Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 - Chartres and Paris

Cafe in Chartres
After such an eventful day yesterday, it is hard to imagine there is still so much more to see and do on the tour!
Outside Chartres Cathredral

Anneliese Payne, faculty, enjoying the sunshine

We started the day by heading to Chartres, a beautiful city, with a quaint "old" downtown centered around Chartres Cathedral. We were scheduled to sing as part of a mass held down in the crypt, one of numerous chapels placed around the part of the cathedral which remains from the 8th century. While the cathedral has been rebuilt numerous times due to fires, etc. (the latest "incarnation" of the building being from around the 12th century), it still contains some of the oldest stained glass in Europe. The tunic/veil which was believed to be worn by the Virgin Mary is housed in Chartres Cathedral (it never burned and remained unscathed), but that was not available for us to view. The labryinth there is the one on which the SPs (U.S.) and Hawthorne Park labryinths are modeled.

Chartres Cathedral-front
Chartres Cathedral - side

Unfortunately, there was confusion in the tour company's schedule for the start time, so we arrived late to the mass. The mass was interesting, with several in attendance, and rather dimly lit, making it all seem even more mystical! Aspects of paintings on the walls could still be viewed. Following the mass, we were able to perform for the Alum Tour participants, and Michael Boswell gave them the unusual opportunity to choose which songs they would like to hear from the choir. "Steal Away" was a request from Sr. Denise Wilkinson (General Superior of the SPs in U.S.), and later "La Providence". In addition, the choir sang "Viderunt Omnes" (written originally for Notre Dame Cathedral-Paris) and "Medieval Gloria" which was well-suited to the space in which we were standing. Someone on the alum tour said he came down because he had heard the voices of the choir all the way in the gift shop upstairs.

Singing in the Crypt/Catacombs of Chartres
One of many stained glass windows in Chartres
Following lunch, we had a tour through (and around) Chartres Cathedral with our Tour Guide Extraordinaire, Etienne. He described many of the Stained Glass windows, including the Rose windows. We learned that you "read" stained glass window stories by starting at the lower left hand corner and moving up. Fascinating! He described the many of many of the entrance carvings, we viewed the Labryinth, and many other aspects of this awesome structure. The colors and beauty of the glass is difficult to describe and no camera can do them justice. We all had a little time to visit some shops (or in the case of some, to have some "glace", or ice cream) before heading back on to the bus. 

Rose Window
Above main entrance

 "The good life" -  Annette Gigliotti-Wieg

candles lit in Chartres Cathredral

Then, we were off to Paris!

The quick bus trip through main parts of Paris were overwhelming as Etienne spouted so much historical information in such a short time. We are in awe of his vast knowledge base including art history, architecture, history (dates, people, etc.) and details. We went right near the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees, the Rodin Museum, and much more. We even drove near the square where so many were guillotined, including Marie Antoinette. We checked into our hotel and were left on our own to find dinner in the very active city. Even now the sounds of the city are wafting in the window. Many of us even enjoyed a cafe-au-lait or a cappuccino after dinner, and yet, we'll likely all sleep soundly as we prepare for a full day tomorrow.

Dominique, Bus Driver "Fantastique"!

Bon Soir!

1 comment:

  1. The tradition of Our Blessed Mother's Veil housed in Chartres Cathedral is part of what makes our Catholic faith so beautiful & mystical. Singing at Masses, along with visiting century old Churches, reminds our daughters of the beauty & depth of our Catholic faith. Thank you!