Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 13- Chartres and then on to Paris!

We've come to the last day of my vacation--which makes me a bit sad.  I've been enjoying reliving the trip with you!  I already was starting to forget some of the things from earlier, so it is probably good I went through this exercise and wrote everything down. 

After one last breakfast at our chateau hotel (I definitely could have gone for a couple more days in the Loire Valley),

(One last picture of the chateau, sigh)

we boarded the bus, and headed for Chartres.  Chartres is famous for its Cathedral--Notre Dame de Chartres (Our Lady of Chartres). 

Just a quick bit about the entrance.  This is the Royal Portal, which dates to the 12th century.  An earlier church on this spot burned in 1195, but this part was saved and incorporated into the new church.

The cathedral today was built mostly between 1194 and 1250.  It is considered to be one of the best examples of French gothic style, especially since relatively few changes were made over the centuries (especially compared to other gothic churches).

(a pilgrims labyrinth, located in the nave, before the transept.  In the middle ages, if a person couldn't afford to take a pilgrim, they could come to a church with on of these)

(Form the alter, looking inside the choir)

The cathedral also has much of its original stained glass, most dating from between 1205 and 1280.

(South Rose window, depicting the New Testament)

 (South Rose Window, depicting the Old Testament)

(St. Anne holding the Virgin Mary as a baby in the middle of the South Rose Window)
Here are a couple of close ups of some of the other windows, this time off the nave of the church, that came out:

Four windows remain with Romanesque glass from the 12th century.  This glass survived a fire that destroyed the previous church on this site in 1195.

(The window on the left is 12th century.  You can really see the difference in the blue)

(12th century glass--Notre Dame de la Belle Verrière)

(West Rose Window)
Underneath the West rose window are the other surviving 12th century lancets.  Unfortunately, only one of my close ups came out:

(Tree of Jesse)

The choir screen in this church was very elaborate with gorgeous carvings, dating from 1514. 

(some even depict ordinary people)
The choir depicts the lives of Mary and Jesus.

Another interesting thing to see in this cathedral is the preservation work to clean the inside.  As we turned the corner around the ambulatory, you could really see the difference between the parts cleaned and not.

This was my favorite of the chapels off the ambulatory:
The church has a piece of a veil believed to have been worn by Mary at the birth of Christ:
And just a couple additional pictures of the church:
(statute inside the altar)

The Cathedral was all we saw in Chartres.  We headed back to the bus, and began our return trip to Paris.  A couple hours later we arrived in Paris, and the tour group broke up. 
Katherine and I then headed off our on own for the last couple of spots on our (very long) list.
Our first stop was Montemarte.  We took the metro from the hotel, and then climbed, and climbed,
and climbed to get to the top,
Where Sacre Coeur Basilica (Sacred Heart) is located!  This church is a part of the skyline of Paris, so it is very well known, but it is also relatively new--construction began in 1875, and was finished in 1914.  

The Church was completely packed!  I think I forgot to mention until this point, but this was May 1st, and Labor Day in France.  On this national holiday most things were closed--except for the cathedrals, which made this a hot spot for tourists.
Sacre Coeur has gorgeous mosaics throughout:

(Apse Mosaic--one of the largest mosaics in the world.  It depicts Jesus surrounded by some of the saints especially important to France, including Mary, St. Michael, and Joan of Arc.  A personification of France as a woman offers her crown to Jesus as well--I think it is the lady in gold under Mary's hand to the left of the Mosaic)

There was also some very nice statuary:
(ambulatory chapel)

(St. Peter)

(Immaculate heart of Mary)

(St. Margaret Mary I believe, holding a Sacred Heart)
 Finally, a couple interesting stained glass windows depicting the sacred heart and saints associated with it:

(so sad this is slightly blurry, but I am including it anyway because it is a (somewhat) modern take on a rose window)
After leaving the church (and a quick glimpse out at Paris),

(Did I mention it was really cold, foggy, and misty/rainy this day?)
we headed out to see a bit more of Montemarte.
(No, the cold did not stop us from getting ice cream...)

(umm, macaroons and chocolate!)

Because Montemarte is high above the rest of Paris, it used to have lots of windmills (one source I found on the internet said 13).  Today, two remain, collectively called the Moulin de la Galette.
The older of the two was built in 1622.
(Originally named Le Moulin Blute-Fin)
It has had many different uses within the last century--Renoir painted Bal du Moulin de la Galette (Dance at the Galette Windmill) from its time as a ballroom.
(Picture from the internet.  This is actually one of the famous paints at the Orsay that Katherine and I couldn't find)

(Originally called Le Moulin Radet)
After finding the windmills, we walked back up the hill to find a metro stop to start the next part of this day's journey--but more on that tomorrow.  Before I sign off for the night, a couple of additional pictures of Montemarte:

(Such an appropriate find on our last day in Paris!)


  1. I really wish the tour had arranged for more time in Chartres. I made the mistake of Googling the city and look at all of the other stuff there is to do! (I don't know how to hyperlink...)

    I can't believe you didn't take any photos of our amazingly glamorous rest stop lunch! ...Yeah, still a little bitter about that. :-P.

    Sacre-Coeur was CRAZY with all of the tourists, but I really liked wandering around Montmartre!

    1. I would have liked more time in Chartres and in Rouen (when the cathedral was open!) Façade, darn it! I was not using my legal training when reading the description of the tour :-P


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