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Les Hortillonnages, The Floating Gardens of Amiens

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

Les Hortillonnages – floating gardens and farms – are a maze of canals and man-made land plots located in the marshland not too far from the city center of Amiens. Even though I had done a bit of reading about them online, I wasn’t sure what to expect when we took Chelsea and Mike there last week.

More from our time in Amiens: Cathédrale d’AmiensLa Cathédrale en Couleurs / Bienvenue à AmiensLa Grande Rederie

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

While each plot of “land” is individually owned and maintained, the association created to protect these little gardens runs 45-minute boat tours through the canals for visitors. They’re only open to the public between 2 PM and 5 PM, so we arrived around right after opening to make sure we wouldn’t miss the boat.

It turns out there’s a bunch of boats, and lots of people who want to see Les Hortillonnages, so we waited in line and got tickets for the 3:30 tour.

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

After spending our wait at a cafe down the street, we boarded the boat ready to see whatever it was we were going to see. The tour guide only narrated in French, but thankfully we had Marc there to translate for us.

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

The boat took us past plot after plot of these tiny little yards/gardens/farms. Each was a little different, but most of them had some sort of small little cabin or shelter – with no electricity, according to our tour guide.

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

Some looked more like they were used for family “camping” trips with bonfires going and picnic tables, and others looks like more serious farms with crops all lined up in a row.

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

There were tons of animals – ducks, swans, birds and even a barking guard dog that looked like he was about to jump into the water after our boat.

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a SuitcaseFloating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

Some of the gardens were close together, and some were more secluded than others. Each had its own unique purpose and feel.

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a SuitcaseFloating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a SuitcaseFloating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

The canals seemed to go on forever – just hiding in the shadows of the city. You could see Tour Perret and the cathedral depending on where you were on the tour.

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

Eventually, we came upon some gardens that had the luxury of electricity. These had a bit more land and seemed to be more focused on actually farming rather than the more family oriented plots we had seen before. There was even restaurant/cafe that was perfectly accessible by both water or land.

Floating Farms & Gardens, Les Hortillonnages, Amiens, France | Love in a Suitcase

The tour looped around and we ended up back where we had started.

Les Hortillonages

54 Boulevard de Beauville
80000 Amiens, France

Open April 1 – October 31

 

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  • Reply
    Kayla Sorley
    October 1, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Lovely Melissa, is this in the parc St.Pierre??

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      October 2, 2014 at 8:05 am

      I don’t think so, but it might be close. I did see a large park nearby when we were waiting in line. It’s really close to Tour Perret. Have you been to parc St. Pierre?

  • Reply
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