Northern France _ Amiens _ Museum of Picardy © CRTC Hauts-de-France – Anne Sophie FlamentNorthern France _ Amiens _ Museum of Picardy © CRTC Hauts-de-France – Anne Sophie Flament
©Northern France, Amiens, Museum of Picardy |Hauts-de-France Tourisme – Anne Sophie Flament

Amiens: the Musée de Picardie will make you happy

Filled with colour and light and with gardens that open onto the city, the Musée de Picardie is a true gem that shouldn’t be missed by any visitor to Amiens – after all, it inspired all French museums of the 19th century!

‘The Musée de Picardie has an atmosphere all of its own. The first object of the collection is the building itself – an inexhaustible source of discoveries, and a fascinating, enchanting space’, says Laure Dalon, the museum’s director… Let’s follow this exceptional guide on a walk through the museum’s beautiful spaces and exhibits.

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01. A museum designed to engage you

The museum was inspired by people and the need to hold their attention, from its entrance via a large square on Rue Puvis de Chavannes to its intimate garden on the other side. Indeed, as soon as you enter, you’ll be inside a spacious, luminous contemporary space where you’ll find everything you need to plan out your visit.

La Rotonde by internationally renowned artist Sol Lewit always impresses with its explosion of bold colours (yellow, blue, red, green) that are well suited to the geometric shapes. It also provides a fitting introduction to the venue by confirming that you’re in a happy, zen, relaxed museum.

La Chapelle with its spectacular decor a little further along the ground floor is now your space – a Salon des Visiteurs designe for rest, meetings, exchanges and even board games. There, in the heart of the sanctuary and the nave with its ribbed vaults, you can enjoy a complimentary tea or coffee especially created for the museum by the Amiens roaster Dasi & Georges Cannon.

But the most user-friendly aspect of this museum is that the artworks are hung at human height, so you don’t need to stretch your neck. You approach a work face to face – ideal for deep contemplation.

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02. Colours uncovered for your pleasure and unrivalled atmosphere



The first floor was overhauled to bring out the original intensity of the blues, red and dark greys of its walls, painted furnishings, gleaming wooden floors and marquetry in the Salon de l’Impératrice. The architects Catherine Frenak and Béatrice Jullien aimed not to bring back the museum of 1867 but to share its subtle design. The skylights and high windows bathe you in natural light as well as offering lovely glimpses of the city. Drawn by the floral or geometric patterns of the vaults, your eyes will travel along a gilded trellis that inspires new aesthetic musings.

The white sculptures of the Salon de l’Empereur stand out against the rotonda, seeming to lean towards you and even speak to you!

‘The impression of colours generated by ours brains depends on the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum reflected by an object. Colour is the result of interaction between the light, an object and the observer’s eye. Each of them sends us its vibrations, influencing our mood, our wellbeing and our behaviour. Colour floods into us and fascinates us.’

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03. A meditative tour of the gardens

The museum has an intimate garden to which the Alfred Manessier rose was reintroduced and a rooftop garden on top of the the Pavillon Maignan, inspired by the region’s forest undergrowth. In is courtyard splashed with exotic colours, bushes, ferns and flowers come together in a contemporary take on 19th-century garden design.

Don’t forget to say hi to the griffins on top of the fountain.

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04. Sail away…

Is the seaside your favourite place? Then let your imagination wander as you contemplate Les Parisiens Au Bord de la Mer by Maurice Denis, inspired by sea-bathers in Brittany at the end of the 19th century. The work looks like a fresco, solid but with delicate touches that allow you to make out the artist’s handiwork.

Let the rhythms of the colours lead your eyes from the family in the foreground of the painting to the barges on the water and the distant coast with its lighthouse.


‘Remember that a painting, before it becomes a war horse, a naked woman or any other subject is essentially a flat surface covered in colours assembled in a certain order,’ said Maurice Denis.

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05. Fragonard: a moving scene of family intimacy

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Le Berceau (The Cradle) – one of his most famous works – exudes tenderness in its depiction of a moment of family intimacy filled with emotion that can’t fail to touch you. The artist’s lively brushwork combined with the use of chiaroscuro and warm tones adds spontaneity to this scene of family togetherness. It’s a work that reconnects you with life!

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