Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral

The labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral was laid out in the nave of the cathedral in the early 13th Century as the church was being built. This chemin du paradis is walked even today as it was centuries ago, slowly and prayerfully, by pilgrims. On this day there were people of all ages, some with bare feet and some in shoes. Many walk the 260 meters on their knees as was the practice in the Middle Ages.

With several hundred people in the cathedral, the labyrinth was silent... a sight one does not soon forget.

Bon dimanche

Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres
Chartres, France


Sylvia K said...

Amazing history and a superb capture, Genie! I can well imagine that it is a sight that one does not forget! Great post for the day! Thank you! Enjoy, mon amie!


J. Evan Kreider said...

I'm glad you got to see it. It has been covered the last two times I visited, which can be very disappointing, though the organ on Sunday was unforgettable. Bon dimanche.

cocoa and coconut said...

I've never heard of this Cathederal. There are so many more places in Paris I must visit. Merci Genie!

Rob-bear said...

I've heard of the labyrinth at Chartres, and I've walked its form in other places.
Thank you for sharing the insights in this picture.
Bon dimanche, Génie.

Anonymous said...

Wow - Genie, another gem you have taught me today.
I really believe visiting Paris is like layering. You see different things everytime you go. BTW. I am HOME! x

beau gosse said...

Lovely! And the train ride to Chartres is a change of pace...and a chance to watch some people and scenery.

jb said...

Just excellent.
Flashbacks to this

martinealison said...

Un moment spécial et presque solennel... Très belle prise.
Gros bisous.

dive said...

What a strange and alluring photograph, Genie. I love the way you've captured the two people seemingly standing to attention.
I've not been to Chartres, but in my many photographic trawls of Parisian churches I am always amazed at the intensity of devotion. Here in England nobody bothers much with church any more except for a Sunday sing-song.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Thank you Genie,this image brings back fond memories of beautiful Chartres.I can imagine being there now.

Bon dimanche!

brattcat said...

to walk where so many have walked before you, how awesome.

Starman said...

Bon dimanche !

Cezar and Léia said...

It's very interesting, we need to visit there someday!
Like a lot this picture!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

So much history Genie, I love living in Perth, but sometimes I miss not being surrounded by things like this. Will have to do more traveling, oh if only I wasn't so afraid of flying!!By the way, I posted a stained glass window for you today Genie, Aussie style!!

cieldequimper said...

Il y a trop de monde !

Photos by Stan said...

Ahhh, Chartres! My favorite cathedral--- it's the stained glass windows and sculpture that blows me away. Of historic interest is that in Germany, the figures are found inside the churches, in contrast to France, where they adorn the exteriors. PS: Hope you are not going to start a new trend in shooting legs -- lol --

Birdman said...

Must have been a bit eerie.

M said...

I am still moved almost to the point of tears when I recall the lady "walking" the labyrinth on her knees! The quiet dance (one step forward half step back ) -- the eyes closed in silent prayer -- the peaceful reflection of inner joy on the face -- such devotion! What a great capture for the Lord's Day! Bon dimanche a toi aussi!

Malyss said...

Labyrinths are mysterious..

Virginia said...

This is a wonderful perspective. Interesting. Never knew this.

Cildemer said...

Reminds me of Fatima in Portugal! Used to go there with my parents when I was a child! People crossed the square in front of the basilique on their knees. And that square seemed so long to me!
Thanks for sharing, Genie;o)

Bises et belle semaine****

Alexa said...

This is SO special, Genie! The slight movement, the worn pavers . . . and you can almost sense the respectful silence.

Montreal Photo Daily said...

This walk of the "chemin du paradis" with you has revitalized my memory of my own walk from many years ago. Thank you Genie. :)

tHis is Belgium said...

this perspective makes the photo very interesting. Did you enjoy Chartres? very impressive isn'it ? It has been so long since I went, you always give me ideas... I must go back.

Parisian Heart said...

I visited Chartres twice, but I honestly don't recall this aspect. (My memories are of looking up at and out from the cathedral.) Thank you for sharing the photo and the history. Here's hoping I'll get to make a third visit on which I'll walk the chemin du paradis!

Gerald (SK14) said...

I'd heard of this but didn't know people actually walked it.

James said...

It's been too long since I was there because I didn't even remember this. Plus I was preoccupied because it seemed like the coldest day ever.

It's nice to be able to see and learn at your blog. :)

Jann said...

this is such a beautiful cathedral-brought back some memories.Thank you for all the information I have forgotten!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

I love this photo, and I loved the Chathedral!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Sylvia -- It was a memorable short ride ouside of Paris... merci!

Evan -- The restoration work continues although most appears to be on the exterior now... merci!

Brittany -- This one is outside of Paris in Chartres, an easy day-trip "beyond"

Bear -- Merci, mon ami

Suzi -- On my last several trips, I have taken a day "beyond" the bounds of Paris and this one was memorable

beau gosse -- The fields were a solid bright yellow from the train in April - just stunning!

JB -- You have a treasure in that photo and you won an award! It is dizzying as the vortex it is. I would fear for falling into the center. Thanks for the link!

martine -- Merci, mon amie

dive -- I have many photos of the labyrinth but did not want to show any photos of faces... It just did not seem appropriate. Glad that you like this one with the one ray of light on the floor

Ruby -- So glad that you like the photo and that it is a nice remembrance of your visit here

brattcat -- It was an awesome experience

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Starman -- Bon dimanche à vous

Léia -- You would love the thousands of stained glass windows

Grace -- I love your Aussie-style stained glass, both beautiful and colorful. Merci, mon amie!

ciel- Eh oui!

Stan -- It is amazing and we met a man who has spent his life studying the cathedral. He is English and probably the foremost authority on the history, the architecture, and the stories.

Birdman -- It was a bit but quite reverent

Marie -- I do have a photo of her walking on her knees but just did not feel right about posting. Thank you for reminding me about the "walk" and the individual rhythms of prayer. Merci... so glad that we were there that day.

Malyss -- Daughter Holly called me today to say she was reading a book called Labyrinth and did not know that I was posting this today... mysterious indeed.

ping -- Thank you for your comment. I am glad that you like my blog and my writing.

Virginia -- Merci, mon amie!

Cildemer -- I believe that I have read that, perhaps on another blog. I would love to see that basilique. Merci

Alexa -- Merci... you can see the centuries of scars on the floor

Montreal -- So glad to restore those memories, mon ami.

Anni -- We visited three churches that day and were amazed at the differences and the individual beauty of each... really enjoyed Chartres (and its cuisine)

Parisian Heart -- Yes, we climbed the circular tower steps to the very top, looking out at every opportunity to see below... I counted the steps but have now forgotten

Gerald -- Yes, but I think that there has been a resurgence of interest in labyrinths

James -- As Evan said in a comment above, when he was there this floor was covered... so perhaps. Had there been chairs in this area or if people had not been walking the labyrinth, it would likely have been missed, overshadowed by the opulence of the stained glass.

Jann -- Merci, mon amie!

Elizabeth -- So glad that you were able to experience this again.

Randy said...

That must be something to experience.

jb said...

Not only that - the museum lifted it for a 400,000+ print run brochure. Sued them for copyright violation, they settled out of court for a 4 digit Euro figure

Bergson said...

tu dois être la seule à regarder le sol car je n'ai pas de souvenir de labyrinthe

Pierre BOYER said...

Surprenant !
Je ne connais pas Chartres mais il faudra que je visite...
Très belle journée,