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Saturday, December 18, 2010

France 2010 - Day 5, Part 1 - Chartres

"The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos." - Stephen Jay Gould

***

France 2010
Day 5 - 7th October - Chartres
(Part 1)

This day, I headed to Chartres for its magnificent cathedral. In keeping with my typically punishingly early schedules, I awoke at 6am and left the hotel just before 7.

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Protest posters: "Pour nous, la retraite, c'est 60 ans !"
"Retraites. Il faut un référendum"
"Notre République ? Même sol, mêmes droits !"

("For us, retirement is at 60!"
"Retirement. We need a referendum"
"Our Republic? Same soil, same rights!")

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Avenue Frémiet

I took a while to find Left Luggage at the station, and after that I stupidly selected a return ticket on the ticket machine but realised I didn't know what time I wanted to return; it'd been 4 years since I'd taken a train in Western Europe so I forgot that some countries had tickets with departure times on them (Dutch tickets are open). Meanwhile the guy in front of me in the ticket office queue was taking a while. As a result, I missed the 7:48am train which I had been aiming for and had to take the 8:18. C'est comme ça. On the up side, this gave them time to open the cathedral (which opened at 9am).

Le Monde headline: 'Terrorisme ! La menace qui vient du Pakistan' ('Terrorism! The menace which comes from Pakistan'). How sensational (and populist!).

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Mosaic Motto of Chartres at Chartres Station: "Servanti civem querna corona datur" ("Une couronne de chêne est attribuée à celui qui sert la cité"; "An oak wreath to he who serves the city")

It was a little chilly in the morning, but normal breaths were not visible - only deep ones (where I let the air gather moisture and heat from my lungs for a few seconds). Thus it wasn't cold by my heuristic.

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Rue Georges Fessard

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"A LA MEMOIRE DES ENFANTS D'EURE-ET-LOIR MORTS POUR LA PATRIE"
("In memory of the children of the Eure and Loir who died for the Fatherland")

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Rue sainte même

For the first time on this trip, someone came up and greeted me randomly - an old man, who asked me if I was Vietnamese. Ah, the congeniality of the older generation.

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Chartres Cathedral from Square

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Books at tourist centre bookshop

The woman at the tourist centre only asked me my nationality when I asked for a map in English. Maybe she had forgotten when she had given me a French one.

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Cathedral

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Façade - I don't think I've found a single medieval cathedral that does not have some amount of scaffolding on it. Renaissance ones, by contrast, are doing quite well. It's amazing what a few hundred years does (or maybe Gothic is just high maintenance).

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"Rue de Bethléem. Ville Jumelée avec Chartres depuis 1994"
("Bethlehem Road. City twinned with Chartres since 1994")
Yes, it's that Bethlehem

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Small portal

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View of a tower from the bottom

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Portal from the side

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Side of the nave

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Portal


Side of Chartres Cathedral

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Portal. I wasn't keeping track of the sun so I don't know which cardinal point this belonged to.

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Doors

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At the back of the cathedral there was a small garden (of sorts).


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Pseudo-maze: Perhaps related to the labyrinth inside the cathedral (normally covered with chairs - you can only walk it on Fridays)?

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Pseudo Maze

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"Chartres en lumières"
("Chartres Illuminated")

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Cathedral from rear

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Dog relieving self in garden

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Rear of cathedral


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World Heritage Plaque

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"Circuit Touristique"
("Tourist Route")
Notice the audioguides

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West Facade


West Facade of Chartres cathedral


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West Facade

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Portal on West Facade

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Rue de l'Étroit Degré

At 10:20am, the first tour group came. So I figured that I should also go in.

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Nave

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Altar

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Stained glass above altar

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Stained glass

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I think this was the area around the choir. It certainly wasn't the jubé (rood screen)

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"Notre-Dame de la Belle Verrière"
Romanesque Stained Glass: The Blue Virgin
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