Located to the west of the town of Laon, the mysterious and majestic Saint-Gobain Forest, covering 9,000 hectares, contains a wonderful natural and built heritage.
Made up of a variety of species ranging from oak to beech through ash and maple, this hilly territory dotted with ponds and undergrowth inhabited by red deer and roe deer, is best discovered on a hike. Walking and mountain bike circuits, signposted by the National Office of Forests, are available departing from the Rocks of the Hermitage.
Roam around the Saint-Gobain Massif and take a walk along its pleasant little forest roads, which are lined with architectural treasures: Prémontré Abbey, founded in the 12th century by St. Norbert, then rebuilt in the 18th century, whose three superb buildings are now home to a hospital centre; remains of the old Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois; and the fortified Priory of Le Tortoir, dating from the 14th century. Parts of Prémontré Abbey are open to the public, who can discover its gardens, chapel and monumental staircase.