Chartres Arches

What did the carvings in these ancient arches mean? I took this photo of the strangely neglected building directly in front of Chartres Cathedral.
What did the carvings in these ancient arches mean? I took this photo of the strangely neglected building directly in front of Chartres Cathedral.

Blessed with an avuncular coach driver on our return from St Malo, instead of returning to Paris by the quicker but less picturesque highways, we meandered pleasantly back through the beautiful French countryside and took in Chartres Cathedral on the way.

Naturally the cathedral was all it should have been and it was particularly interesting to see it at “mid- restoration” to get an idea of the original colour of the stone next to the grime and deposits that nearly a thousand years of candles, incense and the hands of worshipers left behind.

The labyrinth happened to be exposed when we were there and I dutifully followed the circuit. Afterwards I saw the Sancta Camisa, believed to be a tunic worn by the Virgin Mary which was apparently a gift to the cathedral from Charles the Bald (no pious legends about him suddenly growing a luxuriant head of hair are extant alas).

Finally, upon leaving, I saw this building directly across the square. Its strange windows intrigued me and there was nothing to explain its purpose or meaning. Such history, symbolism and humanity all bound up in these ancient places.

I would have stayed to contemplate the iconography further but my stomach cried out “Baguette farcie au saumon fumé et au fromage à la crème!” and I felt compelled to obey.

I thought that these windows would make an interesting topic for academic study, or possibly a nice blog post top.
I thought that these windows would make an interesting topic for academic study, or possibly a nice blog top.

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