Chartres Off The Beaten Path

  • Clown  at the Cathedral
    Clown at the Cathedral
    by Toyin
  • West Front
    West Front
    by hquittner
  • View from the cathedral
    View from the cathedral
    by Beausoleil

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Chartres

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    St.-Pierre Church: The Next Step in Stained Glass

    by hquittner Updated Jul 27, 2007

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    West Front
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    St.-Pierre is less than 0.8 km from the Cathedral to the South, down the hill and up the next but a smaller one. (It is approached in our Walk Travelog). It is a mixture of styles being started in the 12C and continuing for almost 200 years with modifications. It has an old unadorned Romanesque entrance and bell-tower that was re-used. The roof of the nave has a wooden ceiling somewhat like a ship-keel one . The most spectacular thing in the church is the stained glass, most of which is from the late 13C (after the Cathedral was finished). By this time "color science" had progressed and yellow (from silver metal) and pale green softened the palette. The pieces of glass were more regular and thus the figures were more supple and active. (David has clearly got a "bead" on Goliath). It was a pleasant surpriseas were thr Annunciation and Nativity.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Meslay-le-Grenet: The Old Wooden Church

    by hquittner Written May 5, 2007

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    The Pieta
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    This 15C Church is an example of a double nave hall church. It ha a fine wooden pulpit and a ship-keel wooden roof which is inscribed with coats-of arms of nearby ancient aristocracy. The walls are covered by two levels of primitive murals of the late 15C. The upper level contains the Passion and the legend of the the Encounter between the Three Knights and the Three Dead Men (The Triumph of Death). The lower level is the depiction of the Danse Macabre. Only a few examples of this unusual memento mori reain in Europe and ths may be the best. (The light is not ideal ).

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Meslay-le-Grenet: La Danse Macabre

    by hquittner Updated May 5, 2007

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    Scheduled for Death: Cardinal, King, Bishop, All
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    Just 15 km from the center of Chartres is this town of 160 persons. In the "town" is a 15C wooden church whose walls are decorated with finely drawn figures illustrating that nobody can escape the Black Death or extrapolated that we all must die sometime. This visit is only possible for independent travellers who have their own vehicle (owned or rented) and was a dividend for us from carefully planning our trips back in the old days before the Internet and by looking at every guidebook we could find, etc. This remarkable place showed up in a Michelin guide. It is a must see for anyone driving South to or from Chartres. The illustration of the Danse Macabre is found very infrequently, many have been destroyed by war and time. We add under Chartres>Customs what we know about the Danse and also information on the Encounter of the 3 Living with the 3 Dead, also illustrated on the church walls (in the same place)

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    See the Ruined St. Andre

    by hquittner Written Apr 14, 2007

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    The Nave (toward the West)
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    Down the stairs of the very steep slope behind the Cathedral is the River Eure. Just above its bank is the decayed Romanesque Abbey Church of St. Andre (12C). The large nave is intact and has thick local stone columns with Corinthian capitals and a flat wooden roof. A fine chapel has ribbed vaulting with central bossing(16C) and stone tracery large windows. The church has fallen away, from the choir onward, and has been walled off at this point. The defect can be studied from outside by crossing the Eure (see our Walk Travelog). It only takes a few minutes

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Hang Out Around the rue du Cygne

    by hquittner Written Apr 14, 2007

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    Monceau Monument
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    This relatively wide walking street meets at a left angle the Pl. Monceau creating an open space only a few blocks from the Cathedral. It was also a short distance to our hotel and since there were several eateries here, it was the best place to come for relxation and food.There is a severe monument on a planted flower platform in the Place to (I feel sure) Monceau, a 27 yr. old Chartrain general killed in battle in 1796. His funeral urn is under the statue I described in the weirdly named Pl. des Epars.(I wish I knew the whole story). Several mornings a week a flower market occurs here, hence the stalls that we picture. There are several eateries within a few yards. When we were here, many years ago, we had a ten yr. old grandson in tow for his first trip to France and his diet consisted of "steack et frites et salade verte", ideal for a brasserie which it then was. Today it is a Pizzeria which would have suited him even better.(See Roma Nostra Tip).

