A Town of Art and History, once appreciated by the writer Victor Hugo who sang its praises, the medieval town of Laon, flanked by seven kilometres of ramparts, contains over eighty listed or classified historical monuments.
Its splendid Gothic cathedral, topped by five mighty towers, majestically dominates the whole upper town. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Cathedral of Our Lady has a harmonious west façade, with doors adorned with sculpted tympanums, and its west towers have unusual life-sized statues of bulls, a reference to an old local legend. Once inside, admire the grandiose elevation of the nave, as well as the magnificent rose stained glass windows of the choir and north transept...
Around the cathedral, take a walk along the ramparts and medieval streets and discover the monuments and buildings of the fortified town: the old bishop's palace, now the Courthouse; the 12th-century Hôtel-Dieu, the headquarters of the Tourist Office in Laon country, and its Gothic room with rib vaults; the citadel build on the orders of Henry IV; the Roman Chapel of the Templars, whose walls enclose the cadaver tomb of Guillaume de Harcigny, doctor to Charles VI; the Ardon Door, dating from the 13th century... Walk along the ramparts and you can also enjoy untrammelled views of the lower town and the landscapes of the surrounding plains. The tour of the upper town continues westwards, with a look at the Soissons Door and leaning tower, relics of the medieval era, along with the Abbey of St. Martin with its old 12th-century Abbey Church of the Prémontrés, 18th-century cloister with a medieval garden, and convent buildings, which nowadays are home to the municipal library.
Lovers of art and archaeology should go to Laon Museum, based in the old Commandery of the Templars, to see its collections of Greek, Egyptian and Cypriot antiquities, regional archaeology and 15th to 19th-century paintings from the French, Italian, Flemish and Dutch schools.
When it comes to festivities, try the Médiévales in June, with a medieval market, camps and street activities; and Laon Festival in September and October, dedicated to classical music.
Prefecture of the Aisne and City of Art and History, the town of Laon takes place about fifty kilometers from Reims, a few kilometers from the coast of Ile-de-France. The one that has been boasted many times by Victor Hugo for its beauty and charm, continues to seduce visitors with its more than eighty listed monuments.
Probably populated since the Neolithic, the city of Laon however does not know a permanent occupation that towards the middle of the 1st century bc. Frequent place of residence of the last Merovingian kings, it develops strongly in the Middle Ages, in particular through the construction of his famous cathedral. Besieged during the wars of religion, she sees her face gradually change at this time, before suffering the various Franco-German conflicts that will succeed until the mid-twentieth century.
Awarded two flowers in the contest of cities and flowered villages of France, Laon is also appreciated by tourists for the beauty of its architecture and the richness of its history to discover the time of a stroll in the heart of the medieval city.
Gothic style, the Notre-Dame cathedral served as a model for those of Chartres and Paris. Built between 1150 and 1180, it was however rebuilt at the beginning of the 13th century because of the smallness of its choir. Lovers of old stones will particularly appreciate the four campaniles, the lantern tower, and animals carved life-size. Today listed as a Historical Monument, it also features beautiful murals, including an icon of the late twelfth century Saint Face from Serbia, donated by Pope Urban IV. Open to the public, the cloister is not lacking in interest with its unique gallery with seven spans. Its remains are also classified as Historical Monuments.
Near the cathedral, you can not miss the episcopal palace listed as a Historical Monument since the end of the 19th century. Today, the building serves as a high court in the city of Laon. In the old big room of the bishop's palace, now the room of the court of assizes, one can admire decorated capitals, as well as three turrets and a gallery of arcades. Do not miss either the two superimposed chapels of the second half of the 12th century.
Laon has a beautiful religious heritage to discover the time of a walk in the streets. Founded in the first half of the twelfth century, the abbey church of St. Martin has a facade of the second half of the thirteenth century. His abbatial home was transformed into Hôtel-Dieu in the 17th century. Listed as a Historical Monument, the church of Saint-Martin-au-Parvis dates from the twelfth century and was transformed in the 1970s into a court of industrial tribunals.
Templar Commandery before being hospitable, the Templar chapel dates from the twelfth century and housed a prison under the French Revolution. You will also appreciate the Protestant temple of the end of the 19th century, the former convent of the Ladies, the church of Vaux-sous-Laon, the church of Saint-Pierre-au-Marché, the church of Notre-Dame-la- Deep or the church of Saint-Rémy-au-Velours. A small tourist train allows to appreciate all the charms of the old town.
It is still possible to discover the ramparts of the city with its towers and gates, as well as a beautiful town hall built in the first half of the nineteenth century. Two German cemeteries, those of Bousson and the Field of Maneuver, allow to learn a little more about the history of the First World War.
Housed in the former Commandery of the Knights Templar, the Museum of Art and Archeology Laon today has the label Museum of France. It presents a beautiful collection of regional and Mediterranean archeology, as well as fine art collections.
