While staying in Albert, you must not miss the opportunity to visit the neo-Byzantine style Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières. In January 1915, the church was hit by a German artillery shell, damaging the dome and tilting the Golden Virgin, a gilded sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary, past 90 degrees. From then on, she became known as the Leaning Virgin. The Basilica was destroyed later in the conflict and would be rebuilt to the original plans over ten years later by Louis Duthoit, the son of the original architect, Edmond Duthoit.
You will be fascinated by the Musée Somme 1916, the entrance to which is at the foot of the Basilica. This powerfully evocative museum tells the story of the Battle of the Somme and depicts the lives of the soldiers of the First World War.
The museum is housed in an underground passage dating back to the Middle Ages. This became an air raid shelter in 1938, the Henry Potez aircraft factories being a target for German bombing. After the Second World War the passage was closed and not reopened until 1992 when, with the help of a team of volunteers, it was converted into a museum dedicated to the First World War and, particularly, the Battle of the Somme.
Throughout its 250 subterranean metres, you can discover scenes representing the life of soldiers in the trenches and showcases exhibiting everyday objects from that terrible conflict.
Don't miss a guided tour of the witnesses to the past, a climb to the bell tower of the basilica, a walk in the very pleasant city park with its waterfall, a visit to the Jardins du Vélodrome, a look into our industrial past or the opportunity to discover our city’s art deco architecture.
Albert is a city steeped in history.