We started out early this morning leaving Paris on a day trip to the city of Amiens. Mark’s family on his mom’s paternal side was traced back to this city by cousin Marie.
Mark’s ancestors lived on a short street called Rue de Noyon. Ironically, the first street you walk onto when leaving the train station is Noyon. The original homes may have been destroyed when a WWI battle was fought in the city. In any event, here is what the neighborhood looks like today:
We walked down Noyon, which is a pedestrian only shopping mall toward the historic city center. Amiens has miles of pedestrian only roads in its downtown. It is very clean and seems to be thriving as we saw hundreds of small shops and only one vacant business during our whole day here.
The vacant business was a chocolates store named “diot.” Lesson learned here…never use diet and chocolate together. Ever.
The old cemetary where our ancestor is burried is long forgotten by most and is now under this city park
In short order the cathedral of Notre Dame came into view. Amiens’ Cathedral of Notre Dame is the largest church in France. In fact, Paris’ church of the same name could fit inside this church twice! It was originally constructed in 1220. My ancestor, a expert wood craftsman and carpenter, was baptised here and is said to have worked on the wooden choir area later in his life. Here are some photos of the church:
Unreal detail on the front of the church
Amazing detailed on the very very very tall stained glass windows
This is the wooden choir area that my ancestor apparently had a part in building.
Other than St. Peter’s this is the biggest church we have been in. It is so big, we actually saw a local kid skateboarding through it. No joke.
You may be wondering how a church in a small town in the French countryside comes about to being built so enormous. Well, if you have the front portion of John the Baptist’s skull here on display – pilgrims will come. As a result, this church is on a major French compostela pilgrimage route which pilgrims traveled through on the way to Santiago, Spain. John, like his brother James was beheaded as a result of his belief in Jesus Christ. There are many depictions of John’s fate in the church.
This little crying angel leaning on John’s noggin is famous
Please do not try this at home.
Back to city sights…Amiens is called the Venice of France because of its many waterways criss crossing the historic city center.
Waterways everywhere. They were used in the past to turn water wheels on mills.
Today the water makes this a really neat town.
That’s all from Amiens. Tomorrow it is off to Normandy.