Friday, 1 July 2011
Steeples all the way to Rouen
Orleans was a much larger town with a quite splendid cathedral. Where does France get all these staggering churches from, I wonder? I spent some time walking around the interior admiring its construction and the detail of the stone carvings.
After this, more prosaically, I went off to the park and had my picnic lunch - pate de campagne, bagette, fresh fennel & endive - all rounded up with a peach. Lovely. The park was full of young children playing together under the watchful eyes of their mums. I'm guessing French schools must now be closed for the summer.
Chartres is a medieval village but its dominant feature is its gigantic cathedral which sits at the summit of the place. I could see it from five miles away as I approached the town. I was struck by the sheer vastness of the building. Completing it must have been the most enormous enterprise. The interior was dark and lit by stained glass.
Restoration work has begun. Whereas the unrestored walls were dark and gloomy, the restored stone shone with a white brilliance that took my breath away. I'm guessing it will take many years to complete the full restoration of the cathedral but it will certainly be a sight to behold.
The hostel was an interesting combination of new and old architecture. The interior was very modern and comfortable - the exterior on old dyeing works. Another building worth the visit - besides a bed for the night. I met several interesting people here who came from France and elsewhere in the world. This makes for good conversation.