Results 1-10of 11 Reviews
Birchircara, Malta Majjistral, Malta
April 2, 2012
From journal Get a breath of air in Paris
by Wildcat Dianne
July 28, 2009
Churches in Europe were very important places of its towns. It was a place to do business, socialize, and worship. Notre Dame de Chartres was no exception, but it took several decades for the present Notre Dame de Chartres to be built. The original cathedral was built on its present-day site in in the 9th century and burned down in a fire in 1134. The residents of Chartres were desperate for a new church and 11 years after the fire, plans for a new, bigger, and Gothic cathedral were put into motion. A tunic that is supposed to have belonged to the Virgin Mary was housed in the old Cathedral and many people thought it had been destroyed in the fire but it miraculously survived.
Construction on the new cathedral didn't begin until 1195 and building the cathedral took 66 years to complete. Mother Nature had something to say about the construction of Notre Dame de Chartres and a lightning strike in June 1194 caused a fire that destroyed much of the town and the western front of the cathedral. Fire and other natural disasters didn't stop the residents of Chartres from completing their dream church, and La Cathedral Notre Dame de Chartres was finally finished in 1260 and dedicated by the French crown on 24 October 1260.
Shaped in the form of a cross, the Nave of Notre Dame de Chartres is 92-feet long, and there are three large rose stained windows on the western front of the cathedral, the north of the building, and in the southern part of the Cathedral. The stained glass windows date from the 13th Century and have been through several wars throughout the last 750 years. The most recent time the windows went through war was from World War II when Chartres suffered through the four-year German occupation. Many of the windows were taken down by the residents of Chartres and hidden in a nearby town to prevent the windows from being destroyed during several bombings that occurred on French soil.
Some of our more braver group members were able to climb up one of the towers of Notre Dame de Chartres and look out into the main square and town of Chartres. We waved to some of our classmates and chaperones once we got up there and enjoyed the view of Chartres before heading down to shop for souvenirs and enjoy the town before leaving for Tours about a couple of hours later.
Admissions to the Cathedral are free but donations are accepted and photography is allowed. Due to having a crappy camera in 1985, only four of my photos came out and are good enough to include in this journal entry, but the one with the Western Front Rose Window came out suitable for enlarging.
From journal Holy Chartres
August 14, 2006
The town of Chartres is a nice contrast to Paris because of its size. Before or after you visit the cathedral, take some time to stroll the tiny streets and have a leisurely lunch in one of the bistros near the cathedral, which are surprisingly non-touristy. The one we went to had maybe one English-speaking staff member (I speak French), and the food was as good or better as I had at any bistro in Paris.
The cathedral itself is amazing. From the outside it is impressive certainly, but it is the inside of Chartres that earns it such fame. Chartres has some of the best stained glass of any cathedral. The color created by the sunlight through the glass is known as "Chartres Blue", and it fills the cathedral all day. The other aspects of the cathedral are also quite interesting, and an audio tour or guided tour are a good choices. While inside, don't miss the maze on the floor. Because it is outside of Paris, Chartres has less tourists than Notre Dame and is a great place for a day trip.
From journal Paris in Spring...and Summer
by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
August 23, 2004
Built around 1200, the labyrinth is one of the few remaining ones found in Gothic cathedrals. Worshippers came from all over to walk the eleven circuits of the labyrinth, sometimes on their knees, in the hope of becoming closer to God. Nowadays the labyrinth is only accessible to visitors on Fridays which was the day that I visited. There were a number of people saying prayers while following the circular labyrinth to its interior core. Although a few people took pictures I thought it was rather tacky to intrude on what appeared to be a very spiritual and moving experience for those in the labyrinth.
I did take pictures of a few of the 172 incredible stained glass windows that decorate the Cathedral. The Church used stained glass in the Middle Ages to get its message and teachings across to a mostly illiterate population. Some windows were funded by wealthy families or craft guilds and their coat of arms or logos were incorporated into the window’s design. The majority of the windows in the Cathedral date from the 12th and 13th centuries and particularly impressive are the three large circular windows, called rose windows because of their resemblance to the flower. The window above the North Portal is called the Rose of France and it was a gift from Queen Blanche, wife of Louis VIII.
During WWII all the stained glass was removed, carefully wrapped and buried to protect it from bombs. Once the war ended the windows were dug up and put back into the cathedral.
Also noteworthy are the three entrances, called portals. Above each portal are 12th and 13th century Romanesque sculptures depicting biblical scenes. The amount and quality of detail is truly amazing considering their age.
The Cathedral is open to visitors 7 days per week except Sunday mornings when services are conducted. There is no charge to enter the Cathedral but there is a cost to visit the crypt and/or to climb the 380 foot North Tower built in the 16th century. Guided tours are also available for an additional fee with extremely informative English ones conducted Monday to Saturday at 12:45 and 2 p.m.
