Amiens is located in the north of France, between Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Paris. It belongs to the Somme department and to the Picardy region, and is the administrative centre of both of them. With 135,100 inhabitants, called the Amiénois, the city is the 29th in the French ranking and the largest one of the region.
Amiens is a beautiful city full of history which especially stands out for one monument: its Gothic cathedral which is said to be the vastest in the world! Its past has been marked by many wars; indeed, many people tried to invade the city, such as the French Kingdom, England, Spain, etc. After having a special status of independent city, Amiens was finally annexed to France by Henry IV in 1597 after the Spanish invasion.
During the 19th century the city developed and prospered thanks to its flourishing industries. Defensive ramparts were removed and replaced by large boulevards, the library and other cultural buildings were built. Amiens was badly affected by both WWI and WWII. It was indeed destroyed by 60% after WWII. As a result the city was renovated according to the town planner Pierre Dufau’s plans. The main idea was to create large avenues and hence to facilitate traffic.
Today, Amiens is a lively and dynamic city. Its population is young thanks to the University of Picardy, and owing to the label “country and city of art and history”, it attracts many tourists. You will appreciate the beauty of the city as much during day time, as night time, thanks to the beautiful work of illumination.
In 2009 in France a house is sold €3,197/sq m on average. Given the fact that in Amiens a property is sold €2,383 /sq m, we can say that the city is fairly affordable. If we compare the city to its department, Somme (€2,472 /sq m) we realize that Amiens is cheaper than the departmental average. This can be surprising when we know that Amiens is the capital city of the region, and also the largest city; however it is also understandable as Somme gathers some very touristic places along its beautiful bays, where prices are rather high.
As regards the rental market, Amiens offers very good opportunities, as 61% of its residents are tenants, and as rental prices are rather high (€14.47 /sq m /month, while the national average is €12.20 /sq m /month). High demand and high prices are the two key factors to ensure a high return on investment.
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Culture, art and historical heritage: in addition to its amazing architectural heritage (see below), Amiens is also an important cultural and art centre. as far as culture is concerned, many festivals are organized in the city: International Film festival, international jazz festival, comics festival, and of course the Amiens festival characterized by streets arts. Amiens also displays some interesting museums: Picardy museum, Jules Verne’s house, Contemporary art museum, etc. Not to mention many theatres and concert halls.
Tourism – sights: owing to its location and assets, Amiens is a very touristic place. People usually visit the Somme Bay and Amiens during the same trip. In the frame of the Art and History City, Amiens organizes some guided tours around the city, moreover you will find panels and explanations of the most important monuments everywhere in town. The most visited and interesting monuments are: the cathedral, the city centre, Jules Verne’s house, Perret Tower, Picardy Museum, and Saint-Lieu and Saint-Maurice quarters.
Architectural style: Amiens architectural heritage is so rich that it would be endless to mention everything here. However, let’s have a quick look at what is on offer in this beautiful city. The main architectural style is the Gothic one and the best example is from far the Notre Dame d’Amiens cathedral. It is one of the most beautiful French cathedrals and also the largest Gothic cathedral in the world (200,000 cubic metre, twice as vast as Notre Dame de Paris)! The Beffroi is another incontrovertible monument in Amiens. This kind of tower used to symbolize the independence of the city and houses a bell at the top which knolls every hour. Two other important monuments are the municipal circus and the Perret tower. But Amiens also stands out for the diversity of its architecture. Indeed, all kinds of style are present in the city, from Gothic to medieval, including Renaissance, Antiquity and Modern architecture. Architecture and History lovers will definitely be under the charm of the city.
Cosmopolitan life: as already mentioned, Amiens population is young owing to its universities. It is indeed the largest university centre of the region. Having universities in a city brings many positive aspects; in addition to bring young population to the city, it also brings high demand in dwellings, demand in activities, in shops and in night events. If you like cosmopolitan and buzzing life then Amiens is for you.
Parks and gardens: Amiens is also a flowered city, with 3 flowers (out of 4) awarded at the Flowered towns and villages. It gathers many parks and gardens, such as: Saint-Pierre Park (which was awarded the Landscape Prize in 2005), Plants garden, Clos Alexandre, archaeological garden, etc. Near the city centre there are also some laid out marsh where you can relax on a craft or have a little walk within the garden.
Location – transport links: Amiens has a strategic location, between Paris, Lille and Bruxelles. In addition to attract tourists who are visiting the whole area, it has also enabled the city to develop its infrastructures, above all a far as transport is concerned. Two motorways arrive in Amiens, the A16 and A29, as well as many national roads (1, 25, 29, 35). There are also two railway stations linking Amiens to Paris and the other large French cities.
Amiénoise houses: this is the traditional house of Amiens suburbs. It is made in bricks and is two storey high. On the ground floor there is only one window while on the first floor there are two double windows. This house is very narrow but very deep and comes with a small piece of garden.
Half-timbered houses: in the lower part of the city, half timbered houses are the dominant style. However, they are often a mix between stone houses and timber frame. Especially big mansions would mainly use stone, with a timber structure to decorate the facade.
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