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Guide to Somme
The Somme (department number 80) is located in the region of Picardie. Located in the north of France, The Somme offers unspoilt coastlines, easy access from Calais and of course poignant historic battlefields to visit.
The Somme in Brief
The department is named after the Somme River. In 1999 there was an estimated population of 555,551. The capital of the department and the region is the city of Amiens. The other large towns of the region are Abbeville, Montdidier and Péronne.
The department was the site of many great battles in World War 1, including one of the largest and bloodiest battles in history. Today, numerous cemeteries and monuments can be seen, paying tribute to those who lost their lives.
Please see our in depth guide to the Somme below and you can also see our current selection of holiday rentals in the Somme.
Why you should visit Somme for your next holiday in France
The Somme Coast is the most unspoilt stretch of coastline in the whole of France. Due to little development, the coastline has kept all its original beauty, immense and changing. The area is also renowned for its lively restaurants, bars and craft shops.
The Somme is a haven for anyone who likes fishing and water sports, cycling and riding. The department also boasts a number of leisure parks and some of the best golf courses in France.
The weather in Somme is much like the south of England, which it is very close to; windy, cool winters, and mild summers with a regular rainfall.
The Somme also offers some distinctive products such as eel and a specialty of the area, the pré salé (ready salted) lamb from the salt-flats.
What to see in Somme
Considered to be the capital of the area, Amiens is located about 120km north of Paris and is home the tallest ‘classic’ Gothic church and the largest of its kind in France. After the original cathedral was destroyed in a fire, the rebuild of the cathedral was completed in 1247. Situated to the north of the cathedral is ancient quarter of St Lieu and is well worth a visit.
The city is extremely charming and a pleasant place to visit, bursting with history and magnificent architecture. In addition to several very interesting museums, there are some great restaurants to enjoy.
Amiens was the setting for much of the wartime novel ‘Birdsong’, written by Sebastian Faulks and the city has its own football team in the second highest league in France. Jules Verne lived in Amiens and you can take a horse drawn carriage tour round the town.
This delightful town lies at the end of the Somme River that’s leads to the mouth of the English Channel. At this point, the river is about 20km wide.
A large majority of the town was rebuilt after it was severely bombed in the Second World War. Amongst its modern appearance a few original attractions remain including Gothic style St. Vulfran's church, erected in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Market days are Thursday and Saturday.
This lovely town is located about 100km north of Paris and has many Gothic style buildings of interest including the église du Saint-Sépulcre. Other interesting sites include église Saint-Pierre and the Hotel du Ville.
The town is situated on the estuary of the river Somme, some 10 miles northwest of Abbeville.
Today, it is a lively seaside resort with a delightful south facing beach, which is undoubtedly one of its main assets. It also benefits from the proximity of Marquentera, an area of natural beauty, with its lakes, marshes and a rich flora and fauna.
A couple of interesting sites include the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme, a preserved railway and of course Le port and town of Crotoy. Joan of Arc was once imprisoned in Le Crotoy.
Doullens is a town in the Department of the Somme, approximately 30 kilometres north of Amiens on the N25 road to Arras. The town was once a seat of a viscountship and was an important stronghold in the Middle Ages.
There are several attractions in the town including the ruins of Saint-Pierre, the 13th century church, the Notre-Dame church, the 17th century belfry and the Citadel, built by Vauban.
To the northeast of the department lie Albert and Péronne, with their many war graves and monuments including the imposing Sir Edwin Luytens’ great memorial at Thiepval.
How to get there
Easily accessible for a holiday, the heart of the Somme Valley is less than an hour's drive from Calais on the A16.
There are excellent connections by plane – Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport, a 20 minute drive from southern Picardy or 90 minutes to Amiens. Alternatively, Paris Beauvais-Tillé Airport in the Oise department takes about 42 minutes to Amiens. Both airports are served by low cost airlines.
Take the Ferry to Calais or Eurotunnel then a drive to the capital of the region, Amiens, will take about 90 minutes and is approximately 150km.
There are excellent local network with frequent connections to Calais, Paris etc. Eurostar: London to Paris Gare du Nord in 3 hours with frequent daily departures.
TGV railway station TGV Haute Picardie has daily departures from London to Amiens via Calais and Lille.
Calais to Amiens takes 1hr 42 minutes and Paris to Amiens takes 1 hr 6 minutes.
Average temperature and rainfall for Somme
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