Thursday, 28 June 2012

Back in France - The Drive Part 3 - Chartres

I do apologise for the three parts of the drive not being consecutive,  but I felt that the blogging party in the Loire, and arrival of quadruplets (see last post) were important enough to break the continuity!  Then there was the overnight stop  at Bourgtheroulde which was really part of the drive, the visit to Lacock in the UK, and a tour around my garden to break up the trip a little further and give a bit of variety!  This blog relates the final part of the drive home in May, with a visit to Chartres. 

On leaving Bourgtheroulde, we decided to avoid our usual toll road route southwards, and see which way 'George' (our sat nav) would take us through  French countryside we had never visited.  We kept no notes of the roads we travelled on and blindly followed the satnav instructions (!!); thus it was a bit of a mystery tour, but the first interesting sign which I photographed was at Evreux. This is a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, 60 miles (100km) west of Paris. It has a rich ecclesiastical history, and worth a visit for that. Apart from being a seat of Jewish learning in the Middle Ages, the town has long Roman Catholic history. The well-preserved Cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Évreux shown on the sign is  a national monument. Part of it dates back to the 11th century, with towers from the Renaissance period.

According to another large sign in this area, there is also a large chocolate factory here; the photo did not come out well enough to publish, but another good reason to visit this region!!

Driving on further, in hazy light, we suddenly observed, in the very flat landscape, this stunning sight on the horizon.
This photo was taken, as you can see, from a distance; no sign of a town here, just the massive building and its spires.  Nigel said "that has to be Chartres Cathedral", so we decided there and then to take time for a quick stop to look at this magnificent place.  Driving into the town centre, we followed parking signs until we eventually found a large new underground car park, built in a spiral - a bit freaky!  Tourist prices, of course, and on the short walk to the cathedral, we saw a cafe advertising a salad at €10 - not for us!!  Another view below of other magnificent architecture to be seen around the cathedral.


The next vision in front of us was the stunning sight of the medieval Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres.  It is considered to be one of the finest of French high gothic styles.  The present Cathedral was mostly constructed in 1193 and 1250 and is one of at least 5 that have occupied the ground since the 4th century.  There have been very few changes to the original building and apparently most of the stained glass windows are originals.  While we were there, restoration was going on inside, and there were quite a few temporary hoardings, so there was a lot we were unable to see.  The following photos should give you some idea of what it looks like; this all before before my camera battery ran out!!!



Some of the beautiful carvings below






You can see the temporary hoardings above and below - amazing artwork!!.



Certainly worth another visit at a later date to see this building in all its glory;  the rest of the town looks equally interesting, but we had to move on...........

I managed to charge the camera for a short time in the car, but I missed many good photos while this was in process!!  I thought that this would be of interest to my American readers.

The US Air Service established its largest training centre here in 1917.  At the time of the Armistice in 1918, there were well over 10,000 ground personnel, student pilots and instructors.  It was, at this stage, the largest air base in the world. There is a monument here to mark their part in the Great War.  The air force left in 1919 and the thirteen airfields have now  been returned to agricultural use.

We next passed through a village which had models of sheep in small flocks on the pavement. Due to the busy traffic, I missed the name of the village, and I also missed the first and best photo!  Just as we were leaving the village, I managed to get part of a group between some parked cars....
They looked quite realistic when driving by; presumably this is a village that is involved with sheep farming! If we ever go this way again, I will try for some more information.

Finally, almost home, we saw this new sign  which I mentioned in a previous post here.

P.S. Mum and babies appear to be well at this stage.


You might also like My Life Before the Charente  updated 28 June 2012.

Some people seem to be having a problem following this link from their reader; I am aware of the problem, but unable to fix it.  If anyone has a solution, I will be more than happy to hear about it.

92 comments:

  1. Diane, how exciting with quadruplets! Good to hear everyone is well.

    The church is stunning...I can just imagine how much more impressive it was in person! I just got a new camera and am already looking for an extra battery. My old one used AA batteries, it was a pain but I could always bring extras. That is an interesting photo with the sheep! :)

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  2. Lyndsey I am trying to keep track of the quadruplets but not easy without scaring Mum.

    I have never had a battery problem before it last for moons, it was my fault for not charging it all the time I was in the UK!!

    I hope we find the sheep town again sometime but as we don't know the name!! Keep well Diane

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  3. Nice to see all this.:-) Hugs Stina

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  4. La cathédrale de Chartres mérite vraiment une visite.Merci pour ce compte rendu intéressant.Souhaitons qu'à votre prochaine visite vous ayez la possibilté de mieux voir les magnifiques vitraux.
    Contente de savoir que les oisillons vont bien, le beau temps est favorable à toute la famille.
    Bonne fin dejournée!

