I finally bought new batteries for my camera yesterday, and since then I’ve been trying to motivate myself to blog about my trip with Heather, Jake and John to Châteaudun and Chartres. But I find that I’ve run out of steam for blogging. I was contemplating renaming this blog to something less French when I get home and continuing my saga…but I don’t think I want to. Blogging was incredibly helpful to me this year. The blogging impulse got me out of my room when I just wasn’t feeling the whole year-in-Paris thing, it sent me to far-flung corners of the city and delicious restaurants that I might otherwise not have tried. And I don’t need it anymore. When I get back to Chicago, I don’t want to go out and have experiences just for the sake of blogging about it–I want to have experiences for the sake of living.
But as it is I have just over two days left in this furnace of a city, and so I will blog about last Thursday, which was an excellent day in a couple of new places with good friends–despite hideous pain in my right calf, which I’m happy to say has abated.
Anyway. Thursday morning, we all met at Gare d’Austerlitz to catch the 8:11 train (the timing of which made me sing “Taylor the Latte Boy” all morning).
We were all rather tired–but still attractive!
The train stopped in this hilariously-named town on the way to Châteaudun:
Anyway. Châteaudun is a wee gem of a town with a castle, as you might expect, and a marvelous outdoor market, from which we bought a gorgeous spread of cheese, fruit and olives to add to the sausage (me) and bread (John) that we had brought with us from Paris.
“Yes, Herr Onion Seller!”
And a fountain.
Trickle, trickle, trickle!
Armed with our victuals, we wandered for a bit until we found a good picnicking spot with a glorious view.
We were happy about this.
Also about fantastic food.
And lavender that you could just pick–at least, we’re pretty sure you’re allowed to just pick it. There wasn’t anyone patrolling the area.
After lunch (okay, more like second breakfast running into elevensies), we found the castle. I found the tour of the inside to be excruciatingly boring, mainly because it’s a medieval castle, which means that it’s mostly utilitarian as opposed to aesthetic, and also because the adorable tour guide was speaking French very quietly and swallowing his words, and there were all of these little kids. But here are some pictures of the outside.
The tour knocked all of us out a little, so we followed the signs for the tourist walk, and found a little park, spread out a picnic blanket and lay down for a while. This is the sky in Châteaudun.
Then we wended our merry way back to the train station to get our tickets to Chartres. When we got there, the platform for said train wasn’t listed, and when we inquired about it, the guy behind the counter said, “There’s no train to Chartres. There’s a bus to Chartres!” Which was fine with us, especially since the other passengers all got off at Bonneval, the only stop between Châteaudun and Chartres, and we had the bus to ourselves. We were totally the cool kids, eating baguettes and cheese in the back of an empty bus. PARTY!
When we arrived in Chartres, my leg/foot were throbbing, so the first thing we did was find a café and sit down for some cold drinks. I had iced tea, and water in a shot glass.
As we were walking from the station to the café, we caught a glimpse of the famous cathedral:
It really is exceptional, and massive, particularly since the surrounding town is not very large or very tall. Though really, the church is so big that I suspect it would look its size just about anywhere.
Here’s a nighttime picture, courtesy of Google Images.
The inside of the cathedral was spectacular too, though the part that I think may be called the apse was under construction, so we couldn’t go all the way up to the altar or anything. My camera spazzes out in the dark/in museums, so I didn’t get any good pictures of the stained glass, but here’s one that somebody else took.
About twelve minutes into our visit to the cathedral, my exhaustion caught up with me and I left to go find a shady seat outside. A few minutes later, Heather, Jake and John joined me and we ate the last of our goodies, which were starting to get rather ripe, runny and sweaty–depending on the cheese. Delicious, though, especially a middle-aged Cantal that John picked up. Mmmm.
Then we got our tickets and hopped on the train back to Paris, satisfied with a day out of the city. It took me two further trains after that one to get home, at which point I utterly crashed. Which is kind of what I feel like doing now. This heat!