Red Door

Red Door

Commissioned by Saint Louis in the 13th century, the Red Door allows the canons to pass directly from the cloister to the choir of the Cathedral.

Not far from the portal of the cloister, the Red Door owes its name to the color of its door panels. In the Middle Ages, red was the color reserved for women. In iconography, the Virgin or "Our Lady" is dressed in a red dress, as depicted in the stained glass window of Notre-Dame de Chartres. From the Renaissance on, Mary is generally dressed in blue. In Christianity, red is also the color associated with the Passion of Christ, and by extension with the liturgical vestments of Holy Week, preceding Easter. Red is also the color of the cardinals’ clothes, while white is the color reserved for the pope. 

The Red Door opens through a north side chapel at the level of the third bay of the choir. Commissioned by Saint Louis, Pierre de Montreuil produced it around 1270. It enabled the canons to go to the office by directly connecting the cloister to the choir of the cathedral. 

Saint Louis is represented on the tympanum to the left of the Virgin, crowned by an angel. Marguerite de Provence, the wife of Saint Louis, is placed on the right of Christ. Scenes from the life of Saint Marcel, Bishop of Paris in the 4th century, are represented on the arches which frame the tympanum. 

The French commission of Historic Monuments restored the Red Door in 2012.

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