Laon: Wikis

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Coordinates: 49°33′50″N 3°37′28″E / 49.5638888889°N 3.62444444444°E / 49.5638888889; 3.62444444444

Commune of Laon
Blason ville fr Laon (Aisne).svg

Laon.JPG
Railway station, with the cathedral in the background
Location
Laon is located in France
Laon
Administration
Country France
Region Picardy
Department Aisne
Arrondissement Laon
Intercommunality Laon
Mayor Antoine Lefèvre
(2008–2014)
Statistics
Elevation 63–183 m (207–600 ft)
(avg. 83 m/272 ft)
Land area1 42.00 km2 (16.22 sq mi)
Population2 27,557  (2006)
 - Density 656 /km2 (1,700 /sq mi)
Miscellaneous
INSEE/Postal code 02408/ 02000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Laon (French pronunciation: [lɑ̃]) is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.

Contents

History

Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Laon

The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain[1], has always held strategic importance. In the time of Julius Caesar there was a Gallic village where the Remis (inhabitants of the country round Reims) had to meet the onset of the confederated Belgae. Whatever may have been the precise locality of that battlefield, Laon was fortified by the Romans, and successively checked the invasions of the Franks, Burgundians, Vandals, Alans and Huns. At that time it was known as Alaudanum or Lugdunum Clavatum.

Remigius, archbishop of Reims, who baptised Clovis, was born in the Laonnais, and it was he who, at the end of the fifth century, instituted the bishopric of Laon. Thenceforward Laon was one of the principal towns of the kingdom of the Franks, and the possession of it was often disputed. Charles the Bald had enriched its church with the gift of very numerous domains. After the fall of the Carolingians Laon took the part of Charles of Lorraine, their heir, and Hugh Capet only succeeded in making himself master of the town by the connivance of the bishop, who, in return for this service, was made second ecclesiastical peer of the kingdom.

Early in the twelfth century the communes of France set about emancipating themselves, and the history of the commune of Laon is one of the richest and most varied. The citizens had profited by a temporary absence of Bishop Gaudry to secure from his representatives a communal charter, but he, on his return, purchased from the king of France the revocation of this document, and recommenced his oppressions. The consequence was a revolt, in which the episcopal palace was burnt and the bishop and several of his partisans were put to death on 25 April 1112 . The fire spread to the cathedral, and reduced it to ashes. Uneasy at the result of their victory, the rioters went into hiding outside the town, which was anew pillaged by the people of the neighbourhood, eager to avenge the death of their bishop.

The king alternately intervened in favour of the bishop and of the inhabitants till 1239. After that date the liberties of Laon were no more contested till 1331, when the commune was abolished. During the Hundred Years' War it was attacked and taken by the Burgundians, who gave it up to the English, to be retaken by the French after the consecration of Charles VII.

Under the League, Laon took the part of the Leaguers, and was taken by Henry IV. During the campaign of 1814 Napoleon tried in vain to dislodge von Blücher from it in the Battle of Laon.

In 1870 an engineer blew up the powder magazine of the citadel at the moment when the German troops were entering the town. Many lives were lost; and the cathedral and the old episcopal palace were damaged. At the Revolution Laon permanently lost its rank as a bishopric.

Sights

Rue Châtelaine

The city contains many medieval buildings. The most important of these is the cathedral Notre-Dame of Laon, dating mostly from the 12th and 13th centuries. The chapter-house and the cloister contain beautiful specimens of the architecture of the beginning of the 13th century. The old episcopal palace, contiguous to the cathedral, is now used as a court-house. The front, flanked by turrets, is pierced by great pointed windows. There is also a Gothic cloister and an old chapel of two storeys, of a date anterior to the cathedral.

The church of St Martin dates from the middle of the 12th century. The old abbey buildings of the same foundation are now used as the hospital. The museum of Laon had collections of sculpture and painting. In its garden there is a chapel of the Templars belonging to the 12th century. The church of the suburb of Vaux near the railway station dates from the 11th and 12th centuries.

View from the upper town

Transportation

The town has the only fully automated municipal cable car system in the world, called the Poma 2000. It links the upper town (the historical centre, located on a plateau) with the lower town, has three stations and runs on rubber tyres. In contrast, the San Francisco cable car system is manually operated, and all the other automated cable car systems have restricted operations within airports and hospitals.

International relations

Laon is twinned with:

Personalities

Laon was the birthplace of:

Media

Laon is featured in the book Pursuit of Passy by D. M. Crook.

References

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Contents

Laon is a city in the Aisne département of Picardie, in northern France.

See

The fine early Gothic cathedral. It is one of the finest in France, with openwork towers and a four-storey nave elevation. The interior is extremely light and spacious. The west towers feature an octagonal top storey with square turrets at the angles on top of the square bottom storey. They are decorated with the figures of sixteen oxen, said to commemorate a miraculous ox that appeared to pull a cartload of stone to the hilltop site.

Saint-Martin abbey church and buildings, with a fine cloister garden in what is now the city library's courtyard.

Fine 17th and 18th century houses everywhere in the city.

The Museum, with a fine collection of classical antiquities and the alarming 'transi' tomb (the effigy of a decaying corpse) of Guillaume de Harcigny in the entrance. A fine 12c octagonal Templar chapel stands in the garden.

Do

Climb the cathedral tower. The tourist office, in a 12c building next to the cathedral, arranges tours and it is best to reserve your tickets before time as numbers are limited.

Buy

Pave de Laon sweet pastilles.

