Laon Travel Guide

  • Laon
    by rexvaughan
  • Things to Do
    by rexvaughan
  • Things to Do
    by rexvaughan

Laon Things to Do

  • Animals on the Cathedral?

    This is a beautiful and historic old cathedral with wonderful 13th Century stained glass and a white stone interior that really gives it a very luminous quality. What I really like about it, though, is that the beasts who lugged the huge stones up to the top of the hill have apparently been honored by having statues of oxen all around the towers....

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  • Go Over to the Church of St.-Martin

    At the other end of town from the Cathedral is the Abbey church of St.-Martin, also built in the 12-13C and reconstructed after WWII bombing. It has a long Romanesque nave and is taller than the cathedral. Its towers on the West terminate in spires. The facade on that end is mixed Gothic with a large window above the main door. There are tympani on...

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  • Walk the Town

    In the town there are narrow streets and some old houses with some nice vistas from the promenades (See our Intro).

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  • See the Cathedral Interior Refinements

    Other than the early Gothic structure, the church interior has only a few elements of interest. There is the elongated choir preceded by a grill, the finely carved pulpit of 1681, an 18C organ at the west end and long aisle with shallow chapel added.. Unfortunately we have no pictures of the 13C stained glass.

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  • Study the Interior

    The interior achieves its Gothic look by virtue of its height and well-lit interior. It is 4-story with round arched nave arcades supported on sturdy round pillars. There is a tall gallery-tribune which is encased in the supporting interior buttresses. Above this is a blind triforium and tall round topped clerestory windows. This 4-story approach...

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  • Visit the Cathedral

    Building of the present cathedral started in the second part of the 12C. It was built rapidly and the builders employed the latest technics (the beginnings of the Gothic). All of this came about probably out of remorse after the townspeople had murdered their hated Archbishop and set fire to his palace while concurrent fires destroyed their...

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Laon Restaurants

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    by rexvaughan Written Mar 1, 2013

    Who would eat in a restaurant called “Arsenic and Old Lace?” Well, we did and not only survived very nicely, but had a wonderful lunch as well. This a quite small place with wonderful décor just off the main square in front of the cathedral. I would call it a tea room. Our light lunch was a very tasty chicken pot pie with carrots in a delicious crust.

    15 euros lunch menu is available.

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Laon Local Customs

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    Bulls On High

    by hquittner Written Jan 13, 2009

    At the end of the 12C , civilization was turning to an era of enlightenment. Almost immediately St. Francis would be preaching about humane treatment for and nobility of animals. He would create the Crèche scene with a loving Ox and Ass attending. But there were stirrings before he came. If you look at the upper levels of the West towers, you will see immense statues of oxen peering out. These beasts of burden were used to drag the stones and work the treadmills that lifted them to build the towers. There is even a story told recounting how an Ox suddenly appeared on the scene and “volunteered” to replace an exhausted fellow beast on the treads!

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Family Travel

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  • Among the Earliest of the Rose Windows

    Study the Cathedral Rose windows carefully as they represent some of the earliest examples.Rose windows became a beloved feature of French churches starting in the 12C and quickly became larger and more complex over the next century. Obviously their antecedent was a simple oculus which became enlarged and ultimately decorated. The first decorative...

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  • Walking Tour of History

    This is definitely a great town to walk and wander in, and is small enough that you are not overwhelmed. You feel like you are transported back in time - the streets are so narrow and full of twists and turns and hidden alleys and corners. It's wonderful to just wander the streets and discover the architecture. My photos of Laon were all taken on...

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