Monday, August 15, 2011

Chartres, France & Dijon, France

My bike and I hopped on a train in Paris and took the hour journey to Chartres (population 40,000). Why? To see the famous Chartres Cathedral.
It was drizzling upon disembarking from the train and right after snapping this photo it started pouring rain. The Gothic-style Chartres Cathedral was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1979. Besides having an impressive collection of stained glass windows you can readily see what else is unique--the mismatched spires.

The streets of Dijon (population 150,000) contrary to what you might have heard are not mustard colored. This photo shows Ducal Palace, formally known as the Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy. Built in the 17th and 18th centuries it now houses Dijon's city hall and a fine arts museum.

Half-timbered buildings abound in the old town area of Dijon.

It's market day and Dijon has a permanent building for many of the vendors.

It's at one of these stalls though where I experience Dijon's fame for food. A long line formed at one of the vendors and I found out why. It was thick slices of pork roast with stuffing (how they stuffed it into the roast is a mystery to me) with green beans and meat juice poured over--absolutely fantastic!

This grandmotherly-type is wooing visitors into a restaurant.

I normally stop at the local tourist office and pick up a brochure on sights to see in town. Usually though I pretty much see all by just cruising up and down streets with my bike. Near the outskirts of Dijon I came upon a walled-in compound with extensive grounds and a mixture of buildings. This wasn't on the list of places to visit. It turns out this was a monastery back in the late 14th century and in 1833 a mental asylum. Now, it's a pyschiatric hospital.

So, I'm cycling around the place and I pass a large courtyard with the building pictured above in the middle. I look inside and see a large well but, above the well are life-size stone figurines.

I've come across the Well of Moses. This monumental stone sculpture dates back to 1399. It consisted of a large crucifixion scene surrounded by the figures of six prophets (Moses, David, Jeremiah, Zachariah, Daniel and Isaiah).

This sculpture sat uncovered out in the open from 1399 until the 17th century. Then, evidently someone said, "hey, this thing is cracking and peeling from the elements--I think we should enclose it in a building".

This is Moses.

1 comment:

  1. I simply ADORED these pictures and the descriptions you wrote! I long
    to visit. Excellent, Paul