Notre Dame Cathedral in Chartres and St. Étienne Cathedral in Bourges constitute the two most important collections of original early medieval stained glass in France. They are also some of the finest examples of religious texts ‘written’ in glass, intended to be ‘read’ by the illiterate visitor, together with the sculptures in both structures.
This private tour drives long distances to cover the territory: an hour and a quarter from Paris to Chartres, two hours from Chartres to Bourges, and two hours and forty minutes to return from Bourges to Paris. Our guide, who has in depth knowledge of ecclesiastic architecture and decoration, and who speaks English as natural first language, can share with you a great deal of interesting information on the way so that you fully appreciate what you see when you arrive at the two destinations. You might not even notice the long trajectories.
Our private tour begins in Chartres, where its Notre Dame Cathedral is a virtual encyclopaedia of the many styles of stained glass, primarily constituted in its treasure of 12th century panels and three 13th rose windows. Here your guide will explain that “Stained glass is supposed to reflect the soul of man,” and you will be confronted with a remarkable selection of 13th century glass along three levels of the choir, as well as some 14th century stained glass in the west façade and later works in the chapels added in the 15th and 17th centuries. This is the home of ‘Chartres Blue’ stained glass, so well represented in the Royal Entrance, and in the Notre Dame de le Belle Verrière window.
The full range of early stained glass styles, from small modestly ornamented, to elongated clerestory windows, and vivid coloured rose windows are present here. This cathedral is also one of the first places where the ‘silver yellow’ style of ‘grisaille’ stained glass appears in France, and includes some 14th and 15th century windows.
This Paris Luxury Tour will then drive you two hours away to the ancient royal city of Bourges, capital of the old province of Berry, where you can stop for lunch at the Beauvoir restaurant or Le Petits Plats du Bourbon brasserie. After, we will visit St. Étienne Cathedral which combines elements of early Gothic with high Gothic features. The ensemble of its stained glass spans from the 12th and 13th centuries all the way to the 17th C. However, almost all of its ambulatory windows are the original from the 12th and 13th centuries. It is thought that three great masters of stained glass contributed to the ensemble, including the Last Judgment, Good Samaritan and the St. Stephen reliquaries. Unfortunately, we do not know their names.
To arrange your own private tour of the stained glass of Notre Dame de Chartres and St. Étienne de Bourges, please fill out our contact form or phone our US number: 631 600 1120.