The delightful area of the Somme in the Picardie region of Northern France includes a host of charming towns, pretty scenery, riverside strolls and some sad reminders of the battles fought here in World War I. The scenic coastline has cliffs, dunes and marshes and is a haven for wildlife. The area of the Somme is ideal as a base from which to explore the area by car or on foot. Most provisions can be found in the small towns and villages which all have a boulangerie and coffee bars which also serve beer, wine and food. The local delicacies are smoked eels and Peronne beer.
The Somme Valley is ideal for walking, cycling and fishing along the pretty banks of this scenic river, close to your Somme holiday rental. The area is also ideal for exploring by car around the small villages and ancient farms.
The Parc Ornithologique de Marquenterre is a nearby bird sanctuary surrounded by beautiful dunes, pine forests and salt marshes which are all ideal habitats for bird-watching.
Those interested in tracing family history and the graves dating back to World War 1 will find plenty of history in Picardy at Peronne. The Historial del la Grande Guerre Museum is a good starting point, with many battlefields, cemeteries and memorials in the area.
Amiens is the capital of the region and boasts an impressive Gothic Cathedral and some fine stone churches. The huge Cathedral was actually built from the profits of a local plant called "woad" which was valuable for its blue dye. The medieval quarter, St-Leu, is a delightful place to wander on foot with many waterside cottages, restaurants and bars.
The home of novelist Jules Verne can also be visited in Amiens. This is where he wrote many of his finest works between 1882 and 1900. The exhibition includes some early editions of his novels, sci-fi models and maps from which he created his magical voyages.
St Valery has a superbly maintained historic district and just to the east of the new town centre are the ruins of the old town walls and the prison, which reputedly once held Joan of Arc. There is an interesting 18th century hospital, the old church of St Martin and some charming architecture to be admired in the local buildings.
The Somme is a great area to choose for a self-catering holiday rental as it enjoys mild winters and pleasant summers. Average daily highs in the summer reach 71°F (22°C) but it can be showery in all seasons.
The nearest airport to your Somme holiday rental will be the Paris - Charles de Gaulle (CDG) International Airport which is approximately 70 miles (115km) from Amiens in the Somme.
For those preferring to drive from the UK, take the Channel Tunnel to Calais and follow the A26 to Arras and then the A1 in the direction of Paris. Leave the motorway at Exit 14, Bapaume and head for the Somme.