Sleep

Hotel de la Banniere de France is located just behind the Hotel de Ville in the historic centre of the city.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LAON, a town of northern France, capital of the department of Aisne, 87 m. N.E. of Paris on the Northern railway. Pop. (1906), town, 9787, commune (including troops) 15,288. It is.

situated on an isolated ridge, forming two sides of a triangle, which rises some 330 ft. above the surrounding plain and the little river of Ardon. The suburbs of St Marcel and Vaux extend along the foot of the ridge to the north. From the railway station, situated in the plain to the north, a straight staircase of several hundred steps leads to the gate of the town, and all the roads connecting Laon with the surrounding district are cut in zigzags on the steep slopes, which are crowned by promenades on the site of the old ramparts. The 13th-century gates of Ardon, Chenizelles and Soissons, the latter in a state of ruin, have been preserved. At the eastern extremity of the ridge rises the citadel; at its apex is the parade-ground of St Martin, and at the southern end stands the ancient abbey of St Vincent. The deep depression between the arms of the ridge, known as the Cuve St Vincent, has its slopes covered with trees, vegetable gardens and vineyards. From the promenade along the line of the ramparts there is an extensive view northward beyond St Quentin, westward to the forest of St Gobain, and southward over the wooded hills of the Laonnais and Soissonnais.

The cathedral of Laon (see Architecture, Romanesque and Gothic Architecture in France) is one of the most important creations of the art of the 12th and 13th centuries. It took the place of the old cathedral, burned at the beginning of the communal struggles mentioned below. The building is cruciform, and the choir terminates in a straight wall instead of in an apse. Of the six towers flanking the facades, only four are complete to the height of the base of the spires, two at the west front with hugh figures of oxen beneath the arcades of their upper portion, and one at each end of the transept. A square central tower forms a lantern within the church. The west front, with three porches, the centre one surmounted by a fine rose window, ranks next to that of Notre-Dame at Paris in purity. The cathedral has stained glass of the 13th century and a choir grille of the 18th century. The chapter-house and the cloister contain beautiful specimens of the architecture of the beginning of the 13th century. The old episcopal palace, contiguous to the cathedral, is now used as a court-house. The front, flanked by turrets, is pierced by great pointed windows. There is also a Gothic cloister and an old chapel of two storeys, of a date anterior to the cathedral. The church of St Martin dates from the middle -of the 12th century. The old abbey buildings of the same foundation are now used as the hospital. The museum of Laon had collections of sculpture and painting. In its garden there is a chapel of the Templars belonging to the 12th century. The church of the suburb of Vaux near the railway station dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. Numerous cellars of two or three storeys have taken the place of the old quarries in the hill-side. Laon forms with La Fere and Reims a triangle of important fortresses. Its fortifications consist of an inner line of works on the eminence of Laon itself, and two groups of detached forts, one some 22 m. S.E. about the village of Bruyeres, the other about 3 m. W.S.W., near Laniscourt. To the S.S.W. forts Malmaison and Conde connect Laon with the Aisne and with Reims.

Laon is the seat of a prefect and a court of assizes, and possesses a tribunal of first instance, a lycee for boys, a college for girls, a school of agriculture and training colleges. Sugar-making and metal-founding are carried on, but neither industry nor trade, which is in grain and wine, are of much importance.

The hilly district of Laon (Laudunum) has always had some strategic importance. In the time of Caesar there was a Gallic village where the Remi (inhabitants of the country round Reims) had to meet the onset of the confederated Belgae. Whatever may have been the precise locality of that battlefield, Laon was fortified by the Romans, and successively checked the invasions of the Franks, Burgundians, Vandals, Alani and Huns. St Remigius, the archbishop of Reims who baptized Clovis, was born in the Laonnais, and it was he who, at the end of the 5th century, instituted the bishopric of the town. Thenceforward Laon was one of the principal towns of the kingdom of the Franks, and the possession of it was often disputed. Charles the Bald had enriched its church with the gift of very numerous domains. After the fall of the Carolingians Laon took the part of Charles of Lorraine, their heir, and Hugh Capet only succeeded in making himself master of the town by the connivance of the bishop, who, in return for this service, was made second ecclesiastical peer of the kingdom. Early in the 12th century the communes of France set about emancipating themselves, and the history of the commune of Laon is one of the richest and most varied. The citizens had profited by a temporary absence of Bishop Gaudry to secure from his representatives a communal charter, but he, on his return, purchased from the king of France the revocation of this document, and recommenced his oppressions. The consequence was a revolt, in which the episcopal palace was burnt and the bishop and several of his partisans were put to death. The fire spread to the cathedral, and reduced it to ashes. Uneasy at the result of their victory, the rioters went into hiding outside the town, which was anew pillaged by the people of the neighbourhood, eager to avenge the death of their bishop. The king alternately interfered in favour of the bishop and of the inhabitants till 1239. After that date the liberties of Laon were no more contested till 1331, when the commune was abolished. During the Hundred Years' War it was attacked and taken by the Burgundians, who gave it up to the English, to be retaken by the French after the consecration of Charles VII. Under the League Laon took the part of the Leaguers, and was taken by Henry IV. During the campaign of 1814 Napoleon tried in vain to dislodge Blucher from it. In 1870 an engineer blew up the powder magazine of the citadel at the moment when the German troops were entering the town. Many lives were lost; and the cathedral and the old episcopal palace were damaged. At the Revolution Laon permanently lost its rank as a bishopric.


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Simple English

Laon is a commune. It is found in the region Picardie in the Aisne department in the north of France.


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