Real luxury – Breakfast in our room — Dressed & had a meeting in the Lobby – Harold and Ruth were heading for Versailles – The rest of us decided to make the trip to Chartres – It was a beautiful, bright and sunny day as we left the Hotel – We took a walk up the Champs Élysées – the side walk cafes were full even at this early hour Sunday morning.
We walked to the Arc de Triomphe & took the elevator to the top
from where we had a wonderful view of the City –
[Editor’s Note: This is the moment some of you have been anticipating. If you didn’t already know this was the 1970s, the pants would have given it away. And there I am in a telltale skirt and “mod” boots.]
We boarded the “metro” and went to the Rail Road Station & took the train to Chartres – It is some 60 miles out of Paris & on our way we passed through Versailles where the palace by the same name is to be seen.
We arrived in the City of Chartres in time for lunch – The French mushroom Omelet was something extra special – another bright spot in the day!
In only a few minutes we stood before the beautiful cathederal of Chartres – At one time this very spot was the Druidical center where ceremonies were held around a well (since found under the Cathedral crypt) So this has been a sacred spot since the Gallo-Roman period – later a Gallo-Roman temple stood here before it became a place of Christian worship.
This as we saw it this Sunday –
As a pagan Temple a statue of a “Mother Goddess” was venerated Later the Christians saw in this statue a prefiguartion of the Virgin Mother of God & it was moved into the first basilica they built on this spot – The new Tower (seen on the left) which is actually the older of the two dates from 1134 The Old Tower is a masterpiece of Roman art. Inside the collection of 12th & 13th Century stained glass windows is perhaps the finest in France – The clear blue is the famous “Chartres Blue”
The column statues are outstanding marvels of Romanesque art – The intensely live faces with the rigid bodies are famous
The crypt is the largest in France – over 240 yards long
Back through the countryside of France to Paris & our Hotel where we met Harold & Ruth –
Harold had learned of a Restaurant – good food & English Speaking waiters So off we went – to Un Bon Restaurant – Doucet
At the door there was a display of many kinds of fresh fish and a man in fisherman’s attire to provide fresh fish for your table –
The decor was Victorian in red velvet & heavy dark wood – The food was wonderful as we worked our way through the meal from onion soup to real French Ice Cream –
Our steps were a little slow as we made our way back to “The Californian”
Volume labeled “The Pennsylvania Lawyer’s Diary 1971”, used as travel journal by Elizabeth W. Ruffner, for a trip taken in March-April 1971; held by Malissa Ruffner, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Baltimore, MD; 2011.
For background information on this series of posts, see Spring Break, 1971.