Chambord and headed to Chartres. Since it was along the
way, we stopped for lunch in Tours. We got a lesson on
French food schedules, as most of the places we tried were
closed for lunch. Lunch, you see, is from 1200 to 1400
only. So, if you want to eat at a regular restaurant, pay
attention to the time. We did finally find a one-man-shop
that was willing to cook for us and it was good. After
eating, we headed on to Chartres to see the stained glass in the
cathedral and then on to Paris for our last hotel stay on this
The photos below are what we saw.
narrow streets of the medieval portion of Tours provided
interesting sights, but the sight we were seeking was an "Open"
sign on a restaurant. We had to hike awhile to find one
that would serve us.
the way I spotted this sign on a bar. I think that
something got lost in the translation here. I am just
guessing that "Bitch on the Sex" was supposed to be "Sex on the
Beach" (as in the cocktail, not the act) but we were in France
so one can never know.
parking in Tours downtown Saturday during a flea market was
challenging. We found a parking structure that had turns
so tight that we thought we were going to tag the side of the
rental car (BMW 530). We did finally find one of the last
spots on the roof. From the roof we got a nice view of the
cathedral at Tours, a large and intricate structure. Note
the detailed carvings on the top and the delicate spire.
After eating, we headed on to Chartres to see the large
first view of the cathedral at Chartres. Constructed
between 1194 and 1250 A.D. this structure is considered to be
one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and is
a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This structure is the last
of 4 churches to occupy this site with the first being
constructed in the fourth century. The cathedral at
Chartres has two contrasting styles for its spires. The
shorter one was completed in 1160 and the slightly taller one
completed on an older spire in the early 16the century in the
so-called Flamboyant style.
The entire structure at Chartres is very well preserved. The stained glass is exceptional, however, with most of the glass being unmodified since its installation in the early 13th century. The stained glass was intended as messaging for the masses. Since they were generally illiterate, these were iconographic. They are read left to right from bottom to top and usually depict a message from the bible typically ending with Jesus at the top or it is a depiction of local life.
panel does not have a religious context.
glass was truly impressive but very hard to shoot due to the dim
light. These intricate and detailed panes were removed
from the cathedral during WWII to prevent damage.
incredible to think that the glass was constructed in the 1200s.
alcove was different.
stone carvings were some of the most intricate we saw on the
entire trip. Truly awe-inspiring. It is a wonder it
was not damaged during the war.
small panel depicts Christ on the cross.
windows were very detailed and very busy.
time and money were thrown at the construction of these windows
"back in the day".
my best efforts (and bad eyesight in dim light) I could not
interpret these panels.
was a live Mass in progress when we arrived at Chartres, so that
limited our ability to photograph and see everything.
shutter speed for this shot was about 1/10sec, but my little
camera has very good image stabilization.
alcove over the altar.
the mass in progress, we could not see the altar up close.
entrance portals were detailed and complex.
the heads at the lower portion of the photo had suffered some
skill required to do the stone carving was truly remarkable.
contrasting styles of the two spires.
down the side of the structure.
sundial from 1578.
flying buttresses support the tall walls.
the outside support structure for one of the stained glass
panels. The whole structure was out of wrought iron.
I saw no
documentation about the identities of the individuals
represented as statues.
the alcoves from the outside. Again note the wrought iron
backing for the stained glass windows.
in the grass on a lower level of the cathedral grounds.
were other church-related structures on the grounds.
you don't see every day: a couple of baby ferrets on
leashes. These guys are fast but seemed to be playfully
enjoying their day out.
side of the cathedral showing the flying buttresses and the
outside of the stained glass windows.
parting shot of the external statues at Chartres. Note
that two of these fellows are standing on the backs of
commoners. Also note the twist direction of the spiral
columns are not all the same.
finished at Chartres we headed toward our hotel in Paris.
We slugged it out in slow traffic for most of the trip.
Above, we came upon a fire of some kind along the side of the
highway that was burning out of control.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2013,
all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.