Eure-et-Loir, Centre-Val de Loire
Chartres cathedral is home to the most ancient stained-glass windows (2,600 m2 Middle Age windows). Stained glass is a living art: the town’s master glassblowers not only restore old stained-glass windows, but create new ones for public buildings and private homes, continuing the work of masters of the past.
© Studio Martino
Just an hour from Paris, Chartres is home to unsuspected treasures. Since the Middle Ages, it has been an important center for the art of stained glass. The reputation of the stained glass windows of Notre-Dame Cathedral, considered to be one of the best preserved sets of medieval windows, extends beyond France. But the stained glass windows are not the only treasure of Chartres. Numerous master glassmakers' workshops that restore old stained glass windows but also produce contemporary stained glass windows are also part of this rich Chartres heritage. The Lorin workshop in Chartres and the Loire workshop in Lèves are the two oldest of these workshops, both of which are over a hundred years old and are a living heritage, maintaining and transmitting ancestral know-how. In these workshops, the art of stained glass takes on its full dimension and power. The glass, the pigments and the tools have certainly evolved, but the gestures and techniques remain the same. It takes years of learning and practice to grasp all its subtleties and symbolism. To better understand this major art, a visit to the International Stained Glass Centre and the Stained Glass Museum is a must.