Top of the Chartres

You know, I often suspect that many of our readers check in just to see what sort of disaster we’ve managed to create this time. I really hope you’re not one of those people? We managed to surpass ourselves last night… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We had another driving day yesterday as we decided we couldn’t leave this part of France without visiting Chartres and its famous cathedral. As it was rain, rain and more rain, we decided to do a supermarket sweep at Aldi, fuel up, then stop off at a very pleasant aire in Bretoncelles, a small village with not very much going on. We’d only been there twenty minutes when a fellow motorhomer turned up and did that French thing. They squeezed in right beside us despite the fact that there was plenty of room all around. It must be a safety in numbers thing – or perhaps they just wanted to admire Vince as he’s such a handsome old thing.

Oops!

Unfortunately this is where things started going downhill – literally! We’d chosen a massive pizza at Aldi for tea but Vince was parked on a bit of a slope. This meant that as the pizza cooked it slid very s-l-o-w-l-y to the back of the oven shelf…where the gas flames are eeeeeek! Cue smoke alarm, much flapping of arms and tea towels to disperse the noxious fumes and Gill the juggler trying to put the oven shelf and nuclear pizza in the sink. And dropping it on the carpet. Which now has a lovely oven shelf-shaped frazzle permanently marked on it. I can’t decide whether to replace the carpet or heat up the other shelves and burn a nice modern-art rectangles motif on it. What do you think? I know what I think; I think things could have been a whole lot worse, so what’s a carpet between friends? I think we’re still friends. Next time I’ll make sure we’re pointing downhill, it’s all my fault, clearly.

We left around ten this morning, noting that the French van was still there, blinds closed and not a sound to be heard. Possibly a little too much vin rouge we wondered? I’m afraid we probably woke them, Vince needs a good old cough and splutter to get going on cold mornings – if the noise didn’t wake them, the fumes probably did.

The landscape in Basse Normandie is very flat so it wasn’t hard to find our next destination as we could see the massive bulk of Chartres Cathedral from twenty-five kilometres away! Its twin spires must form a landmark for half the county. We found a fairly central campsite on the edge of a park – Camping Les Bords de l’Eure – so that we could charge everything up with their electricity and wash all our smelly clothes. Or at least, so Gill could wash all our smelly clothes while I went off for a run – well I had been driving all morning.

After showers and lunch, and leaving the washing flapping in the breeze (the rain had finally stopped yay!) we walked through the park and along the river into town. The centre of Chartres is relatively modern; although there are one or two half-timbered houses and a few tiny lanes, mostly there are open and clean pedestrianised areas surrounding the cathedral. And what a cathedral! So much stained glass, and soaring spaces which make you giddy. Built between 1194 and 1260 the cathedral retains all of its magnificent thirteenth century stained glass. I’m afraid iPhone photos don’t do it justice, you’ll just have to come and see it for yourself. I had great fun walking the labyrinth – a maze-like design of white marble paths laid on a dark background. The idea being that as you wander the twists and turns to the centre, you can contemplate what it is to be a human, and enjoy a spiritual journey to your inner self. I’m afraid it just made me dizzy.

I can only trust Gill to make a healthy salad tonight, no oven required, and a slightly less-healthy tipple whilst writing this and researching Loire stop-offs for the next few days. With luck, we won’t set ourselves ablaze and will be back here for another chat in a day or so. ‘Til then, chin chin! 🙂

Walking the Labyrinth
It’s a bit cold yet for typical French street life but it’s getting there…

4 Comments on Top of the Chartres

  1. Bonsoir,

    Just caught up with you as, for some reason I don’t understand all you notificTions have gone into my spam folder. I have just fished them out. I guess that was storm Gareth that changed your plans – we narrowly got into Sanatnder in January before the sailing the next day was cancelled. Always a bit of a lottery at this time of year I suppose. Enjoy your trip anyway!

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