A Day Trip to Chartres

Morning! I had a pretty packed weekend, Friday was Fete de la Musique in France, so there were loads of parties happening around Paris. We went to a Hawaiian rooftop party, with all the trimmings. There was a BBQ, tropical trees, open bars served by boys clad in Hawaiian shirts, and as well as DJs on the roof, there was also one downstairs. It felt more like a club than someone's flat. On Saturday, I helped host a friend's baby shower, which involved baking in the morning, with a pretty terrible hangover (the punch was just too good) and then legging it over to her apartment to help decorate and set up. After a few hours of lots of eating, and oohing and ahhing over baby gifts, I popped home for a nap and then headed out again in the evening for her leaving do - she moved to Dubai yesterday to be with the baby's father. 

Sunday we took a day trip to Chartres, a beautiful old town just south west of Paris, famous for its 12th century UNESCO heritage gothic cathedral. I've been wanting to visit since I finished Kate Mosse's Labyrinth, which the cathedral and more importantly the labyrinth featured in. After an hour and a half drive we re-fuelled at La Picoterie creperie with some savory galettes, followed by a sweet one smothered in the most delicious salted caramel syrup. After scooping up every last drop of caramel, we ventured outside into the very un-summer blustery weather and over to the cathedral, which dominates everything in its surroundings. In fact its towering spires were the first thing we saw when we were still 20 minutes away on the motorway. They are impressive, as is the rest of the cathedral. I felt very small entering through the large wooden doors and you can practically feel the history seeping out of the stones. Inside it's beautiful, with stained glass windows and carved stone. 

There were plenty of tour guides and tourists milling about, but I did manage to take a few snaps of the labyrinth inlaid into the stone floor. Apparently on Friday the chairs had been cleared to reveal it in all its glory to celebrate the Summer Solstice, which I would have loved to have seen. After taking in the sights and sounds of the cathedral, when went back outside to find a brocante - the other reason I wanted to visit Chartres yesterday, as I knew there would be a big one happening in one of the squares. We wandered around the various antiques stalls searching for some cutlery and found a couple of old spoons, a knife and a fork that I plan to use for baking. Visiting a brocante is a good thing to do if you plan a day trip to Chartres on a Sunday as there's not a huge amount open or to do in the town besides have a nice lunch and visit the cathedral. Have a great start to the week. 

[Photography: Marissa Cox]