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Cathédrale de Chartres

Chartres, about 80km south-west of Paris was (sort of) on the way to Dinan so we thought we would take advantage of having the car to take a detour there.  The cathedral is considered one of the finest examples in France of Gothic architecture.

Surrounded by a maze (literally) of tiny one way streets which we comically navigated our way through – seriously, it was like an Amazing Race episode – we could see the cathedral and seemed to be fairly close but just could not for the life of us figure out how to get there – the cathedral stands majestically.  We ended up leaving the town and re-entering, following the blue “P Cathédrale” signs.  It has two remarkable spires – one is 105m high and looks relatively plain compared to the much more intricate (and slightly taller at 113m high) left spire.

The cathedral is noted for its beautiful stained glass windows, including the three large Rose Windows.  Much of the stained glass was removed from the church during World War II and stored in the surrounding countryside and returned to the church after the war.  The cathedral was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1979.

Well worth a detour if you’re in the vicinity – just remember, follow the blue “P” signs otherwise you will be  driving around in circles. Literally and figuratively!

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33 Responses to Cathédrale de Chartres

  1. Anu February 26, 2010 at 10:15 #

    beautiful! I’m surprised that there aren’t any pews.

  2. Dawn Brister (Whineaux) February 26, 2010 at 10:54 #

    Are these your photos? Lovely. You are taking me to France every day — THANK YOU. I am simmering some soupe a la’oignon at the moment, if I can’t go, I can at least EAT! Is there a brie or Camembert that is distributed in North America that you like? The ones we’ve tried so far are flat, lacking that nuttiness.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 26, 2010 at 11:45 #

      Yes they are my photos – thanks! Re: a nutty soft rind cheese, we found one to use in our tartiflette that tasted really authentically “French” if you see what I mean!

  3. k a b l o o e y February 26, 2010 at 11:01 #

    I’ve never been, so thanks for the trip by proxy. The windows and ceiling look beautiful. And I relate to the “it looks so close” syndrome. Also, the “just step into the map” like Joey from Friends when they went to London technique. As for The Amazing Race, you and Neil should do it. You can be “married couple”. Or you could fill the “noted food blogger” slot.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 26, 2010 at 11:44 #

      Nope we would just be “Neil and Mardi, living together 10 years” ;-) Unfortunately AR only accepts US citizens…. and that is not one of my 3 passports…

      • Mr. Neil February 26, 2010 at 17:45 #

        Now I always thought Amanda would be a better partner – SHE has US citizenship, so if I married her… ;-)

  4. Laura February 26, 2010 at 11:50 #

    The Chartres cathedral is fantastic, isn’t it!

  5. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best February 26, 2010 at 13:40 #

    Chartres cathedral is stunning. I think I could spend all day photographing the arches and stained glass windows. Yet another place you recommended to add to my list.

  6. 5 Star Foodie February 26, 2010 at 13:48 #

    What a beautiful cathedral, great pictures!

  7. Kate at Serendipity February 26, 2010 at 15:23 #

    Mardi, I’m having the darndest time updating my reader with your new info. I think maybe I’ve cracked it now, but we’ll have to see. I MISS you! Hugs to himself too…

  8. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) February 26, 2010 at 16:48 #

    Stunning pictures and great write up… I feel like I am travelling with you :) Keep them coming!

  9. Mr. Neil February 26, 2010 at 17:47 #

    Now from this entry, Mr. Neil the Driver Slave might JUST start to get a wee bit defensive. I thought I did an okay job. Even on icy roads. And rainstorms. And fog. And into the sun. And at 170 km/h.

    Harumph.

  10. Lauren February 26, 2010 at 20:00 #

    gorgeous photos!!!

  11. Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 26, 2010 at 21:44 #

    Beautiful photos AND an Amazing Race reference? Top post! :D

    I hope one of you started abusing the other, who then started to cry, and then you finally asked for directions from some poor local, yelling at them in baby English with a French accent and being answered by the local in perfect English. All while carrying a garden gnome.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 26, 2010 at 21:48 #

      Actually there was a fair bit of shouting at a ridiculous North American sized caravan (RV for our North American friends) that was winding its way through the streets as well and we were like “we have SO gotta get away from him”. A few minutes later after we had exited and re-entered the town, there he was, heading to the same parking garage as us. Uh huh. Eating our words indeed. Unfortunately there was no Phil standing at the top of the plateau pointing at us as we ran breathlessly towards him and there was certainly no garden gnome. We had better snacks than AR participants though!! (Haribo!)

  12. Geoff February 26, 2010 at 22:28 #

    I know a little about Mr Neil’s driving. He drives like me – quite worrying really.
    Mardi, the RV (caravan) was probably inhabited by what, in Australia are called, ‘grey nomads’. Not sure yet if that is a pejorative term.

  13. Debbie Everets February 27, 2010 at 00:09 #

    I visited the Chartres Cathedral and its Labryinth in July 2009 – it’s only available to “do” on Fridays – I walked the labrynth twice – unfortunately it was very windy and cloudy so I was unable to appreciate the stained glass windows – your photos are beautiful! I also visited some of the shops in Chartres, including a tea shop where I purchased some tea. Merci beaucoup pour les photos!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 27, 2010 at 22:42 #

      You are so welcome. We were very lucky with the weather in Chartres that day so it helps with the pictures!

  14. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 27, 2010 at 00:18 #

    Absolutely beautiful pictures! As Australia is such a relatively young country, it’s so exciting to see these buildings when we travel overseas! :D

  15. penny aka jeroxie February 27, 2010 at 18:13 #

    One day I will visit Paris!

  16. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction February 27, 2010 at 21:13 #

    Your photos are LOVELY… I feel like I am there, except that I am enjoying the view in PJ’s and snuggled in a blanket! :)

  17. Gourmantic February 28, 2010 at 18:52 #

    I’m so glad you made the detour. When we drove around France, we simply ran out of time to see Chartres. Thanks for taking me there!

  18. Fuji Mama February 28, 2010 at 20:41 #

    I LOVE Chartres! I’ve been twice. The 2nd time I attended a Sunday mass…but that was way back in December of 2000–way too long ago! Thanks for the memories and beautiful pictures!!

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