Chartres Cathedral

Can anyone on the board who has visited the Chartres cathedral recently please comment on the impact of the restoration for visitors?

I read on this web site that the Chartres cathedral is currently undergoing restoration. Rick implies that most of the interior is covered up inside:

Has anyone been there this year, and can you let me know how obtrusive the scaffolding is?

(Sorry for repost, I had posted this as a reply on another thread and did not get any responses so thought I would try it as a separate topic).

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

This from a buddy who was there in February: 'scaffolding is localized and you can see through most of it'. Paraphrased, but that's the gist. I have no elaboration.

Posted by Darren
Boulder, CO, USA
665 posts

Hi Vernon,
I visited Chartres in May and the scaffolding was present inside, but by no means opaque. You could still be awed by the magnitude of this cathedral. I wouldn't let the scaffolding deter you.

Posted by Andrea
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
607 posts

I was there in February and took the Malcolm Miller tour. His words, paraphrased : "you are lucky to be here now, not in a few weeks when the next stage of restoration will begin". He seemed to think that lots would be covered up.

Posted by Tyler
San Francisco, California, USA
446 posts

I was there in December and also took the Malcolm Miller tour. I don't recall any of the stone glass windows being covered up at that time, but outside, they were working extensively on one part of the cathedral and had it covered up with scaffolding. But, I do also recall that Malcolm mentioned that more extensive restoration inside was going to start soon.

This can be disappointing, but what can you do? They really do need to restore the cathedral.

In Paris, I visited the Sainte Chapelle, and it's main altar is also undergoing restoration, so my visit was somewhat of a disappointment.

Posted by Cynthia
38 posts

I was there last week and didn't notice much of the restoration until I had walked through the cathedral a couple of times. You won't miss much -- and the part that is finished is breathtaking. If they clean the whole interior as they have cleaned the center it will appear to be a whole different church.

Here's a link to a blog post about Chartres.

I hope you visit - it's marvelous.

Posted by Judy
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
1 posts

We are planning to go to Chartres this coming Friday-- August 6,2010. Is it worth the effort or does the restoration work just take away too much.

Posted by Sarah
St. Louis, MO USA
1645 posts

I was there 3 years ago and the whole east facade was covered by scaffolding. I think that's just the nature of old buildings in Europe - there's always work to be done on them. But it's still worth going, no matter what they're doing inside. You can visit the crypt and "labyrinth" or climb the tower, also.

Posted by Randy
Minneapolis, MN, USA
1525 posts

On our recent 5-week trip all over central Europe, I can't think of a single major sight we saw that WASN'T under restoration.

It's frustrating, but they generally do a good job of keeping the closed-off portions localized so that tourists can still admire the rest.

I wouldn't let it bother you or stop you. If it did, you would wind up not seeing much at all, anywhere.

Posted by Margaret
Bel Air, MD
37 posts

We were there in late June. There was scaffolding in the front, so you couldn't see the Rose window. You can still climb the tower. The best part for me was looking at the areas that had been restored. The nave and parts of the outside have been cleaned. It's amazing to see the transformation. It is noisy, so it's not exactly the serene experience you might expect. If you go in the evening the workers are not there. My daughter and I vowed to go back when it's all finshed, it will be spectacular.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Arghhhh! How far down was this one? The reason the sancturary is nearly complete is because in the intervening two years the cathedral has been torn down and rebuilit seven hundred meters to the north.

Posted by Larry
Haverhill, MA, USA
1 posts

Hi, I was at Chartres Cathedral on 4/18/12. The work on the sanctuary is nearly complete and the scaffolding will be taken down in May. From what we could see it is absolutely stunning! I'm just sorry that we were a few weeks early, but the visit was worth it!

Posted by Paula
New York, NY, USA
1 posts

ALERT -Chartres Cathedral is under renovation. Just returned from 10 days in Paris, with one of them devoted to the 1 and a half hour trip via railway from Paris to Chartres. (And the equal time spent returningin all at a cost of $145 per person for the RER ticket). Sadly the effect of the renovation essentially makes the trip very disappointing. (We had been there years ago and were eager to return to this four-star, thousand year old architectural gem and its town. The view down the central nave of the cathedral is obstructed by a floor to ceiling blockade of construction screening off the area. There is a partial view of the construction scaffolding inside the main area of the apse. The rose windows on both sides
of the cathedral are seen, and there is some progress on the cleaning of several of the main pillars, so that the original color can be seen. At present its a hodge-podge of old and new but the effect of taking in the view of the cathedral as a whole is not available at this time. Notices say the project will be done in 2014but as it began years ago, and appears less than 25 percent finishedthat doesn't seem likely. I suggest that you enjoy time at NOTRE DAME,and find other of the ancient cathedrals to visitwe went to Salisbury and to Wells years ago. They are not in this region however and require their own trip plan.

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1544 posts

I went to Chartres Cathedral last week. There was some scaffolding up, and perhaps I could not see the whole cathedral at once, but it was spectacular anyway. I don't know if it was most of the interior -- it's a big place. There was not a lot of construction noise -- actually seeing the progress of the restoration was an interesting aspect. As others have pointed out, restoration goes on all the time at the great sights of Europe. I would like to visit it again when the restoration is finished, but I am really glad I went now.

Posted by Alexander
Quad Cities, IL/IA
340 posts

I was there last week. Yes, it's true that everything past the alter cannot be seen but it is still spectacular to look at. Especially outside. And the light shows that go on at night in Chartres are amazing
Plus there's an amazing restaurant behind the cathedral down by the river called Le Moulin de Ponceau that is out of this world.

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
1154 posts

Coming from the west coast ( or any place else for that matter ) and even wondering about seeing Chartes ? We were there last september and it is not to be missed . Yes , there is scaffolding in the altar area but believe me it won't negatively impact your visit. As others have said , wherever you go you can count on restoration work to be in progress and you really should not let that affect your choices . the cathedral is one of the most magnificent things I have ever beheld and contains nearly eighty percent of its original stained glass . Go early in the day so that you also have time to walk lesiurely in the old town which is charming . You won't be sorry !! Bon voyage