(Click to enlarge) Details of Laon Cathedral: Top: Column figures from the west front- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Simeon, St John the Baptist. Middle- view of arcades and vaulting of the crossing Bottom: Sanctuary and east end of Cathedral. Unusually, for a French gothic Cathedral, it is square ended- a feature more commonly met with in England.
The town of Laon is set upon a hilltop upon which the cathedral sits as a crown. It is a pleasing if somewhat under-appreciated place.
It has often be said that more stone was quarried in France during the building of the medieval churches and cathedrals than during the entire period of ancient Egypt which saw the building of the pyramids. At Laon there appears to have been a very ready source of stone nevertheless transporting it to the site must have invoved considerable effort. One interesting feature I noticed (but failed to photograph) was the way in which, at a later period- the sixteenth century- side chapels were cut into the walls of the nave utilising the space between the exterior flying buttresses. The walls thus opened were then provided with pierced decorative stone screens in Northern Renaissance style.