Judy's Journal - Day 2
Friday, September 14th

Arrive in Dublin, Ireland at 5:40 a.m.  Flight was smooth except for a bit of turbulence in the middle.  No sleep of course.

            Enter in terminal, go thru security again & sit in terminal to wait for our 7 a.m. flight to Charles de Gaulle in Paris. We are tired but OK.

            Flight boards & leaves on time. First flight we were in a pair of seats with Don & Deb in front of us.  Now three w/Tim across the aisle.

            We arrive on time at 9:30 am, go thru passport control, pick up our luggage & go to the car rental counter.  Car is rental with Auto Europe, which is National Car Rental.  Girl speaks only passable English.  Our car is a Citroen station wagon, which is large and comfortable.  However, when we go to get it, we discover a scrape on the left front & a dent and scrape on the right front.  We then have to go back down two floors & report this to the counter girl again, who says it is in the computer now.

            I unwrap the GPS, which we rented at home.  It has to be set up and “restored to France.”  You are supposed to be able to set the language, which, of course, doesn't work, so it is in French.  Luckily, since it is almost exactly like our GPS at home & with my pidgin French, it will do.  There is an 800 # to call for help, but it would be expensive.



in front of Chartres

the splendor of Chartres's windows


the cleaned, and the to-be-cleaned

on the way to lunch


            We leave Paris & promptly get very lost. The maps we have are terrible, a few with no numbers listed for roads.  Finally, the GPS gets us headed in the right direction, southwest out of Paris headed toward Chartres.  The traffic is heavy but moving & we arrive there early afternoon.

            We find an underground parking garage (€7.80 for about 3-4 hours). It is a cloudy, windy, briskly cold day.  Supposedly in the low 60s, but feels much colder than that.  Certainly, too cold and windy to sit outside at a café.

            We decide to eat lunch before touring the Cathedral, & head to the side of the Chartres Cathedral, where Tim & I ate 3 years ago. – Le Bistrot de la Cathedrale. – (rec. by Rich Steves & typically French Fare) – delicious hot soups (onion – Deb, veggie – Judy), salade (Judy – Nicoise), Tim & Don – steak & frites. Waiter spoke English, Sandwich – Deb – ham & cheese.

            Afterwards into the Cathedral. 450 ft. long w/stupendous stained glass – Chartres blue, Mary window from 1500s, Noah window w/ 7 diamonds telling his story from the bottom up, rose windows, altar walled off w/ construction, part of choir, & exterior cleaned of black soot and white details very visible.  Originally figures / sculptures painted and gold leafed, no Malcom Miller tour today, labyrinth w/ praying hands & green frocked monk. Walked around town a bit – plus to raised, walled in area behind the rear of church w/ flying buttresses. Afterward, .50€ each to use toilette in store. Back to car to leave to drive west to Villandry. Very heavy traffic & a bit of confusion w/ following GPS. Call hotel to say we won’t be there until 7:00 or 8:00. Travel 2½  - 3 hrs. on big roads. We had previously purchased a book map at a rest stop on the big highway. (Suggested by Rick Steves, as a good place to do so). Because of map & GPS, we now have an easier time making our way.

            Deb & I are so tired/sleepy. We have a lot of trouble staying awake so we play Uno. Fun! Lots of giggles.

            We arrive at our hotel, Auberge Columbien, in Villandry around 7:15. Lovely small French town. Narrowing road on purpose to one lane to slow traffic down. We are lead to our rooms by a nice French guy, who also carries our heavy suitcases up a small winding staircase. Room is small but very clean. Nice view out window. We unpack & settle in & then go down the block & around the corner to a pizza restaurant. Delicious salad w/ warm goat cheese & thin crusted small pizzas in short order. Very satisfying warm mint tea since I’m cold.

            Back to our rooms.  Loud noise from restaurant & owners’ little girl playing. Earplugs. Finally quiet and 10 hours of sleep to remedy our exhausted bodies.