Chartres In Lights 2019: from April 27 to October 12, every night.

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1 to 3 - The Notre-Dame Cathedral

About the scenographies

Artistic design: Spectaculaires, Les Allumeurs d'Images – Franck Marty and Benoît Quero

1 - The royal doorway

The illuminated royal portal of Chartres Cathedral - Chartres In Lights

The royal doorway of the Cathedral is obviously the main attraction for visitors to Chartres Light Show. It was the first site of the whole operation. Renewed in 2012, it brings the event into a resolutely modern technical and graphic environment. As an outstanding element of world heritage, and vessel of Christian faith, the Cathedral was to honour the promise of light that it embodied, by respecting the vocation of the monument.

This scenography is of course transcribing the faith that drove the builders, as well as the techniques that they used, and the skills that gave the building its soul.

Enhancing architecture. The mark of their “digital fabrication”, once again guides their expert work to bring us closer to the majestic intimacy of the building and its wonders. With respect paid to its brilliant builders, their constructor comrades and all the fabulous Flamboyant Gothic artists, Spectaculaires offers us new images of a timeless, eternal cathedral, a living monument in perpetual transformation. A fun yet mischievous vision. The Allumeurs d'Images (Image Lighters) from Spectaculaires invite us to view Chartres with the surprises and pleasures that add a little spice to the fantastic tales...

“The eyes of the statues light up as witnesses and visionaries... Before building it, the cathedral needs to be dreamt up, thought of, its light and its transparency need to be desired... Now build it stone by stone and re-imagine its original colours, go to its highest point and let its delightful heights take your breath away, and under the eyes of statues in this stone nave, after a countdown, finally reach the sky...”

2 - The north doorway

The illuminated north portal of Chartres Cathedral - Chartres In Lights

“Illuminated stone.”

“When the Lighters become Illuminators.”

The scenography of the doorway of the cathedral, renewed one year after that of the royal doorway had to take account of its “big sister” to avoid the danger of duplication. The much more intimate area of the site, with its closeness, the closed configuration of the monument and the delicacy of the statuary, recently renovated, themselves provided the objective of this illumination.

The contours are edged in white light with a blue tint, and then the rich medieval colour palette transforms the doorway into an illustration as of a manuscript, picking out the architectural lines, the arches and the smallest of details. The statues come to life; the drapes of their clothes are lite up, their jewels glisten, their faces breathe life again.

When night falls, the visitor or walker lets himself be transported by his nocturnal mood, towards the north portal of Chartres Cathedral of Notre-Dame, where he can discover a stunning show every night. On the approach to the portal, he immediately feels that the place has been inhabited for a long time. The place, bathed in a weak bluish light emits a strange sensation of mystery... As if the “presences” want to invite him to travel back in time... unless it is towards an enlightened timelessness! Suddenly, the notes of crystal-clear arpeggio start to gently ring out and the rose begins to sparkle. Under the effect of its bright rays, all of humanity seems to come out of the stone, while a fantastic setting is revealed bit by bit.

The large mineral book has just been opened. It starts here, with paradise lost... Now it's a matter of finding it again and bringing back its colours! The 21st century 'Image Lighters' offer you a vision of the multi-coloured splendor that 13th century travelers and people of Chartres could admire every day...

3 - The south doorway

The illuminated rose on the north portal of Chartres Cathedral - Chartres In Ligths

“Let us see if the rose...”

Light illuminates the rose and flashes of colour glint from it, in homage to the master glass-makers. This high-level projection forces us to believe in it: we have to look up to see the light, as if we were looking at the sun... From the eastern approach to the city, this scenography sets the cathedral majestically on the promontory, a sign of great beauty inviting you to explore the Chartres Light Show.

Throughout the day, the south rose window has caught the sunlight and brightly lit the interior of the cathedral. When the sun sets and darkness might win, a startling phenomenon occurs in Chartres... Playing in the twilight, the Rose is born again and blossoms once more from the central rosebud on the façade of the south portal. Illuminating the stone that surrounds it with its gentle gleam, it seems to want to reproduce the immense brightness of the wonders that the light has struck in the intimacy of the building... In homage to the talented glassmakers of Chartres Cathedral, who left us the most beautiful collection of 13th century stained glass windows, the rose makes its journey in reverse... Fragments of multi-coloured light find themselves moving across the walls, the shimmering colours of the stained-glass windows mingling in a mirror effect, from daybreak to the top! The Image Lighters have a dreamlike perspective on the path of light here, through a rose that harnesses the energy of the day to light up the night...

About the Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame of Chartres is one of bigger cathedrals of France and one of the first French sites registered on the UNESCO world heritage. 5 different versions from the Cathedral would have followed one another since the first construction. The Cathedral, which we can visit today, dates of the 13th century.

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