Picardie is a former administrative region.
It is now part of Hauts de France, the newly adopted name of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region.
This region is one of the 13 new regions created by the territorial reform that took place on January 1, 2016.
Part of the historic region of Picardie gave birth to the former administrative region of Picardie.
It consists of 3 departments:
Aisne (02 – Laon), Oise (60 – Beauvais) and Somme (80 – Amiens).
Amiens is the administrative centre or préfecture.
The other main cities are Abbeville and Saint-Quentin.
Picardie’s geographical location has always turned it an ideal invasion route.
Indeed, it was there that the French and English fought at the Battle of Crécy-en-Ponthieu in 1346.
Picardie was also in the heart of the deadly offensives of the Western front during WWI.
It became a battlefield once more during WWII.
The region has therefore countless sites of remembrance such as battlefields kept in their war state, war memorials and cemeteries.
This generates a very active historic tourism.
People indeed flock from all over the world in order to pay their respect to some distant ancestor, who fought and often died there during one of these two conflicts.
Farming and Nature reserves
Chalk makes up most of the region’s soil, which is interspersed with small valleys.
Three main valleys traverse the department of the Aisne, the valleys of the Marne, Aisne and Vesle.
Picardie has an oceanic climate with mild winters and moderately warm summers.
The region, thanks to its climate and geology, is essentially dedicated to agriculture.
Indeed, 60% of the territory is arable land, the rest consists of forests and grassland.
However, Picardie is a region that had one of the most intensive farming in the world during the 20th century!
This had the negative effect of causing the disappearance of a important number of plant species in the last 3 decades.
An important preservation program has therefore been put in place in order to reverse the damage.
Thus, the hedges once uprooted for land consolidation, are now replanted, and organic farming is developing fast.
Finally, numerous nature reserves, protected areas and marine parks were created in order to restore and protect biodiversity.
The most famous and spectacular is the Réserve Naturelle de la Baie de la Somme.
As a result natural protected areas today represent 29% of the territory.
These programs are part of Natura 2000.
The regional economy today still relies on extensive yet organic farming, as well as manufacturing and wind turbine industries.
Finally, tourism thrives along the coastline, where many seaside resorts were developed on each side of the Somme estuary.
Area: 19, 399km2
Population: 1, 925.00 (01/01/2013)