The labyrinth of Chartres cathedral
The labyrinth is open for meditative walking each Friday between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, from Lent (date changes annually, but it falls between February 20 and March 20) until All Saint’s Day (November 1).
RE-OPENING: February 2024 (date to be specified).
The labyrinth may be closed during religious celebrations.
It is closed each year, all day on Good Friday.
Document to download: What does walking the labyrinth mean?
For questions or more information, please contact the Rectorat of the Cathedral.
The labyrinth is a path: it invites you to take a “pilgrimage.”
The energy that can be found here is within the people who walk it – praying and being touched by the grace of the moment.
The outcome? Walk mindfully with authentic meditation – having your body and soul become one.
It is found while walking this path step after step, not afterwards, not walking around it that this revelation can be found. The pathway evokes meditation on the human existence – long, fluctuating, challenging – people can advance with confidence regarding their reconciliation. A sense of existence can also be found: it is different for everyone – for sure.
What the labyrinth means: the essentials, a document to download here
HOW TO WALK THE LABYRINTH…
The labyrinth was desired by the chapter of Our Lady of Chartres. The college of priests began the construction of the cathedral – around 1200. The labyrinth expresses visually the essential symbolism that we wish to respect today:
For this that guides the faith, the challenge of the labyrinth is to open oneself progressively to Christ before advancing towards the altar, the love that Christ gave and a desire to surpass all personal difficulties. The opportunity is given to re-evaluate your sins – abandon them and seek forgiveness in order to advance.
The purpose is to meditate with Christ on death and eternal life.
The latest discoveries show that the labyrinth was initially created for the liturgy of Easter Vespers – a celebration of the Church remembering the victory of Christ over death.
Each person is welcome to seek silence and peace through meditation on the labyrinth. We invite visitors willing to think about their life as a whole – to live by this journey throughout their lives.
We ask that you never do the following things:
– It is not an object for amusement,
– Nor is it an object of appropriation: advance at a regular rhythm, without stopping, please be attentive to others walking.
The labyrinth walk must be done with shoes and not barefoot.
The labyrinth of Chartres evokes Greek mythology. The architect Daedalus constructed it for the destruction of a monster – the Minotaur – who ate the children of Athens. Theseus vanquished the monster, and he was successful due to the thread spun by Ariadne.
In the Middle Ages, several labyrinths were created on the pavement of religious buildings: Reims, Amiens, Saint-Quentin. They appeared also as a signature of their sponsors and project managers (indicated by their names on a central plaque).
Appreciate the complexity and elegance of the patterns, the main director that represented the execution of pattern in stone.
The labyrinth at Chartres has important geometric points:
– If you ‘project’ the façade onto the pavement, the center of the rose window – where Christ appears majestically – corresponds to the center of the labyrinth.
– If you compare the labyrinth with the central portal statues and the placement of the old altar, draw a square, and there will be a pattern in the plan of the Cathedral.