Wayward Wine leaves Lille for Amiens. This is industrial Northern France, where your le Creuset pots come from. Soon our public transport crawl will reach Champagne. But for today we explore this snow-bound spot.
After a warm night, we layer our travel-tired clothes to crunch through Amiens. Aside from the stolid train station, the town fills with quaint, very French apartments and this fabulously unnecessary clock:The town is asleep, everything is closed, so we cross the river Somme (yes, that Somme, of the infamous battle), with the Cathedral looming over all.
Climbing back into town we find an outstanding indoor market: Halles du Beffroi. We find a long line at the end of the hall. We stand in it, cold, famished and wait a half hour…for Julian Planchon’s fantastic cheese.
We go local and get their native cheese: mimolette. Magic orange rondles with various ages glow in the cool box. Chunked off with a credit card into a baguette, this nutty, hard cheese is salty magic. Madness, the US banned it because it is made with mites. Whatever, mimolette is delicious.
We check out an abandoned medieval monastery atrium…
Finally, Amiens Cathedral is open:
It is the tallest (138 feet inside) and most spacious (260,000 cubic yards) in France. It also served as a hospital for those wounded at the Battle of the Somme. We planned to visit the battlefield, but snow halted buses. Inside, WWI memorials litter the Cathedral, giving it a strangely secular, warlike tone. More impressive are the deep reliefs depicting St John the Baptist:
Back a mere 86 days into our trip, yes 100 days ago, we visited Nantes: birthplace of Jules Verne (reread here). So, let us visit his last home:
Snow dumps all night. We share our pilfered Bordeaux with our guests. I pet the cats. Allergic wife pets the rabbit.
We wake to buses still shuttered. Our kindly guests drive us to the train station in their BMW. We then spend hours waiting for the only train. We freeze outside, hugging to pillars to avoid wind chill. But this train is taking us to Reims, Champagne.