There is a breathtaking little church in Chartres, hiding behind the magnificent cathedral, just waiting to be discovered.
The outside is obviously old, not particularly in great condition, but OH MY, when you open the door! It took my breath away. Here is a blurb from the web on the history of the church:
Saint Aignan Church was first built around year 400, in the era of pre-Romanesque, by the bishop of Chartres – later his name has given as the name of the church. In its history, the church has suffered from several times fire in 12th, 13th and in the early 16th century, that rebuilding the edifice had become necessary,
The main portal in the center of the front facade was the only part of the church that preserved for the new church. The church also suffered several times of change function during the French Revolution – it was once served as a military hospital, then once became a prison and even as a fodder shop.
It finally returned as a worship place in 1822. the polychromy painting was done in 1869 by Emile Boeswillwald, a French architect born in Strasbourg on 2 February 1815.
My photos do not do it justice.
A professional pic
Yesterday, as my friend Mary and I were wandering around the streets surrounding the American Cathedral (waiting for the 6pm service to start), we stopped in front of a restaurant called La Fermette Marboeuf. There, across the street from each other, were two perfect examples of Hausmann buildings – 6 stories, businesses on ground floor, apartments above, second floor (we would call it the thir floor) balconies fancier than all the rest (Deuxieme Etage was for the wealthier folks).
While I was regaling Mary with my smattering of knowledge about the architecture, a waiter who was setting up the outside tables for the evening asked us if we knew about the buildings? We said we didn’t, and he proceeded to give us a little lesson in 19th century Art Nouveau. Mind you, this was all in French, and while I confess to smiling and nodding a few times when I had no clue what he was saying, I did understand most of it. AND I could speak back to him!! sort of.
Waiter – these buildings were built in about 1850 and are on the National Register as historic buildings.
Me – What I wanted to say – How beautiful! They are amazing!
What I probably said – Good things! It is fantastic!
After I impressed him a few more times with my French, he asked us if we wanted to see inside. I figured, hey – it’s a restaurant. How special could it be? But we accepted his kind offer.
I amazed!!!!! As we turned a corner into the room below, he explained that this part of the restaurant is original, making it over a century old. Mary and I about fell over. I couldn’t breathe for a minute. It was overwhelmingly beautiful.
As you can see from the pictures below, it was spectacular! Stunning! Breathtaking. And, yes, fantastique.