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  5. I love the sheep sculptures, they are indeed very realistic!
    And of course-the architecture is impressive!

    Blog about life and travelling
    Blog about cooking

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  6. Oh,just lovely..imagine travelling and sightseeing without worrying about being highjacked or robbed!!

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  7. Lucie, La cathédrale est magnifique, mais Reims est mon préféré. Nous reviendrons à Chartres pour bien voir. Les oisillons sont très heureux. Bonne journée. Diane

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  8. Ola the architecture was magnificent. I would like to find out more about the sheep but I have to find the town first!! Diane

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  9. Liesl last year when I cycled to the mid-night fireworks, on my own on Bastille Day, it struck me then I would never dream of doing that over there!!! I love the relaxed, safe feeling here in the country. Quite a change from living behind an electric fence as we did in Jhb! Keep well Diane

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  10. I don't mind if the tour is broken up with other posts. I do that myself ;-)

    I enjoyed this post and photos of the magnificent architecture. When I was working my boss travelled to this place and brought me back a book mark from Chartes. It is nice to see what the place really looks like. Have a lovely day!

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  11. Awesome photos of your trip Diane. That church is a work of art by itself. What a fantastic place.

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  12. Joyful I am glad that you have seen what the cathedral looks like as you have the book mark. It is quite beautiful. I hope that we will get back to visit it when the restoration is finished. Take care Diane

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  13. Horst the art work is amazing, and even more so when you consider how old it is. Thanks for the visit and the comment. Keep well Diane

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  14. What a stunning church and that stonework is amazing.
    Plenty of history there I think.
    10euros for a salad does indeed seem a wee bitty excessive.
    I'm enjoying looking at the French scenery through your camera.

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  15. Beautiful pictures, especially the cathedral. Glad the quadruplets are doing well.

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  16. What a great tour! the cathedral is beautiful - what stained glass! and I love those stone sheep!
    Mary x

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  17. Oh Diane I am so happy that George led you by way of Chartres. That first picture, of the Cathedral from the distance, is absolutely stunning. I didn't realise it looks like that from the distance (I don't go on roads much, sounds funny but I don't drive you see). I enjoyed every single shot of the Cathedral, thank you so much for this post.

    You asked about my trip in August, I don't think I will have time to visit Normandy, and shall stay in Britanny. Maybe next time...Charente! X

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  18. Omygoodness Diane!!! ... thank you for stopping at he Cathedral and sharing your pics - I can only marvel at the craftsmanship of the masons who constructed this building ... Wow!

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  19. Diane, thanks for super photos...and I took a detour and saw the great photos of the blogging lunch. It looks like you all really enjoyed catching up. Louise

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  20. The architecture is AMAZING!

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  21. Oh my!!!
    I can see that I have some exciting reading to catch up on! I so enjoyed this post! You have such a lovely style of writing. I'm off now to see your new blog!!
    Blessing!
    Ann
    PS I'll post the church you told me about next time!

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  22. Hi Diane, thank you for sharing all the beautiful pictures.

    All your pictures look good, very well taken.
    Love the sheep, look very realistic and cute.

    Have a nice day, regards.

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  23. Ellie as you say plenty of history there. The stone work is amazing and the workmanship is something else. Glad that you have enjoyed the drive through France. Keep well Diane

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  24. Marjie, the cathedral is quite something, even more when you think how many years the work was done. Have a great day Diane

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  25. Mary Mum's Kitchen, the windows are exceptional but I am never very good at taking the photos with the light behind!! The sheep were great in flocks down the pavement :) Have a good day Diane

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  26. Dolly I am sorry you will not get to see Chartres for yourself, it is stunning and that view on the horizon is amazing. You have said that you do not drive, but maybe one day someone will take you that way. I will be waiting at Angouleme station for you when you can make the trip :)
    Glad that you enjoyed this post. Keep well Diane x

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  27. Graham it amazes me how good the craftsmen were that many years ago with the lack of equipment that we have today. I would love to go back in time and see just how they did it. Some of the very high, large stone domes the buildings have is a complete mystery to me. How did the manage with out cranes!! It really is wow. Look after that back of yours. Diane

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  28. Louise thanks for the visit and the comment. Yes the blogging party was great fun. Glad that you have enjoyed my posts. Keep well Diane

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  29. Amelia thanks for the kind comment. The sheep really do look very realistic, my first look I thought that they were escapees!! Take care. Diane

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  30. Pam you are so right, and how did they do that so many years ago? Have a good day. Diane

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  31. Ann thanks for kind comments and glad that you enjoyed. Looking forward to your next post. Keep well Diane

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  32. The church building is awesome , I like to see old building. This bring back my old Sweet memory when I was in Paris 6 years ago celebrated our 10 years wedding anniversary..

