Less than two hours from the major cities of Northern Europe is the department of the Somme. The department is world-famous for the Somme River, classified as a Grand Site of France and a member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World, and its battlefields from the Great War.
The very wide opening towards the English Channel offers exceptional landscapes in perpetual movement, depending on the tides and seasons. Somme River is one of France's major migratory passage sites and is home to a large colony of sea calf seals and salt meadow lamb. Many activities allow you to fully enjoy the landscapes such as sand yacht, kayak, Polynesian canoe, bike, hiking, and horseback riding.
From its mouth, follow the tranquil Somme River and continue onto Amiens for a cultural and festive break: the cathedral, one of the most important Gothic churches, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the summer and December, at nightfall, the show "CHROMA" brings Notre-Dame d'Amiens Cathedral to life. At the foot of the cathedral, stand the small houses of the medieval district of Saint-Leu, built on the waterfront, which today house bars, restaurants and antique dealers. In the heart of the city, discover by boat the 300 hectares of floating gardens that make up the Hortillonnages (floating garden).
The Eastern part of the department is celebrating the centenary of the Great War. The Battle of the Somme in 1916 was of considerable magnitude, in terms of the number of nationalities involved, number of casualties, missing or wounded and the traces it left in the ground: trenches, mine holes, destroyed vegetation, razed villages, etc. The Remembrance Route, a route linking the two cities that symbolized the Great War, Albert and Péronne, allows you to discover and understand this period of international history.
Many Canadians left their country to take part in the horrendous battle in Somme: the memorials of Le Quesnel, Gueudecourt or Courcelette, but also the very emblematic Newfoundland memorial of Beaumont-Hamel, recall the passage of these many soldiers who came to defend freedom.
This November 11th 2018 marks the Centenary of the Armistice and is the occasion for vibrant ceremonies and commemorations throughout Somme, including at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial to pay tribute to the soldiers of all nations who took part during the Great War. Canadians should know that every July 1st and 11th of November, the Somme hosts commemorations to remember our heroes.