|Joan of Arc. You'll pick up on a theme here soon...|
But anyway, we managed to get a later train at 9:22 instead of 7:30am and still kept the same low ticket price. We got on the train and quickly realized that everyone else had gotten there before us; the only pair of seats we could find was blocked by a window divider, which took all the fun out of getting a window seat. We eventually switched and scared away someone else. See, each car had pairs of seats facing towards the middle of the car (not the aisle middle, but between the front and back middle), and in the center where there are two pairs of seats there was a small table separating them. So we found a guy who had claimed a 4-person table to himself and his book and squeezed into the other side. Within 5 minutes I think he got tired of us talking, so he moved to the pair of seats we had just left and we ended up with the whole table area to ourselves for the next hour. That is officially my new train seat strategy.
An hour later we got off the train and saw...a whole lot of nothing. No stores were open, there weren't even people around...it was a little creepy. But in the distance we could see the top of the cathedral so we headed that way. Along the way we found a little garden that happened to be connected to the Hotel Grislot, the town hall of olden days so we stopped in, and the nice guy behind the reception desk (after switching to English because our French was just intolerably bad, I guess) gave us a map and some information on the building and we went in (free of charge!) to take some pictures.
Left: ruins of a little chapel in the Garden.
Right: cherub statue "pouring" water into what probably used to be a little pool but was now all dried up.
Back of the Hotel Grislot, from the garden
and from the front
(above) Portrait of Joan of Arc; they really like her and she is everywhere.
(right) chair in the sitting room, all the furniture was very elaborate.
(above) Another elaborate chair that I want in my future dining room. The leather looks as though it was painted blue with brown detailing, and the wood carving on the back is flawless. I'm obsessed.
(below) The first flag flown by the city after its liberation in 1944. What is it with these people, constantly needing to be liberated...?
Some fancy official meeting room. I want to have a meeting here.
While we were there there was another small group of French-speaking tourists who kept giving us looks. Alex at one point overheard one of them asking another "where do you think they're from?" (in French of course) and the second immediately labeling us as "des Etats-Unis." Are we that obvious? I've come to be ok with that.
After leaving we realized we were right across from the cathedral that has become famous because Joan of Arc attended mass there (seriously, everything in this town is about Joan of Arc). It was really quite nice, and looks a lot like Notre Dame in Paris on the outside, but the inside is much more open. I was also very impressed with the preservation of the stained glass, but later I found out that it looked so nice because it was relatively new and now tells the story of (big surprise here) Joan of Arc fighting the English.
|one side, a wooden shrine and a rose window|
|another stained glass, I don't know what part |
of the story this tells
|Tribute to American soldiers who died in France in WWI and II|
|Attempt 1: Appetizer. Turned out to be some sort of oniony beef stuff on a biscuit type thing. Considering I thought I would be getting some sort of vegetable dish, I was way off. But still good.|