.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in French. (December 2008) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the French article. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at [[:fr:Soissons]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|fr|Soissons)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
City hall
City hall
Coat of arms of Soissons
Location of Soissons
Soissons is located in France
Soissons is located in Hauts-de-France
Coordinates: 49°22′54″N 3°19′25″E / 49.3817°N 3.3236°E / 49.3817; 3.3236Coordinates: 49°22′54″N 3°19′25″E / 49.3817°N 3.3236°E / 49.3817; 3.3236
CantonSoissons-1 and 2
IntercommunalityGrandSoissons Agglomération
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Alain Crémont[1]
12.32 km2 (4.76 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019)[2]
 • Density2,300/km2 (6,000/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
02722 /02200
Elevation38–130 m (125–427 ft)
(avg. 55 m or 180 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Soissons (French pronunciation: ​[swasɔ̃]) is a commune in the northern French department of Aisne, in the region of Hauts-de-France. Located on the river Aisne, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of Paris, it is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones. Soissons is also the see of an ancient Roman Catholic diocese, whose establishment dates from about 300, and it was the location of a number of church synods called "Council of Soissons".


Soissons enters written history under its Celtic name, later borrowed into Latin, Noviodunum, meaning "new hillfort", which was the capital of the Suessiones. At Roman contact, it was a town of the Suessiones, mentioned by Julius Caesar (B. G. ii. 12). Caesar (B.C. 57), after leaving the Axona (modern Aisne), entered the territory of the Suessiones, and making one day's long march, reached Noviodunum, which was surrounded by a high wall and a broad ditch. The place surrendered to Caesar.

From 457 to 486, under Aegidius and his son Syagrius, Noviodunum was the capital of the Kingdom of Soissons,[3] until it fell to the Frankish king Clovis I in 486 after the Battle of Soissons.

Part of the Frankish territory of Neustria, the Soissons region, and the Abbey of Saint-Médard, founded in the sixth century, played an important political part during the rule of the Merovingian dynasty (447–751). After the death of Clovis I in 511, Soissons was made the capital of one of the four kingdoms into which his states were divided. Eventually, the kingdom of Soissons disappeared in 613 when the Frankish lands were amalgamated under Chlothar II.

The 744 Council of Soissons met at the instigation of Pepin the Short and Saint Boniface, the Pope's missionary to pagan Germany, secured the condemnation of the Frankish bishop Adalbert and the missionary Clement of Ireland.[4]

During the Hundred Years' War, French forces committed a notorious massacre of English archers stationed at the town's garrison, in which many of the French townsfolk were themselves raped and killed.[5] The massacre of French citizens by French soldiers shocked Europe; Henry V of England, noting that the town of Soissons was dedicated to the saints Crispin and Crispinian, claimed to avenge the honour of the saints when he met the French forces at the Battle of Agincourt on Saint Crispin's Day 1415. The town was liberated by French troops under the command of Joan of Arc on July 23, 1429.

Between June 1728 and July 1729 it hosted the Congress of Soissons an attempt to resolve a long-standing series of disputes between the Kingdom of Great Britain and Spain which had spilled over into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1727–1729. The Congress was largely successful and led to the signing of the Treaty of Seville between them.

During World War I, the city came under heavy bombardment. There was mutiny after the disastrous Chemin des Dames offensive at the Second Battle of the Aisne. A statue erected with images of French soldiers killed in action in 1917 is behind the St Peter's Church, next to the Soissons Courthouse.

Panorama of Soissons in ruins in 1919
Panorama of Soissons in ruins in 1919


Today, Soissons is a commercial and manufacturing centre with the 12th century Soissons Cathedral, the ruins of St. Jean des Vignes Abbey and the cypt of the former abbey of Saint-Médard as three of its most important historical sites. The nearby Espace Pierres Folles contains a museum, geological trail, and botanical garden.


Panoramic view of the Cathedral
Panoramic view of the Cathedral
The ruins of the Abbey of St Jean des Vignes.
The ruins of the Abbey of St Jean des Vignes.

Main article: Soissons Cathedral



Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 7,675—    
1800 7,229−0.85%
1806 8,126+1.97%
1821 7,765−0.30%
1831 8,149+0.48%
1836 8,424+0.67%
1841 9,152+1.67%
1846 10,143+2.08%
1851 9,477−1.35%
1856 7,875−3.64%
1861 10,208+5.33%
1866 11,099+1.69%
1872 10,404−1.07%
1876 11,089+1.61%
1881 11,112+0.04%
1886 11,850+1.29%
1891 12,074+0.38%
1896 12,373+0.49%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 13,240+1.36%
1906 14,334+1.60%
1911 14,458+0.17%
1921 14,391−0.05%
1926 17,865+4.42%
1931 18,705+0.92%
1936 20,090+1.44%
1946 18,174−1.00%
1954 20,484+1.51%
1962 23,150+1.54%
1968 25,890+1.88%
1975 30,009+2.13%
1982 30,213+0.10%
1990 29,829−0.16%
1999 29,453−0.14%
2007 28,471−0.42%
2012 28,309−0.11%
2017 28,530+0.16%
Source: EHESS[7] and INSEE (1968-2017)[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French). data.gouv.fr, Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 13 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2019". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Soissons" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 352.
  4. ^ Dierkens, Alain (1984). "Superstitions, christianisme et paganisma à la fin de l'epoque mérovingienne: A propos de l'Indiculus superstitionem et paganiarum". In Hervé Hasquin (ed.). Magie, sorcellerie, parapsychologie. Brussels: Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles. pp. 9–26.
  5. ^ "At Agincourt : Chapter XIX. Agincourt by G. A. Henty @ Classic Reader". classicreader.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  6. ^ John James, The Template-makers of the Paris Basin, Leura, 1989.
  7. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Soissons, EHESS. (in French)
  8. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE