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The Picardy region of France

The region of Picardy is situated in just north of central France, south of the region Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the English Channel and its capital city is Amiens. There are three deapartements, which are an administrative division of France, that are Somme, Oise and Aisne. The peaceful and serene land of Picardy today is deceptive as it is in direct contrast with its conflict-laden history. The natural and lovely shoreline along the English Channel is picturesque and the current of the canals and rivers act as veins of inspiration for hundreds of artists and writers. The borders of Picardy consist of the regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais at the north and Belgiumís Ardennes forest to the northeast while the Champagne-Ardennes region is to the east and the Ille-de-France region is at the south. The region of Upper Normandy is to the west and the English Channel is to the northwest.

Historically, the area that is now the region of Picardy was simply the area north of Paris that ran all the way to the Netherlands where a number of residents were Dutch and spoke Flanders. Today, the region of Picardy is the where a number of grisly battles on battlegrounds like Crecy, Agincourt and Saint-Quentin took place over the course of French history. One of the most famous battles in Picardy is the Battle of the Somme. The area that was once old Picardy took its place as a part of France during the end of the 12th century during the time of Phillip II Augustus. Picardy eventually became a part of what is now Burgandy during the 15th century and was the target of encroachments by the Spanish and Austrian Netherlands.

Architectural attractions in Picardy include cathedrals like Beauvais, Noyon, Amiens, Laon and Senlis that display the foundation of Gothic architecture in the region. Chateauxs like the Compiegne and Chantilly invite guests into their forest settings that are pleasing to the eye. The villages in the Picardy region are made up of homes built with dark red bricks, which is unlike many of the adjacent provinces. Somme Bay houses a bird sanctuary among the ridges and fenlands along the water. The Somme Bay area is also home to an extraordinary variety of taxonomy. The region is also home to more than 20 golf courses making the area a golferís paradise.

When looking at industry in Picardy, one might notice that sugar plays an important roll in the economy and has for quite some time. In fact, Napoleon I presented sugar beets to Picardy during the Napoleionic Wars in answer to the Englishís takeover of the sugar islands in the Caribbean controlled by France. Sugar became quite profitable for Picardy during the 19th century and added to the decline of the Caribbeanís sugar economy.

Aside from sugar, Picardy is also known for its beef cattle and dairy production. Concentrated growth of vegetables takes place along the Somme River valley, as it has rich, cultivatable land with high output. Mainly market gardeners work their small sections of land that are connected by a grid of closely connected canals. Cattle feed, sugar beets and wheat are commonly grown crops.

Picardy features a number of its own distinctive gastronomy including the Thierache regionís cheese, Brayís cider, Chantilly cream, Picardy-style pancakes, Amienís duck pate, leek tart, bread-cake, macaroons, Saint-Quentin pork rinds, lamb, cheese tart and Laon rissoles.

Picardy has been the source of inspiration for many famous French writers and provides a uniquely preserved view into Franceís past. Filled with history, art, architecture, economic development and much more, Picardy has something to raise the interest and curiosity in any man or woman.