Named after the river which meanders through the region, l’Aisne is a department in Nord-pas-de-Calais. With unspoiled countryside, quaint medieval towns and villages and of course the famous river to discover, you’ll quickly see why this region is so popular with British tourists.
Why visit l’Aisne?
L’Aisne is everything you have ever read, watched or heard about France, summed up in one beautiful region. Those gorgeous medieval towns, with their cobbled streets and 12th century abbeys, set into the rolling hills among ancient pines, rivers and valleys. Cheesemakers, bee-keepers and champagne vineyards produce the gastronomical delights which France is famous for, while the countryside is just dying to be explored, whether that’s by foot, by car, by bike or by kayak!
The Aisne region is almost equidistant from our ports in Dunkirk and Calais, which means that both ports offer the ideal starting point for a trip to the region. The region is just a short 2-hour drive south.
What to see in l’Aisne
Saint Quentin is the largest city in l’Aisne, home to the kind of beautiful architecture and café culture which has made France the most popular tourist destination in the world. Take a stroll through the winding streets and open squares of the town, and stop off at a café or restaurant to enjoy some traditional French food or a coffee.
Nature lovers should head to Marais d’Isle nature reserve, where you can observe an abundance of wildlife in their natural habitats, while those seeking a more active holiday should seek out Thierache Sport Nature, the outdoor activities centre, or go kayaking on the River Oise.
History buffs will love Laon, the capital of the region. The city has existed since the Roman days, and still maintains its 11th century ramparts, which add to its medieval character. If the town is quaint and charming, the cathedral is impressive and magnificent, and is understandably one of the town’s most popular tourist attractions. The museum at the Chemins Des Dames trail tells the story of many decisive battles from French history, and you can see this beautiful, historic area from the sky by gyrocopter.
Fort, Condé built in 1877, has held an important strategic position in France for many years, meaning that it has a fascinating history and has swapped hands many times, particularly throughout the First World War. Nearby, the Chateau de Condé is a beautiful French manor house, which opens its doors to the public 6 times a week and includes a treasure hunt for children!
Once the capital of France, Soissons is now a popular tourist destination for those looking to escape the capital, as Parisians flock to the region each year. A tranquil and peaceful retreat from city life, Soissons is also home to a wonderful cathedral, as well as the sites of many historic battles from World War I, the Napoleonic Wars, and as far back as the Roman era.
L’Aisne is also home to France’s famous Champagne region, for more information about this spectacular part of Europe, as well as a guide to discovering it for yourself, visit our
Great Journeys page.
Where to stay
From beautiful guesthouses to good budget B&Bs and high end hotels, there is plenty of accommodation to choose from. Our partner Booking.com offers a selection of great value accommodation in and around l’Aisne that you can browse and book online.
Header banner : Medieval city of Laon @LeclercqVineyard image : Champagne vineyard around Château-Thierry@CambonWhat to see… : Medieval city of Laon @Colin
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