I have spent most of my adult life believing that Chartres Cathedral was easily the most impressive work of Gothic architecture in the world--largely based on an early reading of Pevsner's book on architecture, and a two-day sleeping-in-the-car visit I made about thirty-five years ago. I'm still tempted to this opinion, though Notre Dame in Paris and other grand churches now take an equal place in my list of monuments. F had never seen the church, so we arranged a nice few hours' stop on the way back to Paris from the Dordogne.
the worst in Disneyland-type exploitation, we parked a full mile from
the cathedral by a canal, and climbed hundreds of steps up to the church
as a sort of pedestrian pilgrimage. I was pleasantly surprised to find
the area around the church pretty much unchanged since my last visit,
and happy to find no fleets of tour buses. There were even surprisingly
few guided tours in operation during our visit, so that our concentration
could be given to the amazing stained glass, sculpture, stone arches,
buttresses, and proportions of this monument, clearly visible on its
hill from miles outside the bustling city.
Copyright© 2003 - Darrell Taylor