Laon Cathedral

Laon Cathedral
Laon Cathedral

The cathedral of Laon is often one of the great forgotten cathedrals and yet, in it we find some of the first manifestations of the Gothic style that emerged in France during the Late Age Half. Dedicated to Our Lady of Laon, its construction began around the 12th century throughout the Romanesque period. At this time, the great cathedrals arose around the pilgrimage routes -in this sense we must highlight works such as Saint Denis or Saint Sernin de Toulouse, both in France- in this way, in the first years of the Gothic style, the same trend and thus the cathedral of Laon that concerns us here became one of the reference points of the French Way to Santiago de Compostela.


It is a building with a Latin cross plan with three naves, of which the central one is wider and higher than the lateral ones, thus allowing its interior lighting. In the body of naves we find ourselves before a light space thanks to the use of columns to support the semicircular arches that separate the naves, above which the gallery with double arches and openings that illuminate the temple rises; the clerestory whose section was articulated with a trio of arches and finally the windows. As for the roofs, the main nave is covered by a sexpartite vault while the lateral ones are covered by quadripartite vaults.

In the original project theThe cathedral had the typical ambulatory or ambulatory that allowed pilgrims to pass through the interior of the temple without them interrupting the celebrations of the temple, however, and ultimately, the development of the choir became such in the cathedral de Laon which occupied most of the space reserved for the transept and chancel. The elevation of the transept follows the same scheme as the rest of the cathedral with the difference that the clerestory has been removed from the north and south walls and in its place we only find a closed wall. On the ground floor, the transept incorporates apsidal chapels, heralding the great development of the Gothic chancels.

Between the transept and the chancel of the temple there is a huge choir with a rectangular section which means that the chancel and the transept are separated, placing it almost in the middle of the cathedral complex.

On the main façade we find a flared portico with triple arches that allows access to the interior of the temple, a body of stained glass windows, the central rose window and another body of blind arcades, completing the set two quadrangular towers open in the sides of the facade. In Laon we can find the first Gothic façade scheme influenced by the German churches of the Romanesque period. Laon Cathedral stands out for the many figures of oxen that adorn the towers and which according to legend miraculously appeared to help in the construction of the temple.

Currently the original set is a bitdistorted due to numerous later additions.

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