First we visited Laon, which is a pretty city with a charming medieval quarter called La Ville Haute or La Cité Médiévale. The medieval quarter is located on top of a hill with the more modern part of the city situated at the bottom of the hill. The ramparts and cathedral dominate the hill and there are also a lot of small, charming streets to wander around. You can also walk along the ramparts on top of the hill and the view over Picardie is amazing.
Cathédrale de Laon
Rue du Cloître in Laon
view from la Haute Ville
medieval gate into la Haute Ville
St. Martin in Laon
La Haute Ville
On the way back we decided to stop at the city of Soissons. We didn't know anything about the city, but were tempted to stop by when we say some tall towers soaring over the city. From what we understood, most of the city was destroyed during the World Wars (they say 7 out of every 8 houses was destroyed), so the city wasn't as charming as Laon but the cathedral was pretty, with only one tower, and the ruins of the Abbaye St. Jean des Vignes were very interesting.
Abbaye St. Jean des Vignes
cloisters of the abbey
facade of St. Jean des Vignes...the rest of the church is gone, there is no nave or anything
Cathédrale de Soissons
Finally we saw a sign along the N2 pointing to another abbey off the road, so we decided to investigate and we stumbled upon the adorable village of Longpont and the ruins of its abbey, the Abbaye de Longpont. Situated in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the woods, past some farmland, the village was absolutely adorable. Too bad by the time we got there the abbey was closed so we couldn't get a really close look at the ruins.
Abbaye de Longpont
village of Longpont