Inside the Chartres Cathedral, France
December 27, 2010 MuseumChick
After wandering through the narrow streets of Chartres, France in our rented Smart Car and taking pictures of the quaint houses that seemed to be out of a fairy tale, the Chartres Cathedral gradually exposed itself through the trees as we wound closer. I was enjoying sight seeing with my head and camera out the window but I really came to Chartres to see the Chartres Cathedral.
Approaching the entrance I could see why this medieval cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of high gothic architecture and is also beautifully well preserved with all its original stained glass windows. No small feat since it has endured the French Revolution, World Wars and many natural disasters.
What I found most interesting are the contrasting spires. This one below is the earlier spire dating from 12th century and designed in a plain Romanesque pyramid.
Severely contrasting is the spire below, a Flamboyant Gothic spire dating from the 16th-century. This must have been a modern addition to jazz the place up.
Inside we did a tour with a knowledgeable scholar who conducts tours almost every day. Though the chairs are covering it, there is an ancient floor labyrinth from 1205. This cathedral was a popular pilgrimage destination by the 12th century and pilgrims would come to follow the 964 foot long labyrinth on their knees.
The rose windows were most impressive. The colors were vivid, like they were just washed and the intriguing stories they told were translated by our guide, though I don’t remember them and wouldn’t be able to read them on my own.
You can see in the next two pictures where the church has been beautifully cleaned and restored. The bright white and cream bricks make for a more joyous feeling opposed to the dirty grey brick solumn look.
©2010 Danee Gilmartin All rights reserved