Amiens France: Somme, Mimolette Cheese, Jules Verne, Cathedral and Pilfered Bordeaux

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.

EU Map New York To Amiens Day 183Our bus slaloms to our house-stay at the edge of town. Our young hosts provide a cozy, clean, petite place to stay. The highlight includes a rabbit, well, more like a warm fluff ball:

Tracy Amiens BunnyAfter 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:19th Century Clock AmiensThe 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.

Amiens CathedralWe discover battlements with a hospital built into them. Wild rabbits shuffle in and out of snowy hovels.  I steal a bottle of Bordeaux left in a parking lot.

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.

Julien Planchon Cheese AmiensWe 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…

Monestary Atrium Amiens

Finally, Amiens Cathedral is open:

Amiens Cathedral GateIt 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:

St John Baptist Narrative AmiensEven more fantastic is the Labyrinth, meant for on the knees penance for those incapable of pilgrimage.
Amiens Cathedral LabyrinthOutside, an ebuliant Mary and child look out:

Mary Child Amiens CathedralEnough of the past. Let us visit the future… of the past.

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:

Jules Verne House AmiensInside are many small rooms recreating Verne’s worlds (a ship captain’s room?), inspiration, and the media rebirth (many, many board games, movie reals, and posters), along with personal effects.

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.





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