In this article, we present a laboratory astrophysics experiment
on radiative shocks and its interpretation using simple modelization.
The experiment is performed with a 100-J laser (pulse duration of about
0.5 ns) which irradiates a 1-mm3 xenon gas-filled cell.
Descriptions of both the experiment and the associated diagnostics
are given. The apparition of a radiation precursor in the unshocked
material is evidenced from interferometry diagrams. A model
including self-similar solutions and numerical ones is derived
and fairly good agreements are obtained between the theoretical
and the experimental results.