From journal Chartres Labours of Love
by UK Flower Girl
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
June 27, 2004
The stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral cover a surface are of over 28,000 square feet. It is a world-renowned collection of over 150 windows of stained-glass. Most good guide books will have a guide to the collection. If not, pick one up before you go in. It is most helpful to have something that can tell you what you are looking at. There were some unusual windows that I enjoyed such as the Zodiac window on the south side, the Tree of Jesse on Western façade, the Redemption window on the NW side and the three rose windows.
The stained glass is definitely the best part about the church, but don’t let the stained glass distract you from the other gems in the cathedral. Take a look at the portals on the west and south sides. The portal on the south side has a New Testament relief dating from 1197-1209. The 13th century labyrinth inlaid into the floor is a common feature on old cathedrals. I didn’t get a good look at it as it was covered with chairs (which I read that it commonly is!). Pilgrims would take the route on their knees across 851-920 feet (depending on where you read into) of ground. It is located towards the western entrance and is a symbol of the path leading us from the earth towards God. Lastly, make sure you take a good look at the vaulted ceiling which supports the wide Gothic nave that reaches 121 feet.
The Veil of the Virgin relic is found at Chartres Cathedral. It is thought that the Byzantine Empress Irene gave Charlemagne a piece of fabric from the East. It was supposed to be the tunic or veil that Mary wore when it was announced that she was to be the mother of Jesus. In 876, Charles the Bald gave this to Chartres. It is only on display at certain times, it was something like Saturday from 2-3 or something totally inconvenient. If you hope to see this, check times before you go.
From journal Gems of the Loire Valley
Cary, North Carolina
June 6, 2003
From journal Paris – La Vie En Rose
espanola, New Mexico
May 24, 2002
The cathedral was almost completely silent, and what struck me first was the incredible vastness of it. The ceilings are high and domed. As i walked a few steps in the organ music started and filled the whole church. Chartres is famous for its stained glass windows, especially the blue color in them. They are beautiful and the detail in them is amazing. I read somewhere that the cathedral is built over an ancient druid worhsipping ground, and lots of their ancient practices influenced the design of the altars and the floor work.
I paid the 2.50 euro to walk up to the bell tower, where you can get an amazing view of the town of chartres. The wind was blowing me almost off the roof, and the clouds were swirling all over the sky, which made everything look very dramatic.
I loved the cathedral in Chartres much more than the Notre Dame of Paris. For one thing it's not such a tourist spot, so there isn't a camera flash going off every few seconds, or a jumble of conversations, or huge lines to get anywhere. It's also beautiful, and the stained glass is truly a wonder.
From journal paris pleasures
April 25, 2002
Chartres was an easy day trip for us from Paris via Gare Montparnasse, as we were so close to the RER at Denfert-Rochereau. To describe the indescribable is difficult; the wondrous colors of Chartres' windows must truly be seen to be appreciated; the most expert photographs of them do not do justice to their glorious impact on their viewers. My expectations were high; therefore, I braced for a let-down of those grandiose e xpectations. If anything, those expectations of the beauty of Chartres'stained glass were dim; Chartres is a truly overwhelming experience of color and light. You're impelled to drink it in.
No wonder that Malcolm Miller,the famed guide who has spent his life studying Chartres, still persists in his mission of illuminating the miracle that is Chartres. If you can, take his tour; we couldn't, but some friends of ours did, and highly recommended it to us as more than worth the cost - around $5 or $6. Tours are usually at noon and 2:45pm daily, except on holy days or special event days at the cathedral.
But our experience was a highlight for us, sans tour and sans the "guidance" of the book "Chartres Guide of the Cathedral," which we purchased in the well-stocked cathedral shop after we had spent over an hour within the cool confines of this masterpiece. Never before in my life have I been so awestruck by man-made sights as I was at Chartres' windows. As a tribute to the unifying impetus of religious fervor, the cathedral, its symmetry, sculptures and intricate choir screen, all seems dominated by those colors, those reflections that emanate from those windows. Go! Enjoy! Be overwhelmed!
From Gare Montparnasse, the train took less than an hour;walking through the quiet town took us less than 20 minutes,a tranquil stroll over a well-marked path. Some tourist shops surrounded the cathedral,as well as some charming-looking cafes, but the atmosphere was decidedly non-touristy-rather reserved and respectful of the aesthetic achievement of its grand monument to the Middle Ages. After we left the interior, we circled its exterior to view the lovely rural countryside in which it sits. Above all, aftervisions of Chartres will linger in your mind - an intensity of blues, reds and purples truly memorable,truly nonpareil-without equal. I LOVE Chartres!
From journal The "looking down" city - Ordinary Paris
San Francisco, California
December 28, 2001
One of the first examples of Gothic architecture outside Paris, Chartres is a magnificantly preserved look into medieval France.
Be sure to visit the small garden just behind the cathedral for a marvelous look over the countryside and the village.
From journal Art Historian's Paris
January 7, 2001
From journal Chartres, city with a cathedral set on a hill