France 2013(2) – Laon

Rather than just bombing up the motorway back to Calais, we broke our journey in Laon, which was the Carolingian capital of France.

The main part of the town was bombed to bits during WWII…

…but the medieval centre on top of the hill came out mostly unscathed.

The present cathedral dates from 12th and early 13th centuries, and is absolutely stunning.

The stonemasons became so fond of the oxen who carried the stone, that they added them to the tower.

There are also lots of other fun details…

…but the interior is absolutely breathtaking.

The lantern under the tower is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen…

…the stained glass is stunning.

The font dates from the 8th or 9th century…

…and has the  most amazing patterns and heads.

I loved the remains of this painting. Imagine what the cathedral must have looked like when it was all painted.

This panel shows the Visitation, the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother when they are both pregnant. When John senses Jesus presence, he leaps in the womb. I’m also very moved by this story.

I really don’t have the words…

…or the pictures…

…to convey how beautiful it is.

What a fantastic name for an eatery!

I’m sure we’ll be back.