Heading Home

What a day!  I was up since 4:00am, when my hostel room mate left for his flight.  I headed out at 6:00 am to get to the airport.  It was quiet on the metro.

The baggage conveyor was broken, and the computer system was down…so it was not a smooth start.  When i finally checked in my bag they told me I had no seat.  I was put on standby, and told that at 10:20 I’d get a seat for the 11:00 flight.  So….that left very little time to go through security

Look at this line…6 rows deep, leading to another room with more lines.  Nobody was interested in helping…they just pointed us to the end of the line.  I spoke up and got the attention of someone who looked official, and got to the front of the line (along with two others who were in a similar predicament).  I got flagged to do an xray scan, and that was a mess…i had no  i was supposed to do.  

With less than 10 minutes to spare, i was running through the airport toward thegate, at the far end.  I can say that i have never run through a duty free shop before.  Boy this airport was not easy to navigate.  I got to the gate, and it was empty.  Some people behind me were running and crying.  Nowhere did it say the flight was delayed, and i was cutting it close.

Managed to get on board though, and in my seat by 11:02.

Here’s my airport running partner.  We were really excited to make the flight!

I slept a lot on the plane!  
I am now back in Canada!  It has been a great adventure, and a very memorable month.  Thanks to all who have been following along, and to those who have been in touch wih me this month.  Thanks to all my friends who I got to visit and reconnect with.  Thanks to the choir who arranged  incredible performance opportunities.

Rainy Day

It was my first rainy day.  I got to see the famous “white sky” that Antoine had told me about.  So, to escape the rain, I headed to the Musée d’Orsay and took in some beautiful works of art.

I think there were art classes visiting too

I recognized a few paintings.

Found some water lilies!

They show art restoration to the public.  It must take years!

I wandered down towards Notre Dame, and i stopped to watch people lock their love to the bridge

Got to Notre Dame and went to the vespers service

First and last visit in Paris.

Heading home tomorrow.  A long travel day.

Water lilies

After a bacon and eggs breakfast (thanks Antoine), we went to learn more about Claude Monet.  We found his grave.

Some of his neighbours are not home….the cemetery is rather dishevelled.

Next we went to Monet’s garden and house.

We found the water lily garden

But we weren’t sure which Japanese bridge was in the painting…

Some of the plants had humungous leaves.

Monets house was as he had left it.  Copies of the paintings hung on the wall.

He had an excellent garden view

After lunch we saw a different kind of museum.  It was for antique steam machinery.  It smelled like machine shop!  The best part was watching some of the machines wok.  So many times museums will let you see an item, but not in action.

After dinner I said farewell to Antoine and his mom, and set off on the train, then metro, to Montmartre to find my hostel.  It is pretty wild here at night!

My hostel is excellent.

Climbing the Tower with Antoine

This morning I met up with Antoine, a former student of mine from early in my career.  It was wonderful to see him again, and cross another thing off my list for Paris. 

We met in the business district, with crazy buildings

We went to look at fancy pastries, on a quest for the best croissant in Paris

We found some!

We ditched my backpack at a station that had a locker room.  With the state of emergency, it is not easy to find !  We walked to the tower, and then we climbed it!

We took a lot of pictures.  Antoine is trying his new wide angled lens.

This is part way up.

I tried my first macaron here!  It was delicious.
We caught an elevator to the top

What a view!

There is a glass floor on the first level…see the people below?

Chartres to Paris

I went to the stained glass museum today…came across St. bernard, the guy who made the Fontenay Abbey we saw a while ago.

It was neat to see the stained glass process explained, and learn about restoration

They also explained all the stories for all the windows in chartres cathedral

Downstairs there was modern stained glass on display

I wandered until i got lost…found a sign for montreal 😉

Also found a cool painted church

I took a train to Paris, and had a wonderful evening and home cooked meal with choir friends and their families who extended their stay in Paris.

Chartres Cathedral: top to bottom

On Fridays they uncover the labyrinth.  Usually there are chairs covering it up.

Here is the crypt, the lower church, part of the foundations from the romanesque church.  There are chapels here for pilgrim groups to use

Walls are decorated with 12th century frescos

The main church has been renovated.  Walls are painted to look like block work, and some columns are painted to look like marble.  The statue here weighs 9 tons.

The cathedral is home to the biggest collection of 12th/13th century stained glass.

It also holds a relic, of a very old cloth, supposedly the veil worn by the virgin mary.  This is why it is such a big pilgrimmage site.

The doors are all decorated with statues, which used to be painted.

I climbed up 300 big steps to see the view from the north tower.

I was above the first layer of gargoyles

Looking up, watching the sky move, relative to the tower gave me a dizzy, falling feeling

Back on street level, the pokemon hunt was on still

I stayed to see the vespers service, sung by 3 women.  I am amazed how closely the catholic service is to the Anglican one…I could know what was happening and when to stand up.


Light streaming through…

They explain stained glass windows each friday night.  This one was all about saint martin.  Here he is expelling a demon out of a guys behind….quite a miracle.

Chartres by night

It was a travel day today…a high speed train, a wait in Le Mans, and then a local train to chartres.  I left at 11am, and found my hotel around 5:30 pm.

This is an area, near the cathedral, on the other side of where we visited with the choir.

My room is pretty fancy!

I settled in and rested up for the light show all over town.  It started at 11pm, and ran until 1am
There was a certain portion of the population who did not watch the show…they were off catching pokemon.  The lights on their screens made a different kind of light show.

It was an interesting approach having many stations for lights.  I missed the collective sense of awe when it happens for everyone in one spot, but more people could showcase their building and their art this way.