Situated in 96 kilometers southwest of Paris on the river Eure, the city of Chartres harbors one of the most treasured monuments of European architecture, the Chartres Cathedral. This stone poem attracts thousands of tourists for a reason ― the place is unique in many respects. Comfort Tours offers a comfortable trip from Paris for you to enter this fully preserved piece of Gothic glory.
Chartres cathedral: a private guided tour to remember
The driver will pick you up at your hotel, and on your way to Chartres, the guide will convey the history of this commune founded by Celtic tribes. You will also learn why the title “Capital of Light and Perfume” was coined and what famous artists used to live there at different moments of time.
Chartres sights are numerous, but the most famed one is, undoubtedly, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres. Unlike many other pieces of cultural heritage, it has never been massively reconstructed or rebuilt. Therefore, you can enjoy the original Gothic style, unchanged throughout the epochs. The location of the cathedral was loved by the local population ― it had been occupied with several wooden places long before the present cathedral was erected. The devastating fires of 1194 destroyed the old cathedral and it was decided to start the building of the Notre-Dame de Chartres the same very year. People all over the France contributed to the construction with what little money they had or by taking part in the works. It took more than 26 years to construct the Chartres cathedral and our private guided tour is possible only by sheer luck or divine intervention ― the cathedral managed to survived all latter wars and cataclysms unscathed and unpilfered, even all the 12th century windows are still intact.
The poem of light and stone
The sepulcher and some towers are actually a part of an even more ancient cathedral ruined by the fire. These elements carry the earlier architectural style ― a further contribution to the uniqueness of the Chartres cathedral. During your Day trip from Paris, the guide will speak about the history and architectural peculiarities of the building and its surroundings in great detail.
An overwhelming fact: the ensemble of sculptures contains more than 4000 figures! It would take weeks to explore them all thoroughly. But the place is revered not only by the connoisseurs of fine arts. Many people are willing to make a pilgrimage to this site and bow before the Santa Camisa, the piece of cloth worn by the Virgin Mary at the moment Jesus Christ’s birth. The remarkable inside atmosphere of the church is created by 176 stained-glass panels.
The sunrays come through the multifaceted panes and fall on the floor and walls in a magical palette of deep vivid colors. The mosaics of the windows are not only colorful ― each of them is masterfully created to convey a deeply symbolic religious meaning. Looking at them is like watching the history of Christian world unfold itself in front of your eyes. It is asserted that the coloring technology for the stained glass has since been lost. Thus, Notre-Dame de Chartres is the only place where you can see this peculiar “Chartres blue” glass.
Another unique feature of the cathedral is the maze in the aisle. Finished in 1205, it is considered one of the largest ones ever constructed. The maze has only one way out and symbolizes the journey of the believer towards the God. Pilgrims still use it for meditations even today. Other remarkable features of the cathedral are the charnel underneath the nave, pillars of different visual styles, the frontispiece with figures and magnificent arch-boutants.
A 15th century chronometer is a true masterpiece of medieval art and technology. It was designed to show time, day of the week, sunrise, sunset, phases of the Moon and current Zodiac. Outside the cathedral there are two pleasant gardens to have a walk around: the bishop’s garden and the maze garden that is over 200 years old. Both of them are carefully planned and combine natural beauty with a touch of artistic hand.
Towards the end of your private tour to Chartres and Chartres Cathedral you’ll have an opportunity to explore the city for the rest of its places of interest. Then the driver will take your back to your hotel in Paris.