Cathedrals populate France like castles dot the Irish landscape. Virtually every town has one. Today, John and I — along with our friends Eugene and Claudia Miller — completed the trifecta of cathedrals sightseeing — Chartres, Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, all in one day!
We started out at the Cathredral Notre-Dame de Chartres — about an hour southwest of Paris by train. You can see the cathedral in the distance from the train — a shadowy specter rising heavenward from the flat landscape. It is an amazing monument to the mother of Christ.
It was a bitter cold, cloudy day when we entered the cathedral which is resplendent with stained glass. I can only imagine that entering the cathedral on a sunny day would be like stepping inside a rainbow as ALL light entering the cathedral at Chartres passes through colored glass.
The aspect of Chartres that I like most is the maze in the floor. The maze symbolizes our spiritual journey toward God. Early pilgrims would literally wind their way through the maze on their knees. A garden behind the cathedral featured a copy of a portion of the maze which was helpful as chairs reside on top of the most of the maze in the cathedral.
We left Chartres and returned to Paris and made a beeline to Notre Dame. While I have visited Notre Dame before, I had never toured the Treasury. Notre Dame houses relics — two of particular interest are the Crown of Thorns and a sliver of wood purported to have been taken from the Cross at Christ’s crucifixion. These relics are housed at Notre Dame’s Treasury along with a plethora of other items — everything from robes worn by Napeleon III at his coronation to cameos of every Pope since Peter. Interesting place…
Of course, Notre Dame is no slouch when it comes to stained glass either. I particularly like this one..the story of the feeding of the 5000.
Sacre Coeur was constructed in the late 1800s. It’s a beautiful light on a hill (Montmartre) overlooking the City of Lights.