturday, All day, Market hall

 

Amiens

Tuesday Morning 30 stalls, Place Gorlitz

Wednesday All day Place Maurice Vast
Wednesday Morning 15 stalls, Place Edouard Branly

Friday Afternoon 30 stalls, Place Gorlitz
Friday Morning 10 stalls, Place du Colvert
Friday Morning 15 stalls, Place Edouard Branly

Saturday Morning 30 Stalls, Etouvie Place Pays d’Auge
Saturday Morning Place Parmentier, 40 stalls


Sunday Morning 170 stalls. Place du Colvert

More markets at: http://www.frenchmarketdays.com/

 

 

 

The Gastronomy of Picardie


The food

The Picardy food and gastronomy perfectly exemplifies the French convivial way of life! This northern region of France boasts country dishes like duck paté from Amiens, leek pie called flamiche (see recipe below)...

flam

...shellfish from the Somme Bay, including cockles, prawns, soles and eels and finally ficelle picarde (pancakes).

ficelle

It besides offers delicious local fresh vegetables such as the white beans from Soissons.

The typical "chantilly" whipped cream from the town of Chantilly and the delicious gâteau battu are some other culinary jewels of the Picardy gastronomy.


The Drink

The traditional drink of the region is the cider, especially the pear cider from Bray.
Picardy is also famous for Champagne with its 2 000 ha of vineyards in Aisne. (Pinot Meunier)
Other alcohols are drunk in Picardy countrysides, including the "grénette" (oak leaf), the "flipe" (sugar, apple and honey)and the "hydromel" (honey).

 

The Cheeses

Maroilles (cheese from the Thiérache)

Rollot, round or heart-shaped is a soft cheese with a washed rind.

Bray, a Picardian straw Tomme cheese.

Boulette, cheese from Avesnes .

 

 

Recette de la Flamiche
Picardian Flamiche Recipe


Ingredients (serve 10)

- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra

- 1 batch white dough, rested for 1 hour

- 2 large leeks, white and pale-green part only, finely sliced on a diagonal

- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

- 3 medium eggs

- 250g full-fat crème fraîche

- Salt and pepper

- 1 whole nutmeg

- 50g gruyère, grated

Preparation

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20 min

flammm

 

* Lightly oil a large oven tray (about 40cm by 34cm) and gently tip the dough into the centre using the round edge of your scraper. Use your fingertips to prod and flatten the dough so it spreads to fit the tray, being careful not to stretch it. Push the dough up at the edges so it forms a rim for the filling.

* Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the leeks and onions and stir-fry gently for about 10 minutes until starting to colour. Lightly mix together the eggs and crème fraîche, season generously and grate in about ¼ of a nutmeg. Add the leeks and onions. Spread into the centre of the dough, making sure it doesn’t break the banks. Scatter the gruyère over the top.

* Put in the hot oven, then turn down the heat to 230C/450F/Gas Mark 8 and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and starting to catch on top. Rotate it in the oven after 10 minutes if it isn’t browning evenly. Once cooked, allow it to cool. Eat warm or at room temperature.

 

 

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Catherine Castelain
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Date Last Modified: 4/3/15
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