Picardy was named after its inhabitants, the Picards (rather than the other way round). In the thirteenth century, students in Paris who came from this area had the reputation of being troublemakers (picards) so the region these stroppy students came from was named ‘Stropshire’. Over the centuries, Picardy has hosted more battles than any other French region. With easy access to England, the Netherlands and Germany, and with nice flat fields for fighting on, Picardy offers location solutions for all your belligerent needs (irony alert).
Satisfied customers include:
Edward III: “I wouldn’t start a Hundred Years’ War anywhere else.”
The Dukes of Burgundy: “Picardy is rightfully part of Burgundy. And so is Mallorca”
General Fernando Alvarez de Toledo: “¿Qué?”
Field-Marshall Prince Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutusov: “Pikardi? Da!”
and, most recently, Kaiser Wilhelm II: “Grandma Victoria would love it here, it’s so flat, you know she has this place at Sandringham…” (that’s enough Norfolk jokes, Ed.)
It wasn’t all bloodshed in Picardy, though. Sometimes, armies set out from Picardy to shed blood somewhere else. Peter the Hermit was working as a vicar in Amiens when God told him to organise the First Crusade. He’d been hoping for something easier, like a jumble-sale. In one of the earliest back-to-work schemes, he assembled an army of 40,000 paupers and set off for the Holy Land (for details of the logistically-challenged Second Crusade, see our guide to Poitou-Charentes). In July 1096, Peter arrived at Constantinople with just 30,000 followers. To lose 10,000 sightseers en route might appear careless, but the tourist industry at that time was not governed by today’s stringent regulations. The Eastern Roman Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, ruler of Constantinople, was less than pleased to have so many extra mouths to feed, and complained to Peter when food started disappearing from his fridge.
Peter then made a really bad business decision and joined forces with another crusading contingent led by Walter the Penniless. Tip – never enter into a business merger with anyone whose nickname is “the Penniless”. Walter’s mob were starving and immediately plundered Belgrade. This enraged the Balkan Slavs, who are not a people to mess with, even when they’re not enraged. The Peter/Walter Group then attacked the very first Turks they spotted, and lost, reducing their numbers even further.
François Édouard Anatole Lucas was good with numbers. He was born in Amiens in 1842 and invented the Tower of Hanoi puzzle (you know, five discs, three poles, you’ve got to move all the discs onto another pole and you can’t put a larger disc on a smaller disc). Apparently, the puzzle predates Lucas in Indian legend: the Priests of Brahma have a similar game, still with three posts, but with sixty-four discs. According to the legend, the world will end when the puzzle is completed. There is, however no immediate cause for alarm. Even if the legend is true, AND if the Priests of Brahma can move a disc every second, we’ve still got six hundred billion years to go.
© 2008 richardheacock @ mac.com
Picardy Property SelectionListed below are the departments in the region of Picardy; the number of properties in each department are denoted in brackets - click on a department to see the properties available.
All the properties in Picardy by department.
(Number in brackets = number of properties)
Aisne Property (10)
Oise Property (11)
Somme Property (8)