Escape from Paris

So the internet saga continues, but it’s time to give both you & me a break from moving exploits.

We took a break from installing curtains and reshuffling boxes today and headed out of the city. Since the weather has been cold and clear, we figured it would be a good time to check out the famous stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral, about an hours’ train trip southwest the city.

En route to the station, we stopped by Shakespeare & Company (the iconic English-language used bookstore across from Notre Dame that is also a claustrophobe’s worst nightmare) to scan Fodor’s for anything vital we should know before we headed out. Remember doing this in the dark ages before the internet? Anyways, it was useful because it advised we bring binoculars, so we zipped back to our place to get them to better see details on the stained glass. 

The train ride was smooth and easy, and even if we didn’t know the name for our stop, it would have been easy to know where to get off because the cathedral dominates the skyline, set as it is on the highest point of the town. We ogled the windows — there are 176 of them, apparently the best collection of gothic stained glass in the world  — and the way even the pale winter light made that famous ‘Chartres Blue’ glass glow.

Bionoculars in hand, I was was able to geek out for a bit, comparing stylistic differences between the original 12th c. windows and the ones done in the 16th c., but after a while stained-glass enthrallment was replaced by sudden & acute realization that a high-ceilinged stone cathedral in January is not the warmest of hang-outs.

After an unremarkable, but warm, meal in a resto across from the cathedral, we had thawed out enough to endure a quick walk around the surprisingly bustling town befor joining the exodus out of town & back to Paris. Waay more people were on the train back to Paris then we on the train heading out, it was like being on the Metro trying to board the train. Not sure why. Weekday commuters? People coming back from Sunday lunch chez grand-maman?


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