My absence has been due to teaching commitments- which I have enjoyed very much!
One of my favourite cathedrals in France, is the cathedral in Laon. I came upon it some years ago whilst driving at night trying to get to Holland. The cathedral was lit and sitting on a high sort of cropped hill- well that was enough, I had to stay in that town and see it in daylight. I have been twice before but today as i raced along the paege ( which is very expensive) I could not resist the temptation for another visit. It houses one of the black madonnas and really the facade with its three porches and very fine towers, is a wonderful exemplar of restrained gothic architecture even though it's quite ornate. It was damaged in the french revolution. Building commenced sometime in 1155 and was completed in the next century and some of the animals that adorn the towers are a memory of the animals that helped build this cathedral. This basilisque and the one in Vezelay are amongst my favourites in France. I have not seen them all- the gothic ones I mean, but quite a few and somehow these two really just capture my imagination.