PJ and I were lucky enough to shoot for two days again at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres this October. We were there for a meeting with the American Friends of Chartres, the organization that has been funding the restoration of some of the stained glass windows at the Cathedral. I’ve already posted shots from the restored choir and today’s post is to show some of PJ’s work in the ambulatory.
PJ has a thing for ambulatories – the great procession way around the choir where the pilgrims would walk to see and pray at the relics without disturbing either the church or monastic offices. She loves to shoot through the different elements and pick up the curved surfaces and the complex vaultings. It has gotten to the point that I seldom spend much time in the ambulatories because I know that she will do such a remarkable job.
In the case of Chartres, the south side of the ambulatory has recently been restored and the north side is undergoing restoration as we speak. The difference between restored and unrestored is absolutely clear in this next photograph where we see the ambulatory through the south transept.
Notre Dame de Chartres has remained in a spectacular state of preservation for eight hundred years. It has kept many of its windows, almost all of its sculpture, and its architectural integrity remains intact. These shots demonstrate the immaculate job being done to restore the Cathedral and we are able to see Notre Dame as it has not been viewed for centuries. When completed in two years, its reputation as perhaps the most perfect Gothic cathedral will be secured.
There is still a post to come on PJ’s shots when she climbed up into the “parties hautes” of the cathedral, the ancient byways built into the walls that lead to the upper levels of the church. But she must write that post in the first person because it is simply impossible to describe what you have not seen from up there. As a preview, I’ll show one shot, this taken from inside the organ high above the nave. Breathtaking.
✚ Once again, we would like to thank Caroline Berthod Bonnet, the Chargée de mission from the organization Chartres, Sanctuaire du Monde and Gilles Fresson, Professor of History and the secular coordinator at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres. Their kindess and assistance made it possible for us to take these photographs. The American Friends of Chartres is our sponsoring organization and I am very pleased to be on the AFC Board of Advisors and to take part in some small way with the remarkable work that they are doing. And finally, we would like to dedicate our work at Chartres to Madame Servane de Layre-Mathéus, President of Chartres, Sanctuaire du Monde. She is an inspiration to us all. ✚
Location: 48.447778° 1.487887°