Visit Chartres Cathedral by Mouse
is another of France's medieval cities on the gateway to the Loire Valley
an hour's drive southwest of Paris. We have visited
the city at least twice, both times to see its Cathedral
, the largest in France and a Unesco World Heritage Site
. It was built in
a relatively short time span, between 1194 and 1260. As a result, like the Amiens Cathedral
, it gives the impression of an integrated
structure, except for its two bell towers which are very different. Its huge rose windows alone are worth the trip.
As far as we are concerned, Chartres is the Cathedral. We know very little about the rest of the city. However Chartres is also the
center of the French perfume manufacturing business--the cosmetic valley-- which may interest you. The tourist office web site
information about the perfume industry as well as a short history of Chartres.
This was what we wrote after a visit: " Chartres Cathedral is enormous and beautiful, of course, but its main attractions are its
stained glass windows. It is hard to believe but they date from the 13th and 14th century. Somehow they survived until the 20th century.
They were removed and stored during both world wars. Many of the scenes in the windows are illustrations of bible stories because
that was one way to provide instruction for the congregation. The money that paid for the windows came not only from kings and nobles
but also from guilds of merchants (butchers, coopers, bakers, etc.), and they wanted recognition. So the windows are not only beautiful,
but they provide a good picture of life in those days. Some show people at work, another may be of a nobleman in his fine clothes.
All of them are very brilliantly colored and even though they are so high up that it is hard to see the pictures clearly, they are
beautiful, as we hope our pictures show."