Chartres Cathedral was dedicated on October 24, 1260 in the presence of King Louis IX. It was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It is constructed in Flamboyant Gothic style, so called for the flame shapes in the rose windows. Everything about it is impressive. It dominates the town of Chartres, looming high above all other buildings. Outside, the building is adorned with hundreds of detailed sculptures. Inside, light pours through stained glass windows of a peerless blue. Flying buttresses support the weight of the stone walls and allow for the large window openings. A more modern addition is the labyrinth in the floor of the cathedral. It’s is uncovered once a month so pilgrims can walk it while they pray. This is a wonderful interactive site of the major elements of the cathedral. Chartres is about half-way between Paris and Tours and is an easy day-trip by train from either city.
Today’s expression, ce n’est pas très catholique (suh neh pah treh cat-o-leek) literally means “it’s not very catholic” but is used in the sense that something is doubtful or not very probable, like those Nigerian Prince letters that promise great riches if we’ll just share our bank info. The very Catholic cathedral was actually built on a spring sacred to the ancient Druids, but that’s a little factoid the guidebooks usually leave out.