16 August 2018

Prancing Again in Paris: A Day in Chartres

As much as there are plenty to see inside the city, we nevertheless wanted to go on a day trip outside of Paris. So one morning, we went to Gare Montparnasse and bought a train ticket to Chartres. Chartres is a town about two hours away, and it has a world-famous cathedral with a labyrinth inside.

See, a long long time ago, I read the novel Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. I remember being engrossed by it, and somehow the locations of the book remained in my mind. Chartres was one of them. So I suppose I was curious to see the Chartres labyrinth, because of something I read several years ago.

Anyway, after a train ride in a packed train, we finally reached Chartres, and the old town was a short walk from the station. The cathedral is immense, and is definitely a must-see. That said, when we arrived, there was actually a mass going on, so we decided to check out the rest of the town first before heading inside.

There is a small historical walking tour that one can do in town. This is exactly what we did, which led us to small museums, interesting gardens, and quaint old houses by the river.

There is a small river that passes through the town, although it is not large enough to be able to navigate. Rock houses are found on its banks, and there are also interesting ancient bridges that cross it here and there.

After eating some very delicate macarons from a local bakery, we headed back to the cathedral, and this time there was no mass. This place is huge, and I must say, quite impressive. It was constructed in the 12th century, and is built in the Gothic and Romanesque styles. It is architecturally interesting to the point that UNESCO lists it as a World Heritage Site.

The labyrinth is visible, but unfortunately it wasn't completely accessible. There was an event that was rehearsing some sort of musical show, and they blocked the chairs such that the labyrinth was not reachable. When it is uncovered, there are sometimes pilgrims who kneel and complete the labyrinth, as a sign of devotion.

After spending a few hours here, we headed back to Paris, back to the big city.

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