A French Treasure Comes to the U.S.

Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral
The Cathedral at Chartres

What is, in the opinion of many, the most beautiful medieval Cathedral in France lies about 50 miles south of Paris:  the magnificent  Notre-Dame de Chartres in the city of Chartres.  The glorious stained-glass windows even have a name for this special color:  Chartres Blue.

As you might expect, the beauty of these windows has been hidden by time, weather and pollution.   Restoring them to their original vibrant colors is an arduous task, involving the removal of each piece of glass from its lead frame, cleaning, restoring and then placing it back in the frame 

You can see the beautiful "Chartres Blue" in many of the windows.
You can see the beautiful “Chartres Blue” in many of the windows.

In the U.S., an organization called American Friends of Chartres, is devoted to raising awareness of the Cathedral and its restoration needs.  To that end, it sponsors projects to preserve the stained-glass windows, organizes student exchanges between France and the U.S. regarding historic glass preservation, and has cultural and educational events including donor visits to Chartres.  As a result of their efforts, five 20-foot tall windows have so far been restored.

The Bakers Window in Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral
The Bakers Window in Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral

Many of the windows in the Cathedral were originally sponsored by various craft and commercial guilds, such as the Bakers’ Guild, in Bay 140.  And it is the “Bakers Window” that is the latest effort in restoration by AFC. In the lower part of the window you can see a baker is shaping dough and then sliding loaves into a hot ovens on long-handled paddles and selling bread to a customer.

What makes this particular restoration so unique is that the window, once restored, is going to be on display at a museum in the U.S. This will be the first time ever that 13th C. stained-glass from Chartres travels outside of France.

To fund the restoration, the American Friends of Chartres have launched a crowdfunding initiative of $200,000.00.  Gifts of any size will help this extraordinary project.

 For the official website for the American Friends of Chartres click here or contact:

Dominique Lallement: friendsofchartres@yahoo.com or telephone in the U.S. 1-202-333-9352.