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  33. You have "George" and we have "Hope". We say that we HOPE she knows where she is taking us. It looks like "George" took you on a nice route.

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  34. Another interesting visit with some stunning architectural photos, thanks Diane.

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  35. Sonia I am pleased yo bring back such great memories for you. Have a good day Diane

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  36. backroadjournal Yea George did a good job on this route but sometimes he does have a few odd ideas! I like the name Hope. it is well suited to a SatNav!! Have a great weekend Diane

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  37. Linda it will never cease to amaze me what they built so many years ago. I am sure with all our equipment nowadays they could not improve on them. Have a great weekend. Diane

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  38. wow stunning church and love the baby birdies so sweet

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  39. Rebecca the birds are cute and doing well. The cathedral is quite beautiful. Take care Diane

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  40. enjoyed the beautiful pictures thank you for sharing

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  41. Torviewtoronto thanks for the visit and comment. Keep well Diane

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  42. You are going to have to stop traveling, Diane. Your posts are really interesting and I find myself spending way too much time on your blog :-). The detail photos of the architecture are stunning and I love seeing these structures through your eyes. I hope all is well. Hugs and blessings...Mary

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  43. Mary, sorry LOL. If you ever find my posts boring let me know and I will stop blogging :) There are a few more travels coming up as I took a lot of photos when we went to the Loire, I won't tell you how many!!!!
    I do try to keep my posts sort of short, as I find reading long posts with dozens of photos just too much! Keep well Diane

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  44. Diane, thanks for sharing all the interesting photos. The church looks spectacular! Hugs.

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  45. Wow, I didn't know there was more than one Notre Dame Cathedral - this one looks so much like the famous Parisan one! Love your photos!

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  46. What a great post, Diane! The church is magnificent and I appreciate your wonderful pictures and info about the area. Glad the quads are doing well.

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  47. Wow, that cathedral is immaculate and majestic! Love, love, love the details inside!

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  48. Diane,
    Such a long scroll down - you are popular, but I knew that already. Working life has been busy and so I've just caught up on Chartres which is where we stayed for a night. The cathedral is magnificent but so is the town around it. We had the good fortune to be there on Market Day as well.

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  49. Beautiful place and what a stunning cathedral!!
    And so cute those birds in the previous post!

    Ciao
    Alessandra

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  50. Quay Po Cooks the cathedral is pretty spectacular. Hope all is well with you. Take care. Diane

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  51. The Café Sucré Farine there are a number of Notre Dame churches and cathedrals. It simply means 'our lady' so it can be applied to any of them. It is just that Paris is very famous. Personally I thing the Notre Dame cathedral in Rheims is the most spectacular. Keep well Diane

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  52. Pam glad you enjoyed the photos. The quads are fine and still doing well. Keep well Diane

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  53. chubskulit it is a beautiful cathedral, quite stunning and in excellent condition. Have a great day. Diane

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  54. Leon and Sue, glad work is busy, it would be pretty dull if it wasn't!!
    I hope they did not rip you off staying over in Chartres we were horrified at the costs around there. I would like to return and see the town properly, maybe next time we take a trip to the UK. Enjoying the TDF now and Wimbledon, so much on all at the same time. D and N

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  55. Alessandra thanks for the comment, so pleased you enjoyed my photos. Take care Diane

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  56. Une magnifique cathédrale.
    Elle fait penser à notre Dame de Paris.
    A bientôt

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  57. WOW! Chartres is so beautiful! My husband and I like how you set your sat nav to lead you on a mystery tour.

    We're heading back to France...Paris again in October for our anniversary. We would love to be able to leave home here for a year to really spend time in all the other pretty parts!

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  58. Thanks for taking me on another beautiful trip. Your photos are stunning.

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  59. Nadji, La cathédrale est magnifique, mais j'aime l'un à Reims. Bonne journée. A bientôt. Diane

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  60. Freda I am sure that you are looking forward to October. A year off to travel would be great but not always practical! France is so beautiful but there is so much we have not seen. Take care Diane

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  61. Judy, glad you enjoyed the trip, we did :) Have a good day. Diane

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  62. It has been fun catching up on blogs today, what with the quadruplets and the third part of your return to France post. I loved the sheep and look forward to hearing more about them. It looks like you visited some beautiful places and it was a pleasure to share them with you.

