Laon, capital of the department of the Aisne, is 87 miles N.E. of Paris. It is rich in historical memories, the hills round it having been the scene of battles from the days of Julius Csesar to those of Napoleon, who in 1814 tried in vain to dislodge Bliicher from them. In September, 1870, a powder magazine was exploded at the moment when the Germans were taking possession. The see of Laon was founded by St. Remigius, and remained till the French Revolution. The first cathedral was destroyed in the communal disturbances of the 12th century, but was then replaced by a splendid building, part of which exists to the present day.
Laon was one of the chief cities of the Franks, and in its fine library is an autograph of Lothair dated 972. The modern town is small and of little importance.