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Jason and I spent the day in Chartres, which makes an easy and rewarding excursion. After resolving various ticketing problems on my last visit, with my nephew in 2008, you might think that we’d sail through that aspect. But no, I was still confused about where to buy the ticket and I forgot that you have to go up one level to take the train. Oh well. It’s a pleasant one-hour train ride (although pricey – nearly $40).

Chartres cathedral

As usual, I enjoyed the cathedral and the rest of the small city. The stained glass windows are the finest set of medieval windows in the world, and I am awed each time I revisit them. The cathedral itself has a calmness and dignity that even an atheist like myself finds inspiring. Chartres has a lot more to offer, however. Its streets twist charmingly and many of its buildings are ancient (including one apparently dating back to the Roman period). Steep streets called “tertres” go down the slopes adjacent to the cathedral and a cute little river runs along at the bottom of the hill. The shopping district is modern, bustling with happy residents oozing domestic charm. I’ve posted a set of photos, but I should caution that they’re more snapshots than my usual highly selected photographs: Chartres Photo Set. I was pleased with how well the stained glass windows came out, since they were hand held.

Stained glass window, Chartres cathedral.

This evening I caught up for dinner with Larry Tu, an old friend who is on sabbatical here. At his suggestion we ate at a Laotian restaurant near Place d’Italie. The meal and company were both excellent.

During the day Jason was thrilled to see con trails overhead, harbingers we hope of his return flight on Friday.