Tasha & Kiri's Winter En France travel blog

Chartres Cathedral

Camino of St Jacques marker

Chartres cathedral stained glass windows

halfway up the 300 steps of the bell tower

old Chartres and the river Eure

19 Octobre. Chartres, Eure-et-Loir, just west of Paris.

We got the last room in the city, it seems! - in the youth hostel of this famous cathedral town. Sometimes we truly are Lucky. The hotels are full up; I had conflicting information about whether a YH even exists in this town; but we learned from a kind woman in the bus depot that there is and we got the last room! Yay!

Tomorrow we'll visit the cathedral and admire the famous stained glass windows and gather ourselves for the next step... making our way down the Loire valley (hoping to find a way to do at least part of it by boat); and see one or two of the castles that are also famous in this region...

In spite of the general strike today and a train strike that's been ongoing for the past week, we have found some trains and buses still operating and we even managed to negotiate our way from one train station to the other in Paris! (ALL main train lines go through Paris, and there are 6 different main train stations, so when you’re travelling between regions, you have to switch stations!) It was intense, but we wasted no time getting in and out of there! (Why am I so intimidated by Paris?)

So now it's off to bed.

best wishes, tasha and kirianne

20 octobre 2010

What a surprise to discover that the best view of the Cathedral is from the dining room of this Youth Hostel! It makes the long uphill walk here from the city centre well worth it!

I just learned a particularly important expression: Qu’il n’était pas gaspiller… that it won’t be wasted. This was in reference to the round of mild soft fromage chevre that I bought today to have with our supper baguette. I was surprised when Kiri said she likes goat cheese… turns out she was thinking of the only goat cheese she knows: jedost! Norwegian caramelized goat cheese! Nothing, of course, anything like the kind of fromage chevre that one would get in France. I knew I wouldn’t eat the whole thing, so took advantage of all the people here in the YH and asked if someone could make use of it. It was gratefully accepted and I had my intent translated. Je suis heureuse qu’il n’etait pas gaspiller.

The day was not wasted either. Pretty cold but sunny. I wore my toque and gloves most of the day. We spent a lot of time in the Cathedral, and learned a fair bit about it – spent a pretty penny for a guided tour with [the famous] Malcolm Miller and then climbed the 299 steps up the North Bell Tower… It isn't a Friday, so they hadn't moved all the chairs and we couldn't walk the labyrinth that is inlaid in black and white marble on the floor, but it was cool to see it. There was a lot to see there. I wouldn't have believed we would spend almost a whole day in church!

In the late afternoon, we wandered the old town. Fed ducks in the river Eure. Bought cheese and bread for supper...

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