Medieval Walled City - Great Architecture
"Departmental Capital of Aisne"
We only spent one half day in Laon, so this is not going to be an in-depth travel description.
We did not originally plan to visit this town, but driving down the road on the way from Reims to Calais, we spotted this city on a hill in the distance, and were intrigued, so exited the highway and went to see what it was all about. The town rises up built upon the only hill in a long flat area, so is quite noticable.
When we got there, we found an amazing example of a well-preserved medieval town, divided into an upper and lower part, with the older sections being at the top of the hill.
We also found out that it was a very historically important town. This town currently is the departmental capital of Aisne, and was the capital of the Carolingian empire at one point in history. It is now said to be the largest protected heritage center in France.
Besides the big cathedral, there is also a wonderful 17th century abbey (Saint Martin's) which is now used as a government building, and a Romanesque octagonal chapel built by the Knights of the Templar.
We hope to go back and explore it again on our next cross-country trip through that region. (And this time will book a hotel ahead of time!!) :-)