"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagnination, and life to everything." ~ Plato

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

167 - Chartres ~ Europe Day 10!

June 10th, 2011 – Chartres Cathedral

                The main stop of the day was the historic Chartres Cathedral, where the choir sang our final concert of the year.  We drove for what seemed like quite a while from Honfleur to Chartres … I have no pictures of the ride, so it must not have been that exciting.  The only significant thing I remember was listening to Julian’s iPod and being fairly impressed with his band from high school – fun times were had, indeed (what sarcasm?). 
                Chartres was gorgeous of course!  We had very little time to get some food before having to go into the cathedral.  Luckily, I had saved some food from breakfast, so I got a chance for some quick souvenir shopping, which ended up being some postcards and a rosary.  J

Outside of the cathedral - flying buttresses!

Some architecture close up ... amazing.
Hey!  That's us!  "Friday the 10th of June at 5pm ... Free entry"

We were given a tour by a very old man who I think is one of the leading historians of the cathedral – he has his own book! 
Our guide and expert on all things Chartres.
The most exquisite part of the building, to me, is the stained glass, which shines so brightly in the dark stone interior. 
One of their famous rose windows.  All of the glass in the cathedral was removed by hand during WWII to save it.  The cathedral itself, suspected of being a Nazi meeting point, was almost the victim of a bombing by the Allies.

Over one of the side doors, representing the coming of the Lord.

One of the walls that has been restored.  Someday the entire building will be white like this, as it was many, many years ago - absolutely stunning.
I also got to walk the labyrinth, which was profound, both historically and spiritually.  People have been paying pilgrimage to the cathedral for centuries to visit the labyrinth and the holy relic – a piece of cloth thought to be worn by Mary when she gave birth to Jesus.  In reflecting on the relic, I felt like it is not a matter of being “real” or “fake” (as our 21st century minds naturally ponder); what makes it matter is the fact that it serve(d)(s) as a source of belief and faith for so many people.  That’s what makes its power real. 
The relic, behind gates.

People walking the labyrinth, taken before I had done so.
          In terms of music and our concert, I preferred St. Severin’s in terms of coziness and sound clarity; Chartres is so much bigger that our sound felt quite small because it took longer to reverberate back to us.  But it was a magical concert.  Tears were held back until our last few songs together, where the emotion swelled, both literally and musically.  I didn’t end up crying (I usually don’t), but hugs were necessary all around.  COW has been such an amazing experience this year and I have grown tremendously as a musician and a person.  Some of my closest friends were discovered through choir this year and the significance of the group in my life for this year will never be forgotten.  SO MUCH CHOIR LOVE.
Dinner was at a restaurant in Chartres.  We overcrowded it a bit, and half of us were sent upstairs to a rooftop room … the 5 flights of stairs were worth the light and great view ... that I didn't take a picture of.  The only Steph food scare of the entire trip happened here (of course).  Fortunately, it was minor and nothing happened, but she felt too uncomfortable to eat after it.  Of course, it happened during the appetizer.  :/  <3 
Finally, another long drive back to another Paris hotel, the Novotel, was spent listening to more of Julian’s iPod.  It was probably only an hour or so, but it seemed like forever. 

A beautiful sunset accompanied our drive back to Paris.  :)
Jessie tripled with us again (hooray!) and she and I spent some time with our friends Brendan and Jo before bed.  The rooms there were nice, but nothing extraordinary.  In fact, there was hardly room to maneuver around the bed and the two pull-outs, which were very spring-y.  These minor details were fairly easy to overlook however, as we anticipated a full day in Paris on our own for Saturday!


No comments:

Post a Comment