The medieval city of laon
Laon, ‘The Crown on the Hill’
With no less than 80 listed historic buildings, the medieval city of Laon, perched on a hilltop, is one of the largest conservation sectors in France. The treasure is surrounded by eight kilometres of ramparts, known as the ‘Crown on the Hill’ with the Cathedral of Notre-Dame as the jewel in the crown. The cathedral can be seen for many kilometres and dominates the countryside of the Plain of Picardy, a rich and varied heritage of picturesque villages, Romanesque churches and vineyards waiting to be explored. For something a little different, visit Saint Gobain at the heart of the national forest from which the Royal Mirror Factory, founded by Colbert in 1655, takes its name.
From the Gothic cathedral to the Parc Archéologique Mérovingien
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, a masterpiece from the late 12th century is one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in France. The legend surrounding the 16 life-size sculptures of oxen on the towers of the west front is sure to arouse your curiosity !
Saint Martin’s Abbey, the other architectural gem of the medieval city, and its unusual folly known as the « Vides Bouteilles » (literally ‘bottle-emptier’ as abbey-goers used to stop there to taste wine !).
The Chapelle des Templiers built around 1140 reminds us that the Order of Knights Templar settled in the Laonnois region.
The Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie houses many superb collections as well as « Le Concert », a painting by Mathieu Le Nain, one of the Le Nain brothers, born in Laon.
From the top of the ramparts, gaze at the Cuve Saint Vincent where, in days gone by, the fine wine used at the coronation of the Kings of France was produced. The magnificent stained-glass windows by Jacques Despierre in the Basilica of Liesse-Notre-Dame are well worth admiring.
The Musée des Temps Barbares and Parc Archéologique at Marle take you back to Merovingian times with an accurate reconstitution of a farm and Frankish village discovered during local archaeological excavations. You can follow traces of the Merovingians as far as Soissons.
Now it is time to explore the villages and « Vendangeoirs » (fermenting houses) which mark the presence of vineyards in the Aisne region.
Visit Laon and its Cathedral
What to see and do in and around Laon ?
Our selection of accommodations
in LAON - Aisne
in GRANDLUP-ET-FAY - Aisne
Gîte de Veuilly-la-Poterie
in VEUILLY-LA-POTERIE - Aisne
Our new accommodations
La Petite Lubie
in MONTCHALONS - Aisne
in CESSIERES - Aisne
in MARCHAIS - Aisne