photo blog_head_zpsonl8fonu.jpg
Meesa gonna kill you!

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

France 2010 - Day 5, Part 2 - Chartres

"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." - Oscar Wilde

***

France 2010
Day 5 - 7th October - Chartres
(Part 2)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Reliefs

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
More carvings surrounding the choir

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Oecumenical chapel - dedicated to breaching the schisms between the churches

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Icon showing Mary's veil, 18th century Russian Orthodox Church. This is particularly appropriate for this cathedral.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Processional cross from Coptic Orthodox Church and Bible printed in Amsterdam from the Dutch reformed church

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Illuminated prayer from Anglican Church

Next was their prize relic:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Ce reliquaire contient un voile vénéré comme ayant été porté par la Vierge Marie.
Provenant de Palestine, ce voile était gardé au trésor impérial de Constantinople. L'impératrice Irène l'offrit à Charlemagne. Cette relique est à la cathédrale de Chartres depuis 876"
("This reliquary contains a mantle revered as being worn by the Virgin Mary. Coming from Palestine, the veil wasan Imperial Treasure of Constantinople. Empress Irene offered it to Charlemagne. This relic has been at the cathedral of Chartres since 876")

The trace of skepticism in the description amuses me ("un voile vénéré comme ayant été porté par la Vierge Marie" vs "un voile qui a été porté par la Vierge Marie"). From Wikipedia: "The Sancta Camisa... According to legend, the relic was given to the cathedral by Charlemagne who received it as a gift from Emperor Constantine VI during a crusade to Jerusalem, however this legend was pure fiction (Charlemagne never went to the Holy Land) - probably invented in the 11th century to authenticate some relics at the Abbey of St Denis. In fact, the relic was a gift to the cathedral from Charles the Bald and there is no evidence for its being an important object of pilgrimage prior to the 12th century."

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
More stained glass

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Side

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Side: from the floor with a mini-tripod

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Chapel. According to sacred-destinations.com this is: "Notre Dame de Pilar, the Black Madonna of Chartres"

What is the Black Madonna? According to a book on the subject of the same name:

"Mia Montrose, archaeological linguist, has discovered that the Black Madonna is a code used by secret societies throughout time for the lost key to an ancient power source: the Sphere of Amenti"

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Organ

I then went to join the crypt tour at 11am. Unlike big Chinese (and Japanese) temples, entrance to large churches is almost always free (the only ones I can think of that charge for admission are Westminster Abbey and Lincoln Cathedral [Addendum: Many other large British churches also charge you for entry] - even St Peter's Basilica in Rome is free. So entering the crypts and/or climbing their towers are good ways of contributing to their upkeep.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Set into the wall where I waited for the crypt tour - this has something to do with a pilgrimage from Brussels to Chartres to Lourdes, which is called "El Rocio"

Then I entered the crypt. Our guide was an old man who spoke quite slowly (perhaps for my benefit, or maybe just because old people tend to speak more slowly), and there were only 2 people on the tour (the other was a mature woman).

According to Philip Coppens (who devotes a few paragraphs to it), it is the largest in the world after St Peter's and Canterbury.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Modern stained glass. Ugh!

The stained glass in the crypt had been smashed during the Revolution, but the Cathedral above was preserved as a "temple à la raison" (Temple to Reason)

Unfortunately there was an electricity problem so lighting was not as good as it was supposed to be.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Half of the wall and pillar are the Gallo-Roman and Catolingian part of the crypt (5th-8th centuries). As with other old churches they keep building on the remains of older ones.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The Celts did some druidic thing with the 34m deep well, and it was mentioned by Caesar in his Gallic Wars. I think he said this was an important cult centre.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Hand and stars on the ceiling - the hand dates from the 17th century and the stars from the 12th

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Hall

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The original Virgin was from the 11th entury. This is a copy - the old one was destroyed during the Revolution

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Reliquary: this is the other part of the Cathedral's prize relic (the reliquary is from the 19th century). It miraculously survived a fire, but not the French Revolution - it got cut up and only 2 pieces remain.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Fresco from end of 12th/early 13th century. Byzantine influence can be seen.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Allegory of the Virgin, 19th century. I was a bit embarrassed at holding the other 2 back as this was just at the exit, so I didn't get the chance to snap a few more (going by the law of large numbers, even with a lousy camera and/or unsteady hand and/or poor lighting, if you take many shots at least one should turn out alright - thought with this lousy camera, even shots with my [relatively] steady hand in bright light were sometimes bad)

Next, I indulged in my favourite form of exercise: climbing cathedral towers.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us


View of Chartres from tower

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Spire

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Waterspout

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Figure with book

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Beware: Slippery steps by wet weather. Possible blasts by windy weather."

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
A last dose of Stained Glass

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Side again. I didn't have a pro tripod like the lady. Too bad (I wouldn't want to lug it around anyway).

There was a famous English-language cathedral tour by Malcolm Miller. Unfortunately the tours started at noon so I had not planned on taking one, as there were still things I wanted to do in Paris (I'd get back at 3:30-4pm). I asked him how long the tour would be and after cracking a bad joke (which the group around him obligingly laughed at) he said it'd take 1 hr 15 minutes, which didn't work with the train timings anyway (I'd have to wait almost 1.5 hours for the train). By skipping the tour I'd reach Paris at 1:30-2pm.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Malcolm Miller

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Hommage de la ville de Chartres à Fulbert. Evêque de 1006 à 1028. Reconstruisit la Cathédrale et assura aux écoles de Chartres une renommée européenne"
This mutant is supposed to be Fulbert, the bishop from 1006 to 1028. I wasn't aware that the schools of Chartres were famous throughout Europe, but there you have it...

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Cathedral Square, and Tourist Office

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Schoolkids going off for lunch

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Histoire de l'art"
("History of Art")

Besides its Cathedral, Chartres also had half-timbered houses and a house where someone had done something with crushed seashells, but I had seen the former in Bayeux (and has a suspicion I'd see them in the rest of France) so I had decided I'd rather return to Paris to see other things.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Les hommes naissent et demeurent libres et égaux en droits: les distinctions sociales ne peuvent être fondées que sur l'utilité commune."
("Men are born and live free and equal in rights: social distinctions can only be founded on common benefit")
Commemoration of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, with what is probably l'Hôtel de Ville (the Town Hall) in the background.

From the cathedral to the station I saw 3 kebab shops. I think in the last 4 days in Paris I'd only seen 2 (partly because of the areas I went to).

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Restaurant Babylone". But the Sin of Babylon is Haram...

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Patricia BELLIA-MAUGAS. Notaire. Successeur de Mes DARGET, AMBELOUIS ET PLATRIER"
Nice to know that she follows a long line of notaries.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Lady Liberty with what looks like a chamberpot

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
This must be the shortest train I've ever seen (you can see the driver so you know it's not an empty car awaiting linkage with another). The second shortest train I'd seen had 2 of such cars linked and was on the Dutch border with Germany, to go to Aachen. There was also a similar 2-car contraption on the Berlin S-Bahn, but that falls into the category of rapid transit rather than bona fide rail, so.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Kebab lunch. Turkey was a strange meat to blend with beef in a kebab.


I was wondering if I should visit Amiens for its cathedral too, but decided that one great cathedral was enough for this trip, and it could wait till my next trip to France.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes