I decided yesterday that I would take the advice of a French friend and continue my travels in France. I plan to proceed to a small city about an hour outside of Paris. The city is Chartres and the main tourist attraction is an ancient cathedral. There is something very special about Chartres Cathedral. It is one of the few intact French Gothic churches left in France. One of its most outstanding features are 176 stained glass windows. This is the most complete set of medieval windows in the world. In 1979 this building was recognized by UNESCO as “an essential landmark in the history of medieval architecture.” I would recommend watching this short video produced by UNESCO before we travel to the city of Chartres. It will give us a better understanding of the level of craftsmanship that was accessible in 1145 when construction was started and then reconstructed over a 26-year period after a fire in 1194. Another interesting facet of the cathedral is the labyrinth. Make sure you experience it.
I would like to recommend a novel, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. This book describes the story of a day by day, year by year, decade by decade of the construction of a medieval cathedral in England. It will help you understand not only the brilliant minds of these ancient people but also their artistic fervor of their faith. As usual, I would like to recommend one of the MVCC databases that may help you better understand the art and architecture of the Middle Ages.
See you tomorrow and remember…To be continued!