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Square Montplaisir Joffre

Jules Verne’s vision of the future of Amiens


This area has very much changed since Jules Verne was here. It was the starting point for his curious novel, An Ideal City. He gave a reading of it at the Académie d’Amiens (Academy of Amiens) on 12th December 1875. In the story, the author finds himself in a future version of Amiens. Upon leaving his house, he notices that the city has undergone extraordinary changes overnight, as if new districts had popped up like mushrooms. He goes on to discover a series of major and minor changes throughout Amiens city centre.

An Ideal City is a curious tale where Jules Verne places himself at the heart of the action. He describes the very place in which we stand, then known as Place Montplaisir (now Place du Maréchal Joffre), the boulevards, the gardens, the monument to the Illustrations Picardes (Picardie’s Famous Sons and Daughters), the bandstand which stood there and where concerts were regularly held. This is where Jules Verne hears the “music of the future”: “More melody, more tempo, more harmony! Immeasurably long parts! Quintessential Wagner! Sonic algebra! The triumph of dissonances!”