SELF DRIVE CRUISES
The département of Somme was created from a small part of the old province of Artois and largely from the historic province of Picardie .
The following cruise is possible:
It is located in the northwestern part of the Picardy region, and is bordered by the départements of Pas-de-Calais to the north, Aisne to the east, Oise to the south, Haute-Saône to the west and by 30 miles of the Channel to the northwest, where the Somme River estuary and the Bay of Somme account for most of the costal area. The département’s capital is Amiens .
The Somme River flows from the département’s east to its northwest, through the towns of Péronne , Amiens and Abbeville . The Authie River, to the north, flows parallel to the Somme. To the south, the Bresle River parallels the Somme. The chalk plateau of Picardie covers most of the Somme département , and in the southwest the chalk cliffs look out on the English Channel. The Channel’s shore line is covered by sand dunes and a number of small seaside resorts and harbors. Both the Authie and Somme estuaries have created marshland from silting.
There are a number of military cemeteries throughout the Somme River valley, marking the battlefields of World War I. During the War, which lasted from 1914 to 1918, the British developed tanks which were clumsy and slow. They first used them, to little advantage, in the Battle of the Somme in 1916; a battle that took the lives of more than one million souls during its 4 month duration. However, during the battle of Cambrai, in 1917, improved tanks were successfully used against the Germans. While under development, and for secrecy purposes, the British called them ‘water tanks’.
Along the valleys, where land has been reclaimed from the marshes, market gardens abound. These areas also support considerable cattle grazing. Cattle are also raised on the Picardie plateau where cereals, fodder and sugar beets are grown.
Although the département is predominantly rural, industries such as chemicals, food processing, metal- working and textile manufacturing exist around Abbeville and Amiens.