chapter  12
8 Pages

The Cathedral of Laon

WithWhitney S. Stoddard

The Cathedral of Laon, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, rises dramatically from a thin ridge which dominates the surrounding, fertile plains. Laon is twenty-seven miles northwest of Reims and sixty miles northeast of Paris. Both town and cathedral have had an intense, stormy history. A church founded by the Archbishop of Reims toward the end of the fifth century was the first structure raised at Laon. The King of France, bought by the Bishop of Laon for a higher price than that offered by the commune, helped in the recapture of the town. Light enters the nave at Laon directly through the clerestory and indirectly through the gallery and aisle. The greater amount of light in Laon can be compared with the dark interiors of Romanesque churches and with the somber nave of the Cathedral of Sens.