We took the train to the town of Chartres, about an hour outside of Paris. We had to take two metro trains to get to the main train station, but it only took about 12 minutes. I so love good public transit.
After two days of rain, we got a nice sunny day. We walked up the hill towards the cathedral and stopped in for coffee and french onion soup at a little cafe. This place had a menu just for the types of coffee they served. I had the Blue Mountain. Mmmmm. So after our coffee and soup we felt better and wandered around the cathedral.
It's a beautiful cathedral, just as impressive as Paris' Notre Dame, but with a fraction of the crowds. Most of it burned down in the 1100s, but was rebuilt. Can you guess which tower survived the fire and which was built later?
In the plaza out front of the cathedral are a bunch of planter boxes, where they grow herbs and other edibles.I'm not sure who uses them, but I thought it was a great idea.
The cathedral is know for its labyrinth and for its stained glass windows. The labyrinth was covered with chairs. The guy there told me they uncover the labyrinth every friday, starting in April, but told me there is an equally good labyrinth in San Francisco at Grace Cathedral.
The stained glass was free of chairs, so we spent some time looking at them. They tell bible stories--kind of a picture book for the illiterate peasants. We wandered around and I told the stories they depicted to Malida, who has never heard any of them. There are also a series of statues (41) that tell the life of Mary, and I explained the ones I knew to Malida. When we were in the gift shop later, she bought a little Mary medal. Later, when we were having coffee again, I dropped the medal in my espresso.
The stained glass windows were removed during WWII and hidden, to protect them. So now they still have over 130 13th century windows.
After opting out of climbing yet another tower, we walked around the grounds for a while.It was a beautiful afternoon. We stopped in for another coffee at the same place, which is where I dunked Mary in Ethiopian coffee. After that we had a choice to head down to the train station for the 3:30 train, or walk some more. We decided to walk in the old village, along the narrow streets.
It is really a lovely little town. There are a couple of really old parish churches in the neighborhood, and lots of little shops. A river runs through it.
On our way back to the train station we met a very friendly one-eyed cat who played with us a little. Somewhere in the back of my mild I feel like I know this cat's name.
We took the 5:00 train back to Paris, got here at 6, and had a nice dinner at one of the places down the street. Tomorrow is our last day here.