Chartres Cathedral, France
In the French city of Chartres stands an intimidating cathedral so beautiful, so elegant, so historic, you can’t help but stare in awe at the edifice that lived through the reign of kings. Not only is this a sacred Catholic icon, Chartres Cathedral is something the French can be more than proud about due the superb architectural mark it’s left in human civilization.
The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site made in the Gothic style and standing prominently in 16 Cloître Notre Dame, 28000 Chartres. Seeing as how this marvel among edifices has come down to future generations so well preserved, you simply must check out the Chartres Historic Preservation Area, which is basically a town that’s survived the centuries, still thriving and still lovely. You’ll find it near the river.
Chartres Cathedral Stained Glass
Back to the Cathedral itself; take time to admire her cycle of portal sculptures. After all these centuries, they’re still intact and in superb form. You wouldn’t even be asked to turn your sights to the stained-glass windows inside. Not only are they originals, they have that ancient aura of perfection no modern stain-glass work can boast. Check out the West Rose, South Rose, North Rose and Blue Virgin Window.
Chartres Cathedral Architecture
To the architect’s eye, the Chartres Cathedral’s plan is that of a Latin cross with three aisles, and the rest is the usual. The awe-inspiring nature of the double flying buttresses supporting the nave leaves quite the impression on anyone, even a person who has no interest in architecture. Even the mismatched west spires—the one thing about the Cathedral that isn’t symmetrical—looks amazing.
You’ll see distinct influences from the Bible’s Old Testament in the North Portal. From statues of Jeremiah and John the Baptist to those of Simeon, St. Peter, Elijah and Jesus, all of them rendered in unerring detail. The Holy Modesta is one figure that’s captured plenty of attention, what with her seductive smile and happy expression. Portions of the Creation story are present too.
New Testament renderings sit in the South Portal, dating back to 1224 and 1250, where you’ll find martyrs, saints and Jesus in a very ‘good-looking’ light. The Royal Portal affords you the chance to see the Mother of God, and more besides. And to know that all this on the exterior of Chartres Cathedral!
Inside stretches the widest nave in all of France. Its height is a staggering 121 feet. There’s a 16th century astrological clock, and more besides. Don’t forget the labyrinth, which monks and pilgrims used in the 13th century to mediate as they walked along the 964 foot long path.
This fantastic Catholic cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Mother of Jesus) and John, the Baptist. This is one place where human will has left a standard to follow, probably inspired by the Divine.