Picardy is a region with many fine cathedrals. History and heritage enthusiasts have to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame at Amiens, a jewel of Gothic architecture. It was built in a remarkably short time (between 1220 and 1288) which gives it great unity of style : its proportions are harmonious, its lines are pure, its statues are particularly plentiful and as fine as filigree lace. It is the largest Gothic building ever constructed (it is big enough to contain 2 cathedrals of Notre Dame de Paris) and is a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We recommend you take a guided tour so as not to miss anything of the history of this grand old lady. The knowledgeable guides share historical secrets and explain everything in detail from statues to stained glass windows, from choir stalls to labyrinth. Stop to visit the Treasury which houses marvellous pieces of medieval gold and silver ware including reliquaries and other sacred objects.
Colourisation of Amiens Cathedral
The absolute must see at the cathedral is the son-et-lumière show at nightfall : Chroma ! In 2000, when the cathedral was cleaned using laser technology, a revolutionary technique was used to make faint traces of the medieval polychrome reappear, proving that cathedral buildings had been painted in the Middle Ages. It was even suggested that the cathedral should be repainted but finally a more reasonable alternative was found and a light show colouring the portals of the west front was unveiled to the public. At the time it was the first colourisation light show on a cathedral.
In 2017, the show was entirely renewed, still using colour as the underlying theme, but also inspired by its grand, Gothic architectural features. The history of woad and textiles in the Middle Ages which contributed to the wealth of the town, verticality and lightness, stained glass windows, rose windows and the labyrinth became part of the performance. The show is original, unprecedented and contemporary, orchestrated by Société Spectre Lab and Start-Rec for the soundtrack. The show takes place every evening in front of the cathedral from mid-June to mid-September and in December during the Christmas Market.
What I love doing is to climb the 307 steps to the top of the towers and admire the 360 ° view over the city of Amiens.