Amiens is a pretty town a couple of hours north of Paris.
Here's the cathedral, dating back to about 1220, by day...
...and by night. About 15 years ago, while cleaning the west portal, restorers found flecks of paint on the statues. They were able to reconstruct the original colors, as visitors would have seen them 800 years ago. Now, every night during summer, those colors are projected to show us what it originally looked like.
The rose window, lit from within. Note the kings (22 in all)--looking as we see them now.
The three west portals by day...
...and the center one by night.
More of the same.
Nine projectors in all create the polychromatic show.
Saints and kings...
...in incredible colored detailQ
Sorry about your heads, guys.
Note the kings, below the rose window, are now colored.
The show changed from time to time.
The Amiens cathedral labyrinth.
Now I'm at Chartres, 60 miles southwest of Paris. St Pierre on the left, the Cathedral on the skyline, right.
Chartres cathedral, west facade. Restoration work was a fact of life at all four cathedrals I visited.
The 11-circuit Chartres labyrinth. Takes 20-30 minutes to walk slowly.
Great view from the north tower of Chartres.
A reminder from 10 years ago, when we walked the Camino de Santiago--the scallop shell guided us on our way.
I was able to rendezvous with our old pals Pieter and Sara from Amsterdam. They were heading south to Spain, so we managed to all find ourselves in the same place at the same time.
Chartres also had a light show! This is the north portal.
The idea is to spend a couple of hours walking through the city (following the blue lights set into the sidewalks) to view about 20 illluminations. This one changed moment by moment.
So did this.
The abbey church of St. Pierre, Chartres
Beauvais cathedral--or what's left of it. The nave collapsed (twice). What's left is the tallest cathedral in France (anywhere?)
Beauvais: flying buttresses, gothic arches and ribbed vaults are the three crucial elements for the Gothic cathedrals.
Beauvais stained glass windows...
...create patterns on the stone...
Rouen cathedral--as I say, lots of restoration happening.
Rouen cathedral, detail of the stone tracery.
The tower where Jeanne d'Arc was imprisoned.