Laon Property Insight

Laon is a French city located in the north of France, in the Picardy region. With 27,000 inhabitants called the Laonnois it is the administrative centre of the Aisne department. Owing to its strategic location, on top of a butte, Laon has always played an important role in History.


Its creation dates back to the Ist century AD, when the area was dwelt by Roman. During early Middle Ages, the town became a strategic place, and the favourite residence of the last Carolingian Kings. In 1150 the Carolingian cathedral was burnt and replaced by a huge Gothic cathedral. Those times were Laon’s golden age. The town gathered no less than 3 abbeys, 16 churches and the Royal Palace.

During the 100 years war many monuments were destroyed, but they were afterwards renovated in a Renaissance style. The town also suffered from both world wars and the Prussian war in 1870. After WWII the town started to develop again, it is more, all the current dwelt suburbs were created at that time.

Nowadays, the town is divided into 2 parts: the upper part, mainly composed by the cathedral and the medieval quarter, and the lower part where the almost 30,000 inhabitants are living.

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Laon Immobilier & Property Market Trends

A property in France in 2009 was sold €3,200 /sq m. Since in Laon a house is sold €1,300 /sq m, we can say that the town is fairly inexpensive, not to say rather cheap! The whole area is in this case, with the department average barely reaching €1,670 /sq m. However, we notice that prices in Laon are even lower than the department average.

This trend can be explained as the town does not seem to have totally recovered from the industrial revolution, and its economic activities might be too slow to attract investors. However, if you are not looking for a place to work, but rather for a second home or for a buy-to-let, then the town may be the perfect place. You will be delighted by the charm and authencity of this medieval town.

As far as rentals are concerned, the town offers great opportunities, as only 33% of residents are landlords, which means that 64% are tenants. As it is also one of the most touristic place in the area, you will be able to let it either all year long, either during high touristic season.

To get updated info about the property prices in Aisne, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.

Click here to have an overview of Picardie Property Prices.

4 Reasons to Buy a Property in Laon

  • Culture, art and historical heritage: built on the top of a butte, Laon is dwelt since the Gallo-Roman era. It was then the capital of the Carolingian kingdom, and as result, it was the home of French Kings from the 8th until the 10th century. During the Middle Ages the town became a large religious and intellectual centre. Nowadays, vestiges of all these times can be seen through monuments across the whole town. Laon displays indeed more than 80 historical monuments which tell long about the history of the area and the different fashionable architectural styles.

  • Underground heritage: in order to extract materials to build monuments and dwellings, caves, quarries and other underground holes were created. This is how an underground life took place in the town and represent today one of the most original heritage in Laon. There were various uses of the undergrounds: some people were living in caves, and you can still see some troglodytic dwellings; others were using them to keep their vegetables fresh; others again discovered that caves had the skills of an ice-house, hence during winter they used to put ice blocks from the lake into caves and use them whenever they needed them in summer; and of course finally, a military use.

  • Architectural heritage: Laon is the biggest protected area in France. Its protected heritage gathers around 80 historical monuments. Here is a small list of the one you must not missed: Notre Dame cathedral, built between 1150 and 1230, it is one of the most amazing Gothic style monument in France; the bishop’s palace, located by the cathedral and composed of 2 beautiful chapels between other rooms; the Hôtel Dieu, built during late 12th century, it is one of the oldest hospital in France; Saint Vincent and Saint Jean abbeys built during the 6th and the 7th centuries; the Knights Templar’s chapel inspired by the Christ’s church in Jerusalem; the 8km ramparts built during the 12th century, with their 17 doors and 46 towers.

  • Natural environment: Laon especially stands out for its original geology. It is indeed very surprising to find such a hill in the middle of the Picard plain. Laon butte, is one of the two buttes of the Parisian area, the other one being La Butte Montmartre. The town itself offers a beautiful sight, with the cathedral at the top of the hill, reigning as a King over its Kingdom. And on the top of the hill you have a breathtaking view over the Picard plain and the Aisne department.

Property Styles and Architecture in Laon

  • Maisons troglodytes: this kind of housing is common in Laon surroundings. They used to be caves dug during the Middle Ages in order to extract freestone from the rock. Then they were dwelt by poor farmers. Due to the location, they used to be very small houses, one storey high, and usually with a unique room. However, over the years, additions have been built outside the rock, making them comfortable and luxury houses. These latter are called semi-troglodytic houses, and are the more common in the market. Nowadays, these houses have been transformed into luxury hotels, museums, and some of them into common houses.

  • Apartments: in the new suburbs, created after WWII, you are likely to find apartments as they represent 53% of dwellings. The main asset of this kind of housing is that they are close by all amenities as they are usually located in the centre of the town.

Click here for more info about the Architecture in Picardie.

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