|département: 02, Aisne|
Laon is situated at an elevation of 75 in the centre of the département Aisne, about 55 km northwest of Reims, 131 km southeast of Amiens, and 138 km northeast of Paris. The upper town with the historic centre is located on an elevated rock about 100 m above the lower town. Laon is the capital (préfecture) of the département Aisne. The municipality has a population of about 24,900 (2017).
In the 5th century, Laon was the site of a Galloc fortress called Laudunum or Lugdunum (mentioned as Lugdunum Clavatum in 581). Around 500&nsp;AD, bishop Remigius of Reims founded the diocese of Laon. Ever since then, Laon was one of the most important places in France. Since 742 it was in possession of the Carolingians. In the 10th century Laon was a residence and one of the last possessions of the Carolingian kings. In 991 AD it was conquered by Hugh (Hugues, Hugo) Capet, who then moved the capital to Paris. The 12th century was marked by several clashes between the ruling bishops and the inhabitants of the town. The bishopric was dissolved in 1790 during the French Revolution.
Laon Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon) [left, no. 3813:
background top] is one of the most important and stylistically unified examples of early Gothic architecture. The
church served as the cathedral of the diocese of Laon until 1802, and has been recognized as a monument historique since
1840. The present cathedral dates from the 12th and early 13th centuries. It was built half a century after the erection of
the Basilica of Saint-Denis, which originated the Gothic style. Construction on Laon Cathedral began with the choir and
portions of both transepts between approximately 1160 and 1170. By 1180, the transept arms were finished and the eastern
portion of the nave was erected. The original choir was dismantled after 1205 and the current, larger choir was constructed
by 1220. Over the century, additional chapels were built off the aisles of the nave and the choir. Finally, the south
transept's façade was remodeled in the early 14th century, resulting in the current twin doors and tracery
window. Since 1802, when the diocese of laon was dissolved and integrated into the diocesse of Soissons, the church functions
as parish church. The cathedral was modified extensively during the nineteenth century. Although the cathedral suffered some
damage during the French Revolution and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, it escaped both World Wars unharmed.
[https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laon, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laon; http://fallingrain.com/world/FR/B6/Laon.html;