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  63. Froggy it was fun not really knowing where we were going, or where we went!! Still have not fathomed out where the sheep were!! We did see some lovely places en route Chartres being quite special. Hope all well with you Diane

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  64. The photos are wonderful. I love the ones of the church.

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  65. Words Of Deliciousness the cathedral is quite stunning and I am sorry that by battery ran out but.... Thanks for the comment, have a great day Diane

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  66. the church looks beautiful, i'm just amazed at the artwork, i always wonder how did people do that? I'm enjoying looking at the photos, though malaysia is a small country here, there are still a lot of places and towns within the country that i've not visited, i should do that more often:)

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  67. Lena I would love to see some photos of your country that would be a great idea. I have only been to Phuket so there is much I have not seen very much. Keep well Diane

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  68. These pictures are stunning and the ride back home definitely an enjoyable one, it seeems.

    Red

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  69. I'm glad that all is well with your family. Thank you for the report, with such amazing architectural wonders. Your photos are absolutely fantastic.

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  70. I have been there before, so long ago that your photos are a nice reminder and brighten my day.. wonderful memories
    anni

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  71. Boye By Red it was great diving home not in our usual big rush and seeing places we had never been to before. Take care Diane

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  72. Olga the architecture is amazing and even more so when you realise how many years ago this was built. Have a good day Diane

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  73. This is Belgium I am glad to have brought back good memories, that makes me feel good ;) Have a great day. Diane

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  74. These are great photos and it's so nice to see a different part of France.
    The sheep statues are darling and probably don't attract nearly as many flies as the real deal so I can definitely say, I prefer the statues :)

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  75. Diane always love your Pictures especially like these of the church are stunning!! and love the quadruplets what mice and cute!!:)

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  76. Diane, you live in such a beautiful part of the world. What gorgeous buildings and the leadlight windows are spectacular. Hope you had a wonderful time driving and taking in, all of France's historic delights. Fifi x

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  77. You have a way of enjoying even a simple trip back home that is truly enthusiastic and contagious!!
    Makes me feel like taking the road again!
    I like your kiddos!
    The Redstarts are very familiar birds and nest easily in close proximity with humans!
    Love Diane, enjoy your day!
    XXXX

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  78. Sara Louise you are right about the flies I am sure :) We have sheep all around us and they certainly do a good job of attracting the flies in summer! It is fun seeing other parts of France. I am hoping that now we live here we will get more chance to travel :) Diane

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  79. Fifi I have to agree that we really do live in a beautiful part of the world and one that oozes history. We are very happy living here.
    I have to say though that I also love Brisbane it is a lovely part of Australia. Take care Diane

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  80. Gloria the quadruplets are growing fast. I agree that church is exceptional. Have a good day, Diane

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  81. Noushka the redstarts are just gorgeous, I think I miscalculated see next post!
    We love travelling but time has not always been on our side, this was the first trip that we had time to stop off and enjoy a bit further afield. Keep well Diane xx

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  82. Chartres has long been on my list of places I would like to visit in France. Thanks for sharing your pictures. I always when I show up to visit a place that I have been planning to see for a long time and some or major parts are boarded up because of ongoing renovation/refurbishment.

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  83. Michel, we have the same problem, so much restoration going on in France... Chartes is well worth a visit, have you been to Rheims as the cathedral thee is exceptional. Bonne journée. Diane

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  84. Definitely worth a visit. I think I should make some plans for an overnight stay somewhere during my week off at the end of July. But with four dogs city visits can be quite a challenge, especially with a 16 yo who doesn't walk very fast any more... So it is more like half day trips where the doggies stay at home... Don't get me wrong, I don't want to change anything :-)

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  85. Tina I have never been without animals in my life until now. We decided that if we want to travel, then it was not fair to either leave animals behind in kennels or to drag them along, so we decided we will have no more for the time being at least. I do miss them though :( Diane

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  86. OH, how I wish I could meander like you do…
    LOVE the sheep!!!

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  87. labergerebasque whenb you get to my age you will be able to meander as well LOL. Diane

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  88. Gosh, the church is huge! Really love the ancient look of it.
    Kristy

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  89. Kristy the cathedral is massive and very beautiful. Diane

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  90. I am always in awe of the beauty there. The churches are stunning.
    I enjoy my trips with you, always a wonderful learning experience.
    xoCarolyn

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  91. Carolyn this is one of the more special cathedrals in France. It is quite beautiful. Diane

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