Sunday, September 21, 2014


Shifted our base of operations today from La Rue near Mont St. Denis to Les Ulmes near Saumure southwest of Le Mans.  Since we had plenty of time, we detoured via Chartres.  The most magnificent cathedral of western civilization, was built in the Gothic style in the 13th century, to replace an earlier Romanesque one that had burned downed.  Completed in the amazingly short time of 30 years, it has a very unified style of decoration, except for the Gothic north tower which replaced a fallen Romanesque one in the 16th century, thus not matching the south tower completed in 1160. One hundred and thirty meters long, with a 16 meter wide nave that soars to 37 meters high, the cathedral is the very definition of church.  Magnificently decorated, the walls are supported by massive flying buttresses and the entire edifice is in the throes of cleaning and restoration.  Acres of stained glass illuminate the interior.  The cathedral houses the veil reputed to have been worn by the virgin Mary at the birth of Jesus as well as an extensive underground crypt.

After enjoying a lovely crepe Bretonne (with authentic black sarrazin flour) lunch, including crepe Suzette flambed with Courvoisier for dessert, we took a Petit Train de Ville tour through the old town and hit the road for Saumure.  We passed legendary Le Mans on the way and caught a glimpse of the Chateau de Saumur before finding our B&B at Les Ulmes for the night.

Chartres Cathedral

Altar and newly cleaned nave

Western Rose window

Soaring architecture

Decoration behind the altar

Mary's veil

Reggie gets her crepe

Roadside sign

Chateau Saumur from the autoroute

Our B&B

Complete with complementary Saumur bubbly!

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