The traditional water market of the floating gardens at Amiens
The water market will take you on a trip back to the nineteenth century and the time when farmer's markets were flourishing. Come to see, touch and smell the best in fresh produce. Radishes, cauliflowers, turnips, lettuce, leeks, artichokes, black currants, red currants and even melons are everywhere. What delicious recipe can you use to prepare all this abundance? This way for some ideas!
Time travel... We are back in the nineteenth century in the Saint Leu neighbourhood (in Old Amiens); nearly a thousand water gardeners make their living from produce grown on the floating gardens (Hortillonnages).
They travel through the water on horned boats (with a flat bottom and raised extremities to protect the banks of the channels (which are known as "rieux" in the Picard dialect). Their life follows the rhythm of growing and selling. Three times a week, a large market is held on the quay at Place Parmentier, next to the cathedral. On the day before the market, the water gardener and his wife fill their boat ("batieu" in the Picard dialect) with fruits and vegetables. On market day in the morning, they travel down the Somme River to the quay. Dressed in her traditional costume (a visored bonnet, known as a "capeline hortillone," a long dress and a shawl), the farmer's wife sells the produce. On the quays, merchants and resellers are waiting to stock up on produce. (Did you know that they supply Les Halles in Paris?)
Yes, that's what the market was like... Today, a dozen water gardeners grow their crops on thirty hectares.
Why is this land so fertile?
To keep the waterways from becoming clogged, the water gardeners spread alluvia from the channels over their land. This soil is so fertile that it yields three harvests per year.
Produce sold throughout the year, every Saturday, water gardeners sell their produce at the market on Place Parmentier from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
For more information, contact the Metropolitan Amiens Tourism Office at 00 33 3 22 71 60 50
Spend a night in Amiens and enjoy the surrounding area: Our ideas for the weekend are right here!