Monday, June 27, 2011

A Visit To Chartres And Its Cathedral

Chartres 2011
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Chartres 2011

As promised, an update on my whereabouts.
My husband and I arrived to splendid weather in Paris on Sunday morning, got our rental car and immediately drove out of town in the direction of Chartres. We had decided beforehand that we would take a little tour of the Loire valley before heading to our house in the Auvergne, just so that we explore a region of France that I have not been to in 30 years and that Glenn has never visited.
First stop on the itinerary was Chartres and its magnificent cathedral, built 1193 and 1250. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1979.
Here, in 1594, Henry of Navarre was crowned king of France, and became HenryIV.
During the French revolution,the cathedral was damaged by a mob, but the residents of Chartres protected the edifice. During World War II, the stained glass was removed and safely stored. The cathedral itself was almost bombed by the US, were it not for Colonel Welborn Barton Griffith, Jr., who challenged the orders given by superiors to destroy it. Instead, he went behind enemy lines with just one other soldier to make sure that the Germans were not using the cathedral as an observation tower.

Though the cathedral is worth a visit, the medieval town around it is a must-see in itself.
Next stop the city of Orléans. (Yes, new Orleans is named after this old city.) More photos soon, so come back.

2 comments:

Agnes said...

Fantastic pictures - esp. of the cathedral. Sharp details!! Can't believe they were able to remove the stained glass windows during WW2. They don't build like this anymore - even with the sophisticated equipments. They were building then with total devotion and belief in a religious realm - the church ruled. Not that I am for that in our modern (or any) age, but when you look at this church, wow! And thank Colonel Griffith the Americans didn't bomb it to smithereens! One person made that big a difference is being able to save what must have taken thousands to build almost a millenium ago. Looking at the cafe tables, I can't help but wonder what you and Glenn may have had for lunch (love food in France).

Abbey said...

Thank you!I visited in 1999, and still dream of returning. Did you walk the labyrinth?