Chartres - The International Centre for Stained Glass

Email by Elizabeth Steinebach on April 25, 2007
Categories Filed Under: ON THE WEB

Chartres Cathedral. This is my soul house. I will never forget the impact it had on me, my first visit. It is appropriate that start my - ON THE WEB - series here. If you thought you knew something about glass, you will learn it all over again and so much deeper, here.

Le Centre International du Vitrail/The International Stained Glass Centre's web site is worth the visit, especially if you enjoy travel from the comfort of your computer chair. The site has been much updated and the English translation vastly more accurate and accessible, than before. Their stained glass technique outline is well written and has an old world feel to it. It is an excellent overview of the process. Anyone not familiar with the commissioning of stained glass would get a good sense of all the steps involved.

Should you be fortunate enough to be traveling to Paris, it is a short one hour train ride, (worth the sightseeing alone) to the village of Chartres. Chartres is friendly and worth exploring in its own right, with delightful special events, markets, shops and galleries, all surrounding the cathedral. Inexpensive accommodation might include a night at St Yves, an abbey hostelry and a good lunch at the Queen of Sheba Cafe.

They do prefer to speak their native language, however, even with my poor high school French, I managed just fine. The Centre is tucked around the corner from the stained glass store, that is just outside the west portal of the cathedral. For any stained glass artist, it is a must. Jean-Marie, one of the glass instructors at the Centre, has a good handle on English and is there most days. The studio is often filled with students and the staff is usually very accommodating if you would like to take a peek. If you can stay awhile, think about taking one of their classes, it is an opportunity of a lifetime.