Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chartres, a walk by the river.

As promised. Sorry I've not been around, life rather getting in the way. As it does.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chartres: walls, and things on them, doors and windows.

I think I must start turning out the picture posts a bit quickly now, or else it'll be time for our next holiday before I've finished posting about this one.

John of Salisbury, Abelard's pupil, Becket's secretary, Bishop of Chartres, a great and gracious spirit by all accounts, the first really to speak of the shoulders of giants.

At twilight, ghosts

from the Vendôme porch, drift down the Rue St Pierre. They are ill at ease in their 15th century finery, they wander in search of a Book of Hours to make their home...

Herringbone bricks among the limestone,


and windows,

an amphibious spot,

and a faint heart,

limestone and limelight.

Tomorrow, perhaps, a walk by the river...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yes, I'm still going on about Chartres, but I have to tell you about...

... le Clos Chedeville, the Bed and Breakfast where we stayed (the website has nice pictures of the interiors, and a good English translation).

It was possibly one of the best B&Bs we've known, and we've been to a few. If you're going to the town, I couldn't recommend it too highly.

The family were discreet and lovely, and the rooms, both the bedroom where we slept and the enormous breakfast room, were full of charm, and interesting objects and furniture in the case of the latter. the breakfasts were enormous, so we often filled our pockets with brioche and croissants for later - with permission of course!

We soon made ourselves at home...

(you can just see Mol in the corner of the pic, by the door, thinking 'I'll have that bloody Welsh springer if he comes any closer...')
And the very comfy bed, and cool limestone floor, were much appreciated after a hard morning foot slogging around the town (all dignity abandoned, Tom will curse me for this, Mol won't care).

It was completely enclosed in an enormous space, full of trees and established garden and birdsong, including a cuckoo, though very near to the centre of the town, with at least three different houses within it, two of which belonged to the family, plenty of parking space, and a secure gate with a code, so we almost exclusively left the car there and walked everywhere, saving ourselves petrol and parking fees. We had our own little space to sit on the terrace, where we could take in the Friday night boule game and generally enjoy the life of the place, without feeling either intruded or intruding on.

Three other dogs lived on the premises, including the aforementioned Welsh springer, and a wonderful old man yellow labrador with a great broad smile and an attitude that went beyond benign, who, by some inexcusable oversight, neither of us took a photograph of. Mme Chedeville always asked if Molly had slept well and been comfortable before thinking to ask us the same question, thereby endearing herself to us greatly.

But one of the best things about it for me was that it seemed to be situated in some kind of salvage yard,

(there are som box elder leaves in the one above...)

cum ecclesiastical heritage site, cum former cemetery.
The camera and I were in paradise!

I don't know why, but I never got around to asking Mme Chedeville the history of the place, and why they had a load of gravestones and other bits of church archaeology in their garden. Perhaps I felt it would take away some of the magic and mystery...