Parlez vous Francais?
Trip Start Dec 11, 2011
26Trip End Jan 07, 2012
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The Eurostar arrives at Gare Paris Nord and the train to Chartres leaves from Gare Montparnasse and I had read the forums that said that it is easier to take a taxi with all your luggage. That's great advice but the problem was that the taxi queue was incredibly long, so over a Maccas coffee (did we realty do that?) we decided to give the Metro a go. There is a logic to the hierarchy of trains and if you stay cool, read all the signs and walk very fast you can do it. It took two Metro trains to get there and we were fully stretched with our cases etc on the crowded underground, but we did it. Peter is the hero as he carries two cases every time there are stairs, which is often. We found the Trains Grande Lignes and had to validate our Eurail pass, helped by a delightful station assistant and then wait for the platform number to come up for the TER train to Chartres. Sweet relief as we sat back and watched the French countryside while we ate the packed food kindly supplied by Wendy at the B and B. We were in France! No one even looked at our ticket!
You see the cathedral first from the train, soaring up above everything else, its copper roof gone green. It's the reason everyone comes to Chartres. Once again, hindsight says we should have taken a taxi to our accommodation but we
Hotellerie St Yves used to be a monastery and pre dates the cathedral, so it was built in the 11th century. The rooms are simple but very clean and comfortable, with wonderful views across the town. I think our room is what would have
We braved it in the freezing cold to find a meal and ended up at the Cathedral Bistro where we enjoyed chicken casserole and and Peter had creme brûlée with mandarins and I blissed out on a cherry, almond and ice cream dessert that had a fair bit of alcohol in it! Our first try at ordering in French; fortunately the waiter was very pleasant because at one stage I said dan (Indonesian) instead of et. Our default second language is too strong! It doesn't matter much as I don't think he understood much of what we said and it works just to point at the menu.
Will write about the cathedral next entry as we plan to spend some time there today, explore the Old Town and maybe take in a Christmas concert right here in this building this afternoon.