pteardon.jpg (11228 octets)As a first drive, we propose you to enter Laon by the Ardon's Gate. Stop near to watch the panorama on the south of the city. Then, downside the celeb gate, and on the left before the Prefecture, let's go through the Chenizelles street, up to Michelet boulevard and Republic avenue at the end of which we will find, on top of the Madeleine walk which goes around the beautiful Saint Vincent abbey, a wonderful vision on the whole Cuve Saint Vincent and High Town. From there, by the Republic avenue in reverse sense, let's come to the ancient Saint Martin Abbey, near the Municipal Library and Hospital. Then through the Saint Martin street, let's go to the Town Hall.
Laonwalk01.gif (36973 octets)From there, by Serurier street, come to the Cathedral, the visit of which is indispensable, without forgetting the court of the Bishop Palace (now law courts). On the side of this palace, we may then follow the North Promenade, be back the Town Hall by the North Rampart, and enjoy the superb vision on the whole plain north of Laon through Milon de Martigny street and Saint Just Promenade up to the Paul Claudel College from where we go back the Hospital. Before going the Down Town for a next visit, don't forget to stop at Soissons Gate (in front of Technology University Institute) and to shoot a last picture of the Leaning Tower.



In the South-West, you will find many sites to visit and panoramas to watch :

This itinerary on the West of Laon is especially for the lovers of nature and ruins.

First, leave Laon by N 44 road towards Saint Quentin to find after a few miles Crépy. There we can admire the Saint Pierre and Notre-Dame churches, the ancient hospital, and discover an interesting defending system by inundation. There was, too, the place from where the german cannon called "Grosse Bertha" shot on Paris during the first world war.
Follow again the N 44 to join Saint Nicolas aux Bois, ruins of the old Abbey of the "Tortoir" (14th), and the church (12th).

There are many picturesque sites in the Saint Gobain Forest, like the "Ermitage's rocks", the miraculous source of Saint Gobain, the "Fontaine de la Goutte" (source between the roots of a beech), the petrifying fountain of the Saint Bourgand's quarry, and very numerous special trees.
You have to stop by Septvaux to see the ruins of a water-mill, the wash-house, and the church Notre-Dame (12th) with its two towers and seven gables corresponding the "seven small valleys" whose the village had its name.L'Ombre de Saïno

Dessin du château de Coucy, dans
"L'Ombre de Saïno" de Jean Quimper et Pierre Forget.
Avec l'aimable autorisation des Editions du Triomphe
7 Rue Bayen - 75017 PARIS
Tél : 01 40 54 06 91 - Fax : 01 40 54 92 08

Coucy le Château is worthy to stop a while for the ruins of its wonderful castle built by Enguerrand III in the 13th century, castle whose the splendid dungeon of 180 feet and 20 feet wide walls was dynamited by the germans in 1917 when they destroyed the whole town. Don't go through Coucy without visiting the museum of the tower of Soissons' Gate, the stone museum in the castle, and the Saint Sauveur church (12th century).
The way back to Laon may go by Prémontré, where was founded the celeb abbey, and Anizy le Château.

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In the south of Laon, between the RN 2, towards Soissons and Paris, and the RN 44 towards Reims, is the "Chemin des Dames".
So named because it was used by the Louis XV's daughters when they were going to the castle of la Bove, while the men were hunting through the valley of the Ailette, the "Chemin des Dames" is most known by the fightings which took place there during the World War One.

From the "Monument des Crapouillots", on the crossroad of Moulin de Laffaux on RN 2, come back towards Laon and turn on the right before Chavignon.dragon.jpg (15957 octets)
From there, you'll find

vauclair.jpg (19849 octets)Then, it's possible to come back to Laon by Corbeny and RN 44, or following the Ailette valley visiting the ruins of the Abbey of Vauclair before to stop for a while in the nautical park of Ailette or on the banks of the Lake of Monampteuil.

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