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A day of friendship and beauty in Chartres

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Last Friday I drove to Chartres (about 80K/50 mi South West of Paris) to meet with my English friend Carol and her family, who were on holiday in the area. Carol is a special friend I don’t see very often so I knew it was going to be a wonderful day with nice chats and lots of laughter! And in the beautiful city of Chartres I hadn’t visited in decades... that was an extra treat!

We met in ‘Maison Picassiette’, a funny wonderful house built by Raymond Isodore starting in 1930 – until his death in 1964 (estimated to 29,000 hours of work...)! His house is incredibly joyful, spiritual and fun. We loved it!

(Raymond Isidore and his wife, Adrienne outside their house, photographed by French photographer Robert Doisneau in 1953)

Basically, after he built his house himself, he used plates or pieces of plates and glass that he found in dumps (15 tons in total! I don’t even know how many pounds that is... something like 35,000 pounds!!!) and stuck them on his walls and furniture.

(Mont Saint-Michel on the wall in their tiny kitchen...)

I know, said like this, it sounds weird, but really, it was lovely, full of pretty details to look at! Bees, flowers, hearts, portraits, animals, crosses, churches and cathedrals from all over France... His creativity seemed endless!

We also really enjoyed the garden. I must say I look at gardens with different eyes (and a lot of respect and admiration) now that I have a garden myself!!!

(This one is especially for DOVESEYES and her love for the Eiffel Tower!)

After Maison Picassiette, we drove to the Cathedral and ate a nice salad in a ‘brasserie’ (a bit like a French pub) nearby before visiting the Cathedral.

Have you heard of Chartres’ Cathedral (built 1194-1220)? I suspect if you ever heard of Chartres, it is because of its Cathedral, not because of Maison Picassiette, except if you are a mosaic artist. ;)

Or you might have heard of the ‘blue of Chartres’... a beautiful medieval blue everywhere on the windows of the Cathedral... gorgeous stained glass.

Almost all windows date from the early part of the 13th century, like the Cathedral, but a few like ‘Notre-Dame de la Belle-Verrière’ below are from the 12th century (1180).

... You may also have heard of the amazing labyrinth which pilgrims like to follow as they meditate...

(I found this picture on the Internet as my pictures from ground level didn’t show at all it was a labyrinth, it was too crowded with pilgrims and visitors!)

After the Cathedral, we enjoyed a nice walk in the town centre, between sunshine and rain, like it was the whole day!

I hope you enjoyed Chartres! I was grateful for that day full of friendship and beauty! My only regret is that I didn’t stay for the iluminations on the evening... many buildings around Chartres are beautifully lit and Carol said it was breathtaking! I must go back!

Thank you for reading! I hope you are all having a great week!

P.S. If you want to visit something similar to Maison Picassiette in the USA, you might enjoy the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, which I visited last year. It is a fun place too (although in my view not as pretty and poetic as Maison Picassiette, but that is just my view!)!

PPS. Funny to see comments assuming Carol is a Sparkfriend!!! No, she is 'just' a friend, we have known each other for almost 20 years. :)

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