Friday, February 26, 2010

Chartres, France

Yesterday we took a trip to the quaint little town of Chartres, France. It was refreshing to be in a small town with less hustle and bustle and more open space.

A little taste of the quaint-ness of Chartres--no one around!

We went to see the Notre Dame de Chartres, which is actually 500 years older than the Notre Dame de Paris, which is the one The Hunchback of Notre Dame is based after. We had this awesome British tour guide named Malcom Miller who has been giving tours of Chartres Cathedral for over 50 years. He has written books on it and has traveled all over the world to talk about it. Needless to say he was a very good tour guide, and his racial slurs made it even better :).

Notre Dame de Chartres

We climbed to the top of the tower on the left....

...and this was our view:

I did not realize how ridiculously out of shape I was until I had to climb hundreds of steep, winding stairs to the top. It definitely justified eating a pastry or two.

Looking down at the other tower.

Our guide used the time to teach us about the stained glass windows. Some of the windows of Chartres are the oldest stained glass windows in the world that are still in tact. They date back to the 12th century. Each window was made with the intent to teach the Catholics about the Bible. There are stories portrayed in each picture, and in each picture resides an unbelievable amount of symbolism. I guess I had the idea that stained glass windows were made to add beauty, and I did not realize how much thought went into each little part of each little
window that makes up a bigger window that makes up a bigger window...

Malcom told us that we needed about two weeks with him to scratch the surface of Chartres. He related it to BYU's library. If we spent two hours in the library we would hardly learn anything relative to how much information is there. Chartres is a library and we were only there for two hours. Malcom has been there for over 50 years and still doesn't know everything there is to know. Wow.

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