I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone. Having far too comfortable a life at home meant I grew complacent. I had no wants, which meant I didn’t find the same pleasure in the simple things as I used to. Here, I live without a cat, without a ukulele, without a regular chance to shower, without locks on the bathroom doors, without speaking the language.
I needed to be reminded of how other people live, and experience things I never felt compelled to do in Ottawa. It hasn’t been easy. I memorize French phrases, and hope no one responds out of a predicted path. Even then, I fall back on an English-French dictionary, and Pouvez-vous parlez plus lentment, s’il vous plaît, just in case. It’s something I’ve been forcing myself to do, and at the end of the day I’m never disappointed.
Various styles of croque-monsieur, a grilled ham sandwich with cheese melted on top of buttered pain de mie, a packaged French bread that’s perfect for toasting. Every bakery and family has their own version of this.
In the back is shredded guyère (a medium-bodied cheese), being sliced is mont d’or (very creamy and salty, and stuck to my teeth), and already halved is Camembert (which was super rich with a smell reminiscent of a garbage, but certainly didn’t taste like it…still, I had a hard time getting over the smell).
You can tell how old this house is by the archway garage on the right, not meant for cars, but horses.
Trees are very well-kept, their leaves trimmed into cubes, forming pleasantly straight lines.
I literally walked off both my maps and got lost. These back roads made it more confusing, because a lot of them look the same.
A baguette with lardon baked into it, which is a strip of pork fat, similar to bacon but thicker. I’m pretty sure lardon is French for OMGMOUTHFEELSGOOD.
The cafés here frequently have patios, even when it’s a high of 8°C. They almost always face out, so you can do some people watching, unlike the ones in North America where you’re seated around a round table, more suitable for talking.
Fééric and Misun have two chickens in the back yard. Each one makes an egg a day, and one is characteristically more narrow or more wide. They’re trying to figure out which chicken produces which.
Egg on toasted pain de campagne (a round, slightly sour bread), seasoned with Viandox (an umami flavoured liquid based on meat extract).
A very handy sign, marking the direction of various essentials (including barbers and flower shops).
On one side of the street was this open garage door, and when I passed by, it turned out that there was nothing in the garage. Only a path that lead somewhere even more beautiful and mysterious.
François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers was a general of Napoleon during the French Revolutionary Wars. He joined the army at 16, got promoted to brigadier-general at 24, and died at 27. The people of Chartres like to honour him because he was born here, the statue being one of the few in the town centre.
This monument is also dedicated to Marceau, located in it’s own square downtown.
No cars allowed…or thin enough.
This area is in the heart of downtown, and branches off in several directions. It can be pretty confusing, because the roads all look pretty similar, and don’t follow a grid system.
Apparently, Patton liberated Chartres in 1944, but I can’t find any more information about it. This road is only two blocks long, then turns into another street.
Pay toilets. Probably why it’s advertised with such a big sign.
People waiting in line, baguettes in hand, for cheese from Ste. Suzanne Farm.
Europe 2010 travel diaries
- France: Arrival
- France: Day 3, Chartres
- The Partisan
- France: Day 5, Chartres
- Baby Scary Party
- France: Day 6, Paris
- Call me McNgangus
- France: Day 7, Rochefort-en-Terre
- France: Day 8, La Roche-Bernard
- France: Day 9, Rochefort-en-Terre
- UK Detour: Day 10, Chartres to London
- UK Detour: Day 11, London
- A passenger in London
- UK Detour: Day 12, London
- UK Detour: Day 13, London to Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 14, Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 15, Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 16, Ullapool
- France: Day 18, Paris
- France: Day 19, Chartres + Paris