France,  Destinations,  Europe,  Travel Diary

A long weekend in Amiens, France: Jules Verne’s final residence

Amiens is a small-ish city of 132,000 people located about 75 miles north of Paris. It’s famous for a few things, including having the largest gothic cathedral in the country and for being the death place of science fiction author Jules Verne. It’s also the birthplace of the current French president, Emmanuel Macron.

If you’re staying in Paris, you could take a day trip up to Amiens and do a bit of sightseeing. It’s a charming city, and if you’re into scifi or classic French authors then you’ll probably want to see Jules Verne’s grave and the museum in his former house. Taking the train from Paris Nord, you can reach Amiens in 1 hour 20 minutes.

I came to Amiens after a week-long cruise and didn’t want to rush anything, so I stayed for 4 nights in Amiens. Bonus: it’s cheaper than a stay in Paris!

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Where I stayed: Neoresid – Residence Saint Germain

I stayed 4 nights at this aparthotel, which turned out to be student dorms that they also rented to the public. It wasn’t a school holiday (as far as I could tell), so they must either have empty rooms they decided to rent OR they just keep a portion for the public year-round. Either way, it was a nice enough place with a small kitchen, a big-ish bed and a terrifying bathroom with the smallest shower stall I’ve ever seen.

Here’s a video I took of the interior:

Looking for more reviews on places to stay while traveling in France? I went to quite a few AirBNBs and other short-term rentals during my 2+ months there. Check out my recommended accommodations list here.

Jules Verne

Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905, and the city capitalizes that for its tourism. Some of it is actually pretty sweet, such as a series of Jules Verne statues around town:

There’s a Jules Verne museum housed in the building he used to live in (Maison de Jules Verne) which of course was closed when I visited because that always seems to be my luck. I did go and look at the outside, though:

The exterior of Jules Verne’s former residence, now a museum.
Jules Verne’s former house.

You can also stop by his grave in the cemetery, which has an amazing tombstone with a sculpture (“Towards Immortality and Eternal Youth”) by Albert Roze, who had known Verne since the 1890s. It depicts Verne lifting his own grave and reaching up towards the sky. The structure behind it was designed by architect Edmond Douillet.

La Madeleine Cemetery

If you’ve never visited a French cemetery, I highly recommend it. They have some amazing tombstones, and many of them have little houses (vaults) which mimic the Gothic architecture in cathedrals.

There’s Jules Verne’s grave, of course, but also a selection of other famous French people and some really great vault designs.

Bonus: There were no other tourists either at Verne’s grave or anywhere else in the cemetery, really. If you crave some space after the hustle of Paris’ Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, come here!

Amiens Street Art

Amiens has a wonderful street art intiative, which when I was there was fairly new. There’s actually a proper map you can follow to see all the art, but I just wandered around and saw quite a bit on my own. Not only murals, but also yarn bombing and fabric sculptures as well. My only complaint is that often the pieces were blocked by cars or other buildings, which made getting clear photos VERY difficult.

There’s also tons of “unofficial” graffiti and street art all over the place! I adore street art, especially tile work, and I found quite a few good pieces when I was in Amiens. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorites (click to enlarge):

Notre Dame d’Amiens

This is the largest Gothic cathedral in France, and it is indeed huge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t muster up the energy to actually go inside as by this point in my travels I was 200% cathedral-d out, but the outside made for very nice photos, especially during sunset. The square outside of the Cathedral was always busy, sometimes with events, and the cobblestone made rolling my suitcase from the train station to my hotel (and back) a horror.

Amiens Photo Gallery

There’s a lot of cute things to see in Amiens that I could’ve fit under a specific header, so here’s the rest of my favorite photos showcasing some of the good stuff:

Is Amiens worth visiting?

I think it’s a charming place with tons of great public art (official and otherwise), plus I really like the Jules Verne stuff. Also, the small alleyways and canals, plus the interesting old houses, meant it was really fun walking around town. While not necessarily big enough to need more than a day, or a day and a half, I definitely think it’d be worth coming up to Amiens for a weekend or overnight trip.

Europe 2022 Travel Diaries

Journal date: October 7-11, 2022

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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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