As I was passing I asked two young lads getting into their cars if they were headed to Igny, but they weren't. I inched my way along only to be stopped 10 minutes later by a car pulling up. "I can take you to Igny Miss" said one of the lads I'd spoken to before. He'd obviously seen me struggling, driven round the block, and come back to help. What wonderful kindness and generosity, which I met again at my next spot too.
Because I was in so much pain I caught a train and bus to Chevreuse, hoping that rest would fix things. It didn't, and so I decided the best thing to do would be to catch a train to Chartres and spend several days resting. The hotel owner closed the office and drove me the 3kms to the station "because you're sick".
I have had three days (four nights) in Chartres, and though my back is improved, it is by no means better, so it remains to be seen what happens next.
The flowers were well and truly out and on display as I walked through the suburbs. This orange flower intrigued me. I don't ever remember seeing one like this before.
A avenue of honour on the outskirts of Paris, near Antony.
These hyacinths were just a mass of color and reminded me of jewell's.
A castle overlooking Chevruese.
In between resting I have had a good look, though slow, at this beautiful city. It is famous for its cathedral, which contains beautiful stained glass windows and the largest labyrinth in the country.
The cathedral stands on a site where there have been a number of cathedrals ( five, I think). The current gothic one took only 30 years to build, and was built after lightning, in 1194, struck the spire which in turn collapsed onto the Romanesque cathedral, destroying it.
The windows in the cathedral are famous for the quality and shade of blue glass in them. In 1940 it took 15 days to remove all the windows to protect them. They were stored in the crypt, and in caves in the Dordogne, before being returned after the war.
Pilgrim signs in Chartres.
The labyrinth can only be seen in its entirety on Fridays. I walked it on Friday morning, along with dozens of others. Following the track around, it is over 240 metres in length.
Walking the labrynth.
Chartres cathedral and some of the stained glass windows. Note the blue glass.
The Chartres Cathedral (above and below) sits on a hilltop and it is said that on a clear day the spires can be seen from as far away as 30kms.
Chartres has a light (and sound) event after dark, from mid April till the end of October - Chartres en lumières. The cathedral is one of the many buildings with animated illuminations, lasting about 15 mins a cycle. The little tourist train does a tour around the city of all the buildings that are illuminated, passing both simple and complex illuminations. I enjoyed seeing the drawings of famous (though I didn't recognize many) people shown on buildings they had associations with.
Just two of the illuminations on the cathedral. At times it was quite animated with "figures" abseiling down the building.
St Pierre church was stunning in the afternoon sunshine.
I'm staying in the St Yves hostellerie, the pointed roofed building, and my room looks across at the cathedral spire (unseen, but on the right of the photo).