Sunday Morning

And visitors, how should they treat the cathedral? Here’s what I think: You need to take your time in Chartres Cathedral, you can’t hurry, like the tourist groups; you should take a seat, study the windows, then stand up and stroll around, forget that you’re in a cathedral, then remember again, and after a while you’ll sense something undescribed in any guidebook, a kind of strong longing or desire that isn’t contained within the cathedral’s walls or its windows, it’s in the air, in its very lungs. After some time, after you’ve circled the cathedral several times, crossing its zones of light and shade, purely visual impressions recede while this ever-growing desire comes into focus. We don’t know why the cathedral inspires such longing. Why its dark interior gives rise to longing.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay


  • Photo: Chartres Cathedral, France. The first Gothic cathedral ever built, Chartres Cathedral has stood for over 800 years. With its soaring arches and unmatched stained glass windows, to enter Chartres is to have a spiritual experience. Photographer: Michael Brewer.
  • Related Posts: Adam Zagajewski


  1. Thank you David. One more motivation for me to visit Paris and France.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i imagine that it makes us feel that it is more powerful than ourselves, in most every way, it reminds us of how small we are in the scheme of things, when we are there, experiencing it firsthand.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Definitely on my ever-expanding to-do list!
    I understand his feeling as I felt that way at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal this past April. I had somehow never been inside till then!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A spot-on description. Your breath is literally pulled up and away as you gaze at the vast space around you. The feat of architectural prowess, the exquisite soaring buttresses, the beautiful stained glass windows. Chartres, La Sagrada Familia, the Blue Mosque, St.Peter’s Basilica…all of these sacred spaces moved me profoundly….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’d love to see Chartre.
    Someday I will.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Old cathedrals and churches have ions of spiritual energy and a groundedness that keeps us here, yet touches the divine. The stained glass helps of course 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Power, majesty, peace…the mood of the cathedral. Childhood visit to St.Patrick’s, NYC, 1960’s. So memorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been. I was 13 and we visited many cathedrals. But I don’t remember names. I was too young to appreciate it all.

    And Zagajewski is brilliant. Mind and soul…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No matter what the history of churches in general, their greed along with their inspiration, they were built with magnificence and creativity. Every church has its own magic. This one very much so. Thank you for sharing its beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. exactly, spend time!
    …. and if I might add one thing?
    When I sit, taking in a really old building, If its permitted to touch, I will. The looking, the seeing is one thing. But the impartation of the creation through touch, provides the viewer an added dimension to the experience, that will not be forgotten. Most of us, dare not touch holy walls or holy doors or bricks or stones. But. Why not?

    Liked by 1 person

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