The Chartres Labyrinth

The labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral is open.
It can be walked each Friday between the beginning of Lent and October 31 from approximately10:00 am until 5:00. Check here for more information on the availability of the labyrinth for public walking.
General Orientation to the labyrinth in the cathedral

The Chartres labyrinth, created in the early thirteenth century, with a diameter of 12,88 meters, spans the entire nave of the cathedral. It’s pathway, which begins in the west, winds back and forth without interruption for 261.5 meters before arriving in the center. Twelve circles, divided into four quadrants, form its pattern. Until 1792 there was a copper plaque in the center featuring either Theseus and the Minotaur, or the New Jerusalem. Unique design features of the Chartres labyrinth include the floral design in the center with its six petals and 113 rays that extend out from the outer circle.

It is impossible to fully appreciate the Chartres labyrinth apart from its context within the cathedral. Symbolizing the unity of all creation, its placement between the third and fourth bays of the nave suggests a meeting of God and humanity. The cross that gives definition to the path is integral to the design. Related Christian theology and biblical stories surround the labyrinth in the medieval stained glass windows. French Liturgies on Easter Evening were practiced on some french labyrinths from at least the end of the fourteenth century until the beginning of the sixteenth century. The Office de la Lumière on the labyrinth has taken place on the Chartres labyrinth since 2013. (See photo galleries from 2013 and 2015.)

Jill’s visual presentations on the Chartres labyrinth

Empty labyrinth viewed from the west

Praying Without Walking
Two recommended books on the cathedral labyrinth: Praying the Labyrinth and Praying the Chartres Labyrinth, both written by Jill.
Also recommended: Is That A Fact? by Jeff and Kimberly Saward. If you only have time to read one article about the Chartres labyrinth, please read this one (and save yourself a lot of confusion and misinformation).

Labyrinth from the organ loft by Jill K H Geoffrion


Walk On
Walk on, pilgrims.
Walk on.
Towards not only the destination,
but beyond it
to the embodiment of your hopes.

Walk on, pilgrims.
Keep on
that which you cannot imagine,
yet anticipate.

Walk on, pilgrims.
Stay on
the path
that unfolds at your feet.
The fear that approaches
will pass by.

Walk on, pilgrims.
Sing on.
The songs that have nourished you
will offer encouragement
and peace.

Walk on, pilgrims.
Be on
the way.
Be with
The Way.

Walk on, pilgrims.
Walk on.
And on.
And on.
Ever on.

Written by Jill K H Geoffrion while witnessing pilgrims on the Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth

Other pages related to the Chartres labyrinth and labyrinth prayer on this site: 
Mary and the Chartres Labyrinth
Labyrinth Walking at Chartres
(Subpage: If you haven’t walked a labyrinth before)
(Subpage: Praying using the Chartres Labyrinth: Seven Suggested Steps)
(Subpage: Journal page for you to use after a labyrinth walk)
(Subpage: Une démarche du labyrinthe)
(Subpage: Relecture personelle)
Labyrinth Prayer Experience at Chartres
Praying Near the Labyrinth
(Subpage: Finger labyrinth for your use)
Crypt prayer and labyrinth walk (group experience)
Office de la lumière: Easter Eve Liturgy using the labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral
Resources on the Chartres Labyrinth
(Subpage: Praying the Labyrinth by Jill)
(Subpage: Praying the Chartres Labyrinth: A Pilgrim’s Guidebook by Jill)
(Subpage: A bibliography on the Chartres labyrinth/Une bibliographie)

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