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'The Pick of Picardy... with Euroculture'

School Trips to Picardy, Northern France

Picardy and the Somme

Sandwiched between Paris and the Nord Pas-de-Calais region, Picardy stretches from the Channel coast just south of Boulogne towards the outskirts of Paris to the South and borders Belgium and Champagne region to the east. Being so close to the Channel Ports, this largely rural area can provide schools with a taste of real France without too much travel time and still offers Paris and Belgium as possible day trips.

There is much to see and do in and around Picardy. Many schools will obviously find the Somme area unmissable for its association with the First World War and we have a special feature on this elsewhere on the website. So, on this page, we will deal with the many other facets of the area.

Moving inland from the fishing villages, unspoilt beaches and cliffs of the Bay of Somme on the coast, the landscape becomes a mixture of fields, valleys and forests. It's towns are notable for their Gothic architecture with six imposing cathedrals (Amiens, Beauvais, Laon, Senlis, Noyon and Soissons) and numerous churches and abbeys.

On the banks of the River Somme, Amiens is a charming Medieval city noted for France’s largest Gothic Cathedral - Nôtre Dame. This imposing UNESCO World Heritage Site could actually fit its Paris name-sake within itself twice over! Boat trips along the labyrinth of canals offer a different view of the attractive Saint-Leu district and are a very pleasant way of spending an afternoon.

The town of Compiegne is most widely known as the location chosen for the signing of the Armistice in November 1918, and there is plenty more to make a visit there even more worthwhile. Surrounded by the Compiegne Forest, the town features many parks and historic buildings including the Town Hall, the ramparts, the Imperial Palace as well as the poignant memorial centres reflecting on the Nazi Deportations and Internments of the Second World War.

Heading closer to the Champagne region, Chantilly is perhaps best known for its splendid Chateau, but it is also renowned for it's lace tradition, horse-racing and the Chantilly Cream that bears its name.

Picardy's privileged position affords easy access to Paris for schools eager to experience the French capital for a day. Other major towns such as Arras, Lille and Reims are also close by and are popular destinations.

Attractions in and around Picardy

Amiens Christmas Market More than 120 wooden chalets spread over 2kms of the centre with traders offering all sorts of tantalising treats and seasonal goods from all over France and beyond. The children will no doubt want to make a dash for the Ice Rink in the middle of Place Gambetta, whilst Carousels and other fairground-style activities lend to the real sense of festive fun, leaving visitors in no doubt that Christmas is just around the corner!

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Circuit of Remembrance Setting off from L'Historial de la Grande Guerre, this circular coach tour takes in the towns of Albert and Peronne as well as passing by the Ulster Tower, the Thiepval Monument and Visitor Centre, the Lochnagar Crater and several other significant sites remembering the role of the Commonwealth Nations during the Great War.

Cité souterraine de Naours Rediscovered at the end of the 19th century, these remarkable caves were carved out of the Picardy landscape to provide shelter and protection for the locals in difficult times throughout a harsh history. The underground city can house approximately 2,600 people along with their livestock, crops and supplies. There are around 300 chambers, public squares, stables, wells, chimneys, and even a chapel. They have been host to British forces during the First World War - their grafitti still visible - and were also used as the headquarters of the German forces during WW2.

Compiègne At the Armistice Museum, it is possible to visit a replica of the actual railway carriage that was used as the makeshift venue for this momentous occasion. The original coach was destroyed in Germany during the latter stages of the Second World War, but some remnants are also displayed. The same site - and carriage - was used by Hitler for the signing of the Second Armistice in 1940 formalising the Nazi occupation of France in the early stages of WW2.

Parc Asterix 25 years old in 2014, the Parc Asterix is popular theme park in the Greater Paris area named after the famous French cartoon character. The park has a distinct Gallic flavour with 35 attractions and rides set in six different themed 'Worlds'.

Arras The local attractions include the medieval tunnel network, the Belfry, the Abbey Quarter and the Fine Art Museum. Arras is also home to the Wellington Quarry, the fascinating new visitor attraction telling the story of subterranean life for the thousands of British soldiers who lived in former underground quarries which were adapted for strategic purposes in 1916.

Cambrai Occupied by the Germans for much of the Great War, the town of Cambrai was the site of two major battles in the later stages of the conflict, notable for the first use of Tanks. An original British Mark IV Tank built in Lincoln, can today be seen in the nearby village of Flesquières. Also in the area, groups can visit the Maison Owen, a 2011 memorial to the British War Poet Wilfred Owen, who wrote his last letter home from his base at the Forester's House here in 1917.

Lille In the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille boasts the largest museum in France after the Louvre with an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures. You can visit Charles de Gaulle's and the Christmas Market installed from late November is very popular with UK school groups. There is a Zoo nestled by the Napoleonic Citadel fortress and an attractive and bustling old town.

Our Centres in and around Picardy

Euroculture is pleased to present four residential centres in and around Picardy.



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