Laon Cathedral

The Cathedral of Laon (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon), in the Picardy region of France, dates from the 12th century. Laon Cathedral is known for its imposing towers, its beautiful Gothic architecture, and its importance as a major stop on the medieval pilgrimage route to Santiago in Spain.


History of Laon Cathedral

Construction on Laon Cathedral began around 1160, on the site of an ancient basilica that had burned down in 1111 during an insurrection. The new cathedral was completed in 1230.

The second half of the 13th century saw the start of work on the side chapels. Considerable reconstruction was done in the early 14th century on the south and north façades.

In the 18th century, the chancel received decorative work. During the French Revolution, the cathedral was damaged and some of the statues on the portals were lost.

After being listed as a Historical Monument in 1840, a restoration program began in 1846. It was finished a little before 1914. The cathedral of Laon escaped World War I unharmed.

What to See at Laon Cathedral

The cathedral of Laon has six towers, four of which are complete. The towers and uniquely ornate, lightand airy. Statues of oxen decorate the top of the façade towers, a tribute to the animals that provided so much labor towards the construction of the church.

There are many other things to look on the complex exterior, including a finely carved portal and a rhinoceros gargoyle!

The understated purity of the cathedral's interior, reinforced by white stone, gives it a remarkable luminosity.

Notable interior features include the stained glass (the western rose window dates to 1210), panels dating from the 13th century, a Serbian icon of the Holy Face, and an 18th-century choir grille.

Getting There

Trains run from Paris's Gare du Nord to Laon at least 15 times a day (trip time: 1.5-2 hr.). By car from Reims, go 45km (28 miles) north on A26. Once in Laon, follow signs to Centre ville / Cathédrale / Office de Tourisme

Quick Facts on Laon Cathedral

Site Information
Names:Cath√©drale Notre-Dame de Laon · Laon Cathedral
Dedication: Virgin Mary
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:49.564391° N, 3.625059° E
Address:8 rue du Cloître
Laon, France
Hours:Daily 8:30am-6:30pm
Lodging:View hotels near Laon Cathedral
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Notre Dame de Laon Cathedral – Regional Council of Picardy
  2. Laon Cathedral – Beloit History of Art and Architecture
  3. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon – Frommer's Attraction Review

More Information

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Map of Laon Cathedral

Below is a location map and aerial view of Laon Cathedral. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.