I have no idea what it was all about, but standing on the front steps of the cathedral, this band of 9 guys carrying what appeared to be drainpipes, came marching in step across the plaza and onto the steps. There they began to “play” the pipes using what looked like ping pong paddles as well as humming into the end to produce a “song.” There was a video camera man who filmed them for a few minutes and they then marched off. It was pretty neat but a total enigma to me.
filmed a short video of them which you can see at: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/vv/6c6e/
Bathing and cleanliness is a 19-20C innovation. Baths in earlier times bordered on being a luxury or a medical therapeutic (such as hot springs). The stench of a crowd of church goers must have been overpowering and distracting to the priests. The censer (or thurible)was the first deodorant. These are from the treasury in the cathedral and are pure gold.We only peeked in. By not paying the fee we missed seeing the “head” of J.-B. (Have you seen the grandfather of all censers. the “Botafumiero” at Santiago de Compostella?)
A labyrinth is a form of maze which has a simple unambiguous path to its center and back out (as contrasted to a maze which has many choices and dead-ends). It is a common primitive design developed in many societies and was undoubtedly ritualistic. The labyrinth has appeared in marble on the cathedral floors of Chartres, Reims and Amiens and at Siena as well. Here they symbolize a trip to Jerusalem, thus a pilgrimage with associated prayers and thoughts and meditations. Devout people follow the path in the marble floor, praying, on their knees. (Our picture also shows the fine old carved pulpit byJ-B. Dupuis, 1773).
We have been coming to this area for a few years now and have got to know some of the locals. The last time we were there we were invited to a BBQ by some guys from the village who were flying some kind of machines up on the hill just outside the village of Corbie. ( I am a girlie and don't know what the machines were!)
When we arrived we were made so welcome and saw 4 or 5 of them landing near us. They looked so peaceful up there. It was a super day weather wise and it was lovely to have been invited.
Everywhere they go, they go on wheels under their feet. I realised that the in thing in Amiens at least when I visited it was rollar blading. They bladed to cafes, parks and even to school. Good Exercise and Environmental Friendly :) In addition, they have blading competition for as young as 4 years old to as old as you can get.
* As in any French shop, greet the proprietor when you enter. Say 'Bonjour Madame' or 'Bonjour Monsieur' and always remember to say 'merci, aurevoir' when you leave. The shopkeepers are really friendly in Amiens if you don't act rude to them or like a typical tourist.
* In the north of France many people of the Picardie region and the Amienois give four bises (kisses) instead of the usual two.
Don't forget to come to Amiens on a sunday morning and visit the picturesque market by the canals. On certain occasions a market on the canals is organised: The peasants from the area sell their products from small boats in the canals.