- Weekly markets are held every day of the week except Mondays.
- Between March and May, Laon hosts the jazz concerts of Jazz'itudes.
- In May, place in Cap'N'Roll and its concerts of current music.
- In June take place Medieval, with the market, the street animations and the encampments in the old.
- Fireworks and a ball are offered in mid-July for the National Day.
- Laon hosts in September and October an interesting festival of classical music.
- A Christmas market is proposed in December.
Exhibition in Laon: "The Natural Garden"
- From 1 june to 31 july 2019
- 34 rue Sérurier
- This exhibition will guide you towards environmentally friendly practices: mulching, composting, organic fertilizer... - RV from Monday to Friday in the premises of the CAUE de l'Aisne, from 9am to 12pm and from 14h to 18h!
Visit "Secrets Under the City" In the Underground of Laon
- From 19 july to 4 august 2019
- 1, Rue du Cloître
- Come and discover our brand new Underground circuit: more immersive thanks to the videos and sound effects, more fun thanks to the panels and the closing film, this audio-guided tour will tell you the story of Laon by plunging you back 40 million years. back. Get ready for an experience at the heart of time! - Follow us via the networks using #secretsslaville, and feel free to share! - The visits take place every day at 11h, 14h, 15h and 16h. - Tickets and audioguides are to be collected at the reception desk of the Tourist Office. - Please note that you must present yourself 30 minutes before each departure time with your ID! - Commentary on the audioguide for children over 6 years old.
Mounted Tower In Laon Cathedral
- From 19 july to 1 august 2019
- Place du parvis Gautier de Mortagne
- Want to rise and dominate the city and its surroundings? Access the highest point of Laon by following this express ascent through the 209 steps of the tower of its cathedral, dazzling guaranteed! - RV at the Tourist Office every day this summer (from July 6th) at 2pm and 5pm! (reservation required because visit limited to 19 people per session / 3 € single / free rate for children under 6 and guide-speakers / duration: 30 min)
The Medieval City of Laon
- From 19 to 31 july 2019
- 1, Rue du Cloître
- Follow in the footsteps that the men of the Middle Ages have sown on the Crowned Mountain of Laon with your guide in the neighborhood surrounding the cathedral, back to the past guaranteed! - RV every day this summer (from July 6th) at 15:30 at the Tourist Office to collect your tickets! (reservation required because visit limited to 25 people per session / duration: 1h)
Show in Laon: "The lake of PianO"
- From 25 to 26 july 2019
- Allée de la Chênaie
- Imagine a piano recital floating on the peaceful waters of the pond located in the lower town of Laon... - An elegiac moment in perspective, proposed by La Volière aux Pianos! - RV in front of the pond André-Delaby for these two evenings of representation (Thursday 25 and Friday 26/07) at 19h!
The Organs of the Aisne 2019 Concert in Laon
- On 15 august 2019
- Place du Parvis
- Organs of the Aisne, or how to make this instrument sound through concerts (mostly free) scheduled from April to October throughout the department! - This Thursday, come to attend this concert in the company of the organist of the cathedral of Laon, Lidia Ksiazkiewicz (with the César Franck repertoire)... - So come many in Laon cathedral this Thursday, August 15 at 17h!
Festival of Solidarity Verses in Saint-Gobain
- From 16 to 18 august 2019
- Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle
- Fifteen years already that the association Gaia program this great musical festival (a dozen groups planned) on the stadium of the town while supporting actions of solidarity and sensitizing all festival-goers respect for the environment... - And still on the spot a real associative village with its organic market, stands (in botany, solidarity action) and conferences (on the environment, politics, agriculture and education,....) Around the same idea: to think the world differently! - And next concerts, organizers announce the heavy with including Dub Inc, The Devils of the Garrigue, Marcel and his Orchestra, Goulamas'K and Goran Bregovic! - (all the programming to discover online)!
Funny Footing in Laon
- On 18 august 2019
- Avenue Charles de Gaulle
- The nice footing is the assurance of running at a moderate pace, with one rule: the group expects the slowest. And it's free! - RV in front of the pool-rink in Laon, and come many, it's free!
Latin Dance and Music Festival in Laon
- On 31 august 2019
- 2, Place du Parvis G. de Mortagne
- A discovery of Latin dances and music organized as part of the Estivales in Laon, with the help of Picardia Loca, with the menu: - - Salsa dance initiation workshops, Bachata and Kizomba (Châtelaine street and the cathedral forecourt (medieval city) from 5 pm - - a concert followed by a dance party (on the music of Nelson Palacios and su cosa loca) from 8.30pm to 2am - RV in Chatelaine street and on the parvis square!
Funny Footing in Laon
- On 1 september 2019
- Rue Marcel Levindrey
- The nice footing is the assurance of running at a moderate pace, with one rule: the group expects the slowest. And it's free! - RV in the car park of the Palais des Sports in Laon at 9.30am!