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Consider Visiting the Musee des Beaux Arts

    by hquittner Updated Apr 14, 2007

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    An Inside View
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    The Museum occupies the Bishop's Palace at the NE corner of the Garden behind the Cathedral. Photography is not allowed and I do not think there was a catalog. I am not sure if there was a fee. If you have lots of time and your eyes and mind are not tired , there a number of interesting 17 & 18C French paintings (Teniers and Champaigne) and a fine Zurbarin and some by Vlaminck! There are excellent tapestries and a special set of enamels by L. Limousin and the building is a delight in itself.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Chartres Itself Appears to Be"Off the Beaten Path"

    by hquittner Written Apr 12, 2007

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    Pl. des Epars (Hotel Grand Monarque in background)

    How can the center of a city of 40K+ population be "off the beaten Path"? Only if 99.9% of visitors are day-trippers from Paris intent on only "seeing" the most famous Gothic Cathedral in the world. But given the lack of subcategories for Chartres, we must put our other Chartres experiences here or they will be lost with time. Our Intro explains why we stay in Chartres and our pictures illustrate why we like it. This is where we parked our car (just opposite the Hotel Grand Monarque, where we stayed-See Tip), in the Pl. des Epars. The G.M. Hotel show its 18C facade in the background. (I have lost my notes and do not know to whom this statue is dedicated.). It is an easy walk from here to the Cathedral. In fact, other than the pronounced ups and downs in places, Chartres is an easy walk , being about 3km in circumference and about 1 km in diameter.

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    Don't miss this incredible folk art

    by rexvaughan Updated Mar 2, 2007

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    MAISON PICASSIETTE
    This amazing house and garden is literally covered with excellent and beautiful mosaics done by a local man who collected shards of glass and colored crockery and did this in his spare time. In some ways it is even more remarkable than the famous cathedral in Chartres. It is on the opposite side of town from the train station and is about a 20 minute walk from the cathedral. Coupled with a visit to the cathedral, seeing Maison Picassiette will leave you thinking Chartres has special inspiration for artists.

    The main photo is a panoramic so click it to see the full expanse of the garden wall and walkway.

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    Clown at the Cathedral

    by Toyin Written Jul 24, 2005

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    Clown  at the Cathedral

    Just outside the cathedral is this clown as I call him..He has a pigeon, a rooster and a hen that are well programmed. These birds seems to know exacly what to do and you pay only 2 euros to have his picture taken.

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  • shrimp56's Profile Photo

    Look carefully for the details ...

    by shrimp56 Updated Jul 16, 2005

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    On the left is a figure holding a sundial. It is on the corner of the cathedral as you go around to the south side -- but you could easily miss it.
    .
    Perhaps it's because I am short that I forget to look up -- but this time I was rewarded with a 21st century contrail behind the spire of a gothic cathedral!

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Visit a quiet garden right behind the cathedral!

    by Beausoleil Written Mar 5, 2005

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    View from the cathedral

    If you walk around to the back of the Cathedral Notre Dame, there is an unexpected garden in the rear. Directly behind the cathedral is an amazing view over the city and clear out into the country (on a clear day). There is a small garden maze below the viewpoint and if you continue around the back of the cathedral you come to the Beaux Arts Museum and several benches under the trees.

    We like to sit in the little park and do our postcards. The Beaux Arts is definitely worth a visit and there are great photo ops in the little park.

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    Other ancient churches

    by rexvaughan Written Sep 8, 2004

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    As we walked back from Maison Picassiette we passed at least two other churches in Chartres that were from the 12th and 13th Centuries. This one is the Abbey Church of St. Pierre. As this was a day trip we did not have time to explore them, but put them on the agenda for our next trip to Chartres. I probably would have known about these if I had done adequate research, but I seldom do. Besides, it once again affirms my Yogi Berra rule of travel: "You can see a lot by observing." Main attractions like the cathedral should not be missed, but there are frequently lesser known places and sights of interest and it feels like you have gotten a bonus when you discover them.

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  • shrimp56's Profile Photo

    The town of Chartres

    by shrimp56 Updated Jun 23, 2004

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    Chartres

    Most people make a bee-line for the cathedral and miss the town. In fact many probably don't remember these buildings right next to the cathedral itself!
    .
    Do take the time to explore the old winding streets and the riverbank.

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    A monument to children

    by shrimp56 Written Jun 23, 2004

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    This monument is to children who died for their country for this region - Eure et Loire. It is in a small park between the train station and the cathedral and is well worth a pause.

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    The view from the back of the cathedral

    by shrimp56 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Not everyone makes it back here -- the view over the terraced gardens and across the countryside is worth it though!

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Chartres Off The Beaten Path

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