The French city of Laon is located about 140 km northeast of Paris and about 50 km northwest of Reims. The city is the capital of the département Aisne.
The history of the city of Laon goes back more than 2000 years. Due to its location on a hill, the city played an important role, when Caesar invaded Gaul. Under the Romans, Laon was a fortification to counter invasions from the Franks, Burgundians, Vandals, Alani and Huns.
During the Middle Ages Laon played a very important role. Saint Remigius, who baptized Clovis in Rheims, was born in Laon. The city became one of the main centers in the Kingdom of the Franks.
At the beginning of the 12th century the city of Laon started to emancipate itself, like many other cities during the middle ages. The citizens of Laon had profited of the absence of the bishop Gaudry, to gain some privileges from the bishop’s representative. However, when the bishop returned, this was revoked by a document of the King of France. Soon a revolt broke out, the bishop was murdered and the Episcopal palace was burned. The fire also spread to the cathedral and as a consequence caused some severe damage. After this revolt, the King of France alternately choose position for the bishop or for the citizens until 1239, when the city liberties were not contested anymore. During the hundred years war, Laon was conquered by the Burgundians and handed over to the English. Laon was finally captured by the French after the coronation of the French King Charles VII.
On several other occasions during history, Laon played also a role of importance:
during the rule of the first Bourbon King Henry IV, during the Napoleonic wars (1814) and also during the battle of Sedan (1870).
After WWII, the region around the city of Laon started to develop. Currently, most of the population and economical activity of Laon, is located in the boroughs. Today, Laon is mostly known for its beautiful, historical and architectural very important cathedral: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon.