Chartres (January 2018)


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Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres:


The Chartres Cathedral is one of the most beautiful and impressive Gothic cathedrals in Europe. Mostly built between 1194 and 1220 on the site of several previous smaller cathedrals, its overall architecture is almost perfectly preserved, along with its numerous 12th-century statues and its magnificent 12th- and 13th-century stained-glass windows.


West facade (12th, 13th, and 16th centuries). The 105m-high spire on the right (south) was completed around 1160. The 113m-high spire on the left (north) was erected in the early 16th century on top of an older tower.


Zoom on the west rose window.


West portal (also called Royal portal).


Central tympanum of the west portal, with Christ in a mandorla surrounded by the 4 apocalyptic beasts. The arch consists of three rows of voussoirs, the inner one depicting 12 angels and the other two 24 elders of the Apocalypse. The lintel below Christ consists of the 12 apostles, plus Enoch and Elijah at the extremities.


Statues representing biblical characters on the sides of the three gates of the west portal.



South facade.


Central porch of the south portal.


Tympanum above the central gate of the south portal depicting the last judgement.


North side of the cathedral and statues in the north portal.



Clock pavilion on the north side of the cathedral, below the north tower/spire. This pavilion and its clock were added in 1520 following the erection of the north spire. The 24-hour clock has 48 rays marking each half-hour. It is still operational.


Mechanism of the clock inside the pavilion. [Source:]


Clerestory and flying buttresses on the north side of the cathedral.


The flying buttresses seen from above.


From left to right: nave, choir and apse, and side alley (south side of the nave).


The stained glass windows of the cathedral cover a total area of about 2500 square meters. They are nearly all originals. A few date from the 12th century, notably the three lancets of the west facade, while most date from the 13th century during which they were installed over a period of about 30 years. A large number of windows represent the lives of saints or historic characters. See for more information.


- Left: south rose and lancets. Right: west rose and lancets.


- Window of the Chapel Vendome (15th century).


- Life of Saint Eustache.


- Life of Saint Lubin, bishop of Chartres from 545 to 560.


- Life of Saint Simon and Saint Jude.


- A window with two lancets: zodiac and monthly activity on the left; life of the Virgin on the right.


- Left: life of Charlemagne. Right: life of Saint Remi, bishop of Reims.


- Left: life of Saint Etienne. Right: life of Saint Mary-Magdalene.


Sections of the choir screen. The upper part of the screen consists of 40 niches, each with a distinct sculpted relief representing a biblical scene or a scene from the life of the Virgin Mary. These reliefs were created over a period of almost 200 years, from 1510 to 1720.



[The sculpture on left depicts the ritual circumcision of the Jewish baby Jesus.]


Metallic roof (″charpente de fer″) built in 1837, following the destruction of the old lead-covered roof and its timber supports.


In the crypt, most of which dates from the 11th century:


- Chapel of Our Lady of the Underground (Notre Dame de Sous-Terre).



- Wall painting dating from the 12th century.


Church Saint Aignan (16th century):


Exterior, nave, and stained glass window (″Passion and Resurrection″, 19th century).



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