What to see in France

The Aisne, camp in the historic cradle of France

Vieille ville de Laon
Vieille ville de Laon


One hour from Paris and less than two hours from Lille, the Aisne is located in the south east of the Hauts-de-France region. A multifaceted territory, it will satisfy lovers of built heritage thanks to its rich architectural, religious and historical heritage and the cities of Saint-Quentin, Laon or Soissons. But the Aisne also knows how to satisfy those who appreciate the great preserved spaces such as the Saint-Gobain forest, which is ideal for sporting activities. Here the campsites will welcome you to make the most of the beautiful surprises this department has in store for you.

Campsites in Aisne

27 campsites in the Aisne to welcome you and discover the treasures of its historical and natural heritage with the La Croix du Vieux Pont campsite ***** located in Berny-Rivière on the banks of a river, it has direct access to the beach as well as a beautiful outdoor swimming pool and water slides. In Laon, the campsite La Chenaie *** has 8 rentals and 54 pitches. There is a heated swimming pool and a Euro-relay for motorhomes. Le Col Vert ** campsite in Homblières is located on the edge of a pond and offers rentals, children's entertainment and dance evenings.

The nuggets of the Aisne

Laon, the crowned mountain

The medieval city of Laon forms a spectacular architectural ensemble, situated on top of a hill, which earned it its nickname of the crowned mountain. A town of Art and History, appreciated by Victor Hugo, its seven kilometres of ramparts hide 80 historic monuments. Much appreciated by visitors for the beauty of its architecture and its historical past, Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the city's must-sees. The western towers decorated with statues of 16 oxen and goats, the sculpted tympanums of the portals and the rosettes of the choir are sublime. As you continue your visit, you will come across the Hôtel-Dieu, which today houses the tourist office, the former episcopal palace, now the law courts, as well as the Saint-Martin abbey, founded in 1124, and the Porte de Soissons, classified as a Historic Monument. A superb panorama can also be discovered by walking along the ramparts.

Cathédrale de Laon
Cathédrale de Laon© IStock

Soissons, a rich heritage of reconstruction

Although affected by the various wars, Soissons has remained an important tourist town with a remarkable religious heritage, such as the Gothic cathedral of Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais, which houses a magnificent work by Rubens, the Adoration of the Shepherds. Two important abbeys are also to be seen here, the former Saint-Léger abbey, created in 1139, which today houses the Soissons museum, and the former Saint-Jean-des-Vignes abbey, founded in 1076, whose remains are remarkably well preserved.

Soissons Cathedral
Soissons Cathedral© IStock

Saint-Quentin, a beautiful architectural range

Situated 80 km from Amiens, Saint-Quentin, classified as a Town of Art and History, is also the capital of Haute-Picardie. Much appreciated for its heterogeneous architecture, you can walk through the pretty Hôtel-de-Ville square following the Art Deco circuit and its bow windows on the facades and look up to see the mosaics, stained glass and other sculpted motifs characteristic of this artistic movement. The Town Hall, a magnificent 16th century monument, takes us from a flamboyant Gothic style to an interior hall with an exceptional Art Deco ensemble. The Gothic basilica of Saint-Quentin, founded in the 12th century, is also not to be missed. Every summer, the Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville is transformed into a seaside resort with a sandy beach, ponds and palm trees! A great place to spend time with the family.

Art Deco building in Saint-Quentin
Art Deco building in Saint-Quentin© IStock

Château-Thierry and its superb panorama

Château-Thierry, the birthplace of the famous fabulist Jean de la Fontaine, lies at the foot of the Champagne hills and is a crossroads between several regions. From the heights of the town, you can see the superb ruins of the castle and a breathtaking view of the Marne valley along the ramparts. On the esplanade of the castle, you can enjoy a show of birds of prey to discover the medieval art of falconry, classified as a cultural heritage by UNESCO.

The Saint-Gobain Forest, ideal for hiking

This forest massif, mainly planted with oak and beech trees, with a surface area of 9,000 hectares, is located to the west of Laon and constitutes an immense natural and built heritage. Hiking or cycling is the ideal way to discover this area, which is punctuated by marked footpaths and populated by roe deer and stags. During the hike, you can explore the ruins of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois, built in the 14th century, or that of Prémontré, which today houses a hospital. Both are true architectural gems.

The familistère de Guise, a unique site in France

It is a revolutionary social palace, designed and built by the industrialist Godin in the 19th century to provide accommodation (of great comfort for the time) for the workers in his factory. His aim was to improve the living conditions of his employees by using his own fortune. It was here that Labour Day was born in 1867 and is celebrated every May 1st with a large popular festival. Today the Familistère de Guise has been transformed into a museum to discover the architecture of the place, a show flat, theatre, school or garden that constituted this real city within the city, an exceptional and fascinating place to discover, which is now classified as a Historic Monument.

Familistère de Guise
Familistère de Guise© IStock





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