A Couple’s Break Discovering Laon and Spending the Night in a Château

Three ways to explore Laon, a city of art and history between Lille and Paris

Bank-holiday and spring weekends looming large? How about heading to Laon, an incredible medieval city with stone houses clustered around a cathedral perched 180m up on a hilltop? Proof that you don’t have to travel far to truly get away from it all: this curious ‘Crowned Mountain’ overlooking the surrounding plain is just an hour and a half from Paris and Lille. Make the most of this exceptional spot, wandering its paved alleys, tasting local dishes, discovering the natural sites in the vicinity, and rejuvenating in a famous château.


An exceptional place to stay for an unforgettable weekend

Treat yourselves! The Château de Breuil is a little gem in the heart of the countryside, in a protected setting. Stéphanie Méreau, owner of the château and chef of its restaurant, will welcome you warmly and invite you to sample her refined regional cuisine. For blissful overnight stays, the château has four B&B rooms, each with its own charm and all guaranteeing restful nights in this haven of peace. In the morning, complete the picture with breakfast on the tranquil terrace – the ideal way of making the magic of your sumptuous break last longer.


Elevate yourselves in Laon with its sublime views

Well rested and full of energy, you’re ready to explore this Crowned Mountain, wandering round the medieval city enclosed within seven kilometres of ramparts. Marvel at the Cuve Saint Vincent, an unexpected incursion of nature into the city to discover via ‘grimpettes’, its network of pathways. This vast patch of countryside is Laon’s best-known natural feature and an ideal place for an afternoon walk, with unparalleled views of the city and the cathedral. But there are equally lovely vistas from the lower part of the city at the foot of the ‘Mountain’ – with the added bonus that this time you get to appreciate the city from a vertical point of view!

Two steps from the cathedral, treat yourselves to a good glass of wine together.

After a long amble round the city sights, it must be time for a little break. We recommend Le Passage au Verre, for either a hearty meal or shared tapas plates, all based on fresh, seasonal, local and French produce. All this just two steps from Laon’s beautiful, luminous, airy cathedral. The restaurant also has a vast wine menu: consume the owner’s advice without moderation!

Local's tip

To get to to Laon’s upper town from the lower town

The best way to get to the upper town is to take the city’s famous grimpettes, which as well as offering a pretty walking route provide great exercise! There are several grimpettes, but my favourite is the one linking the Rue des Vendangeoirs and the Chemin des Froids-Culs. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Loïc, Laon expert

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