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“great cathedral”
Review of Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral
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Chartres Old Town and Cathedral Tour from Paris
Ranked #1 of 39 things to do in Chartres
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its high-Gothic art and architectural style.
Reviewed March 5, 2014

Great night light show. The cathedral is huge and takes some time to see. Entry is free. Parts of the structure are under renovation.

1  Thank gerleg12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 26, 2014

900 years of amazing. There are many impressive things about this cathedral. First is the ornate carving inside and out. The craftsmanship to make stone look like lace in unbelievable. The cathedral was being cleaned while we were there and the "after" portion where the stone is almost white looks like it was just laid. The organist was practicing also and the sound of the great pipe organ echoing in the hugh cathedral was awesome and holy. The cathedral has a small museum on the grounds that is a must to see telling the story of a great fire the destroyed the roof. After many years is was rebuilt with a lead roof, which hundreds of years later was removed to make bullets during the revolution. Again many years later is was replaced. The stained glass windows were completely removed and stored by the villagers to prevent destruction during WW2 and the reinstalled. It is a great example of Gothic Architecture.

Thank Bill W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2014

We were looking for a new day trip from Paris and this looked interesting in the reviews. It didn't live up to expectations.

The train leaves out of the station that runs the TGVs but this was definitely not a fast train. It stopped every 5 minutes or so. None of the stops- or the countryside between them- were particularly interesting. The old center of Chartres was a nice walking area but after an hour we were asking "haven't we been down this street already?". Shopping was pretty basic and there weren't a lot of pubs/restaurants.

Of course the church was beautiful, especially the stained glass, but a lot of us just aren't that into touring ancient places of worship. The interior seemed more visually appealing than Notre Dame but not on a scale with the Vatican if that helps provide perspective to fellow agnostics.

By the time we spent 62 for a couple's train fare and split a pizza with a bottle of wine the tab for the excursion topped 100 euros. After just a couple hours in Chartres we were already looking forward to getting back to Paris. While it was a nice way to while away a February afternoon there are much better ways to spend your time and money when visiting the city of lights.

2  Thank shrinkguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

We spent a day here as part of a brief Paris visit. I had not seen the cathedral for 40 years. It's undergoing restoration, and the parts that have been completed are a revelation. Much closer to what it was originally. We took a tour of both the cathedral and the crypt--both are highly recommended. Our cathedral guide was enthusiastic, informative, and very clear. The tour was 90 minutes; I wish it had been longer. You get headsets so you can hear everything that's said. The crypt guide was not quite as good, but it's still worth doing the tour so you can see this amazing space. I can only echo what others have said about how amazing the building, the sculptures, and the stained glass windows are. Seeing the cathedral, you can understand why the townspeople guarded it from the zealots of the French Revolution who damaged so many other French churches.

Thank jct263
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

I can do little more than echo what others have written about this amazing building, which is untouched by war or revolution [except for a few statues' missing hands]. Everything is monumental, but not excessively so -- the glass, the sculptural program, and the architecture of the building itself. Bigger than Notre Dame de Paris, Notre Dame de Chartres gives one an airy and spacious feeling. Its stone, quarried from the hardest rock, is perfectly carved and set. The stonemason/architect who designed this building was a genius who understood the classical geometric principles, such as the golden mean and halving the square [so evident in the proportions of the south tower]. The elongated bodies of the column figures at the portals are topped off by the most sensitively carved and realistic faces of kings, queens, prophets, saints and, of course, Jesus [just look at that serene face topping off the Last Judgment at the west portal]. The thinning of the walls, which were supported by the flying buttresses [engineering genius at work, invented by the Abbot Suger at St Denis], enabled the architect to create the light-admitting stained glass walls, each window [a section of glass wall, really] telling a biblical story. Beyond beautiful. Notre Dame de Chartres, more than Versailles, is worth a day trip [1 hour by train from Montparnasse station].

The town itself, sadly has lost much of its medieval charm. The old medieval quarter, just south of the cathedral, has been renovated and skim-coated to the point where it now looks much like any other affluent French town.

But, see the cathedral; and, if you can, do take Malcolm Miller's tour.

4  Thank schvitzNewYorkCity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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