France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Intl Stained-Glass Center, Chartres
Chartres is the obvious location for an international stained-glass center!

Apostles harvesting grapes, stained glass, Chartres
Stained glass showing the
apostles harvesing grapes.




One always associates Chartres with stained glass, and with good reason. The exquisite stained glass windows of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, most dating from the 13th century, have drawn both worshipers and tourists for centuries. The famous Chartres bleu is known world wide.

In addition, other churches, such as the Église Saint-Aignan, also have wonderful stained glass windows. Saint-Aignan's 16th century glass is beautiful and very different. More...

And so it makes perfect sense that the International Stained-Glass Center is located about 100 meters (325 feet) from the cathedral. Housed in the historic Loëns Granary Building, a recognized historic monument, the Center provides a wonderful complement to the cathedral.

The Center's permanent collection includes about 70 stained glass windows, most from the Église Saint-Pierre (also in Chartres). These windows are Renaissance glass and became available during restoration work at Saint-Pierre, when the original medieval windows were returned to the church. The church wanted the beautiful Renaissance windows to be restored and made accessible to the public, and so now we benefit from this.

Some of the windows had been restored in the past, and not all are fully intact. Helpful explanatory panels point out original glass and restored glass and provide some history of each piece.

stained glass, Chartres
The Announcement to the Shepherds, stained glass dating from
1500 to 1510.

Of great interest to those visiting the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres is the display of models and diagrams of all of the stained glass windows from the cathedral. Since the windows are located quite high, it can be difficult to identify the individual scenes, particularly for those of us who do not have great familiarity with the Bible stories they portray. Visiting the International Center during your time at Chartres can help you better appreciate the cathedral stained glass.

The level of detail in each window becomes clear when you see the charts for each window. For example, the Life of Noah window consists of 42 individual panels, ranging from rosettes to oval pieces on each side. Each has a name and an explanation. In panel 10, God tells Noah to build the ark. In panel 13 you can see Noah and his son working on it, and by panel 15 the animals are starting to enter. The story continues through the flood and the receding of the waters, to Noah's return to land again.

A lifetime isn't enough time to appreciate all of the stained glass windows of Notre-Dame de Chartres, but we can become better informed about them, thus enhancing our understanding.

The International Stained-Glass Center is not just a place for history, however. The Gothic basement room houses temporary exhibitions of modern stained glass windows. Both the glass and the architecture are fascinating and interesting. The vaulted ceilings are graceful and uplifting.

International Stained-Glass Center
5, rue du Cardinal Pie
28000 Chartres, France
+33 (0)2 37 21 65 72


About Chartres

Hotels in Chartres

What to See & Do

Chartres Cathedral

Cathedral Stained Glass Windows

Église Saint-Pierre

Restaurants in Chartres

Transport for Chartres

Tourist Information

Day-trips from Paris


Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel: three girls, so many secrets...


Loens Granary, Chartres

Above, View of Loëns Granary, home of the International Stained-Glass Center, taken from the roof of the nearby Chartres Cathedral.

Below, Explanatory panel describing all of the stained glass that makes up the Life of Noah.


Life of Noah, Chartres



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