Chartre – more than a Monet subject

chartre head

We visited Chartre yesterday. It’s about an hour outside of Paris. In California, we don’t give directions in miles or street names. Instead it’s an hour outside of L.A. and make a right at the taco shop with the red and yellow awnings, not the one with the red and yellow painted roof.

We jumped into Philippe’s trusty voiture and headed along the freeway to this church on the hill, made famous to many Americans as the subject of Monet’s light study paintings. I didn’t expect more than a church in a city. I had no idea where it was or what the surroundings were like.
It’s really quite nice. The church sits on a rare mountain in the flat farmland. This makes it visible from many miles. Our friend Jean-Pierre suggested this reminded the peasants that they’d better behave because the church was watching their every move. Regardless of the “1984” impression, it is a monolithic outline in the sky. I can imagine the effect after walking for days on a religious pilgramage.

the village of Chartre with cathedral

The church is surrounded by a small old town with buildings dating back to the early, early days. Like before cable tv. We were able to pose with the communal clothes washing spaces, the communal fish market, the communal vegetable markets, and got to practice quartering each other in the communal execution space. It was a fun time for all.

There’s a nifty feature of the church. There is a labrynth embeded in the church floor to allow pilgrams to virtually walk to Jerusalem. Instead of hiking for months, under the watchful eyes of the Nights Templar. You get to walk in a circle with a rosary under the watchful eye of an amorous monk. I’m surprised this didn’t become a part of the Da Vinci Code, it’s ripe for misinterpretation. Like the blasphemous statement above.

wheat fields in chartre

We also had a bit of a picnic amongst the corn fields. Here’s a bit of confusion. Corn is Maize in French. However Corn is also French for Wheat or a grain used in making bread. I’m not sure of the french spelling, but that is what it sounds like. Jim and I kept looking around for the corn stalks as our friends announced our arrival in the fields of corn.

I’m checking in with the mother office today, walking around the tony areas, and then dinner with Jacques and Dean, our favorite French/Chinese chefs.

More Paris Mornings

morning in paris

I’m alternating between sleeping till the break of noon or waking up at 5:00 a.m. I’ve got a new batch of images from my morning walk on sunday and breakfast at Chez Prosper.

View my flickr photos for more images

1 comment

  1. I have seen many a show that educates americans on what to do and where to go in europe. Reading your blogs was much more interesting and inciteful than any show that I have ever seen. Once the girls are old enough to appreciate and understand that they are in Europe I am definitely going to drag them across the pond. I can’t wait to see France, Italy and the British Isles. For now I can only live vicariously through your experiences.

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