French commune
"Rue Châtelaine" in Laon
département=Aisne ("préfecture")
maire=Antoine Lefèvre
alt moy=83 m
alt mini=63 m
alt maxi=183 m

Laon (IPA2|lɑ̃) is a city and commune in Picardie in northern France, "préfecture" (capital} of the Aisne department.


The hilly district of Laon has always had some 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 baptized Clovis, was born in the Laonnais, and it was he who, at the end of the 5th 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 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 (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 neighborhood, eager to avenge the death of their bishop.

The king alternately intervened in favor 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.


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.


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 center, 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.


Laon was the birthplace of:
* Bertrada of Laon (690-721 CE), mother of Charlemagne
* Anselm of Laon (d. 1117), theologian
* Jacques Marquette, (1636-1675), Jesuit missionary
* Pierre Méchain (1744–1804), French astronomer

Laon is twinned with the city of Winchester in England.

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

External link and reference

* [ Welcome on the site not Official of LAON, Medievale City]
* [ City council website]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Laon — Laon …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Laon — Escudo …   Wikipedia Español

  • LAON — LA Du haut de sa colline, la cathédrale de Laon, dressée comme une carène de vaisseau, regarde au loin la plaine et les carrières d’où les bœufs ont monté, pendant près d’un siècle, les pierres qui ont servi à sa construction. Site unique en… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Laon — (spr. lāng), Hauptstadt des franz. Depart. Aisne und der ehemaligen Landschaft Laonnais, 18 im ü. M., auf einer isolierten Anhöhe mehr als 100 m über dem Ardon gelegen, Knotenpunkt der Nord und Ostbahn, Festung mit einer Zitadelle,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Laon —   [lã], Stadt in der Picardie, Frankreich, Verwaltungssitz des Départements Aisne, auf einem von einer Zitadelle gekrönten Bergrücken in der Ebene des Laonnais, 181 m über dem Meeresspiegel, 26 500 Einwohner; Metall und chemische Industrie. Auf… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Laon — (spr. Lang), 1) Arrondissement im französischen Departement Aisne, 43,7 QM., 171,128 Ew. in 11 Cantonen; 2) Hauptst. des Arrondissements u. Departements auf dem Plateau eines 400 F. hohen, steilen Berges, an dessen Fuß die Zweigbahn der Nordbahn… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Laon — (spr. lāng), befestigte Hauptstadt des franz. Dep. Aisne, (1901) 15.434 E., Kathedrale Notre Dame (11. und 12. Jahrh.); Industrie. Hier Sieg Blüchers über Napoleon 9. und 10. März 1814; 9. Sept. 1870 Sprengung der Zitadelle durch die Franzosen… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Laon — (Lahng), feste Hauptstadt des franz. Departements Aisne, mit 10000 E., lebhaftem Gewerbsfleiße u. Verkehr; Blüchers Sieg 9. u. 10. März 1814 …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Laon — [lã: ] (französische Stadt) …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung

  • laon — LAON, Laudunum, ville episcopale en Picardie, Inde Laudunensis episcopatus, Le pays de Laonnois …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Laon — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Laon (homonymie). 49° 33′ 50″ N 3° 37′ 28″ E …   Wikipédia en Français

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