Tour Begins: Chartres Cathedral & Chateau Chambord #TuesdayTravels

On Monday, Sept. 19, we began our Gate 1 tour of Northern France with stops at Chartres Cathedral and Chateau Chambord, followed by wine tasting in the afternoon. Rebecca and I were up at 5:15AM to be sure we had time to shower, dress and finish packing before the big suitcases were picked up at 7AM. After a quick breakfast we were down at the bus before the 8AM departure.

Our first stop was at the the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, primarily built between 1194 and 1220. I’m always amazed at how well the Gothic structures hold up so many years later. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the building is considered to be “the high point of French Gothic art.” As you can see, it is quite beautiful.

The interior is lovely, also, though my photos don’t do justice to the glory of the stained glass.

There are two statues of Mary, one of which is large and beautifully done in the Renaissance style. The other is apparently older and is knows as Our Lady of the Piller.

The cathedral is in the process of being cleaned, inside and outside, by a laser. In this picture, you can see where the cleaning process was halted. The amount of detail in the decoration is just mind-boggling.

Chartres exterior

After touring the cathedral, we stopped for liquid refreshment at a little cafe next to the cathedral called La Serpente. Rebecca had coffee, while I had a cup of delicious dark liquid chocolate. I wish I could find somewhere around here that serves French-style hot chocolate. Yummy.

As we were leaving Chartres, a car backed into the bus at a toll booth, causing a 20-15 minute delay. How do you not see a bus in your rear view mirror?

Thanks to the idiot driver, we had only 45 minutes at our next stop, Chateau Chambord, begun in 1519 in the French Renaissance style by King Francois I. His son Henri II finished the chateau. During the French Revolution, the furniture and statues of the kings were destroyed. During World War II, treasures of the Louvre were moved to the Loire Valley chateaux for safekeeping.

We took photos of the exterior, then had a choice to make. A quick tour of the Chateau or lunch. Lunch won out. Rebecca and I split a ham and cheese baguette. I did get some nice exterior shots of the chateau, one of the largest in the Loire Valley. The roof is especially interesting, almost like a fantastical city on top of a palace. Maybe I’ll get back there some day with enough time to do the chateau justice.

Our last stop was at Montlouis winery near Amboise, located in a troglodyte cave, a very interesting setting. It makes sense when you think about it, since caves maintain a consistent temperature year round without help from A/C and heating systems. I managed to get a few photos with my Android phone, but it was very dark inside.

After checking in at our hotel, we went to dinner at Restaurant Leonardo da Vinci where I had salmon for dinner.

The restaurant is located in the Medieval section of Tours, a very interesting area. My photos aren’t great, but it was getting dark when we got there. I’d love to go back some time and wander the narrow streets.

As you can see, we had a very busy day.


Contemplating That Mistake #MFRWauthor #blogchallenge #amwriting

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Welcome to Week 4 of the MFRW blog challenge. Blogging is an opportunity for authors to connect with readers. Despite being fiction writers, blogging is an entirely different style of writing and often stumps us. Our challenge is designed to help our authors blog consistently, thoughtfully and with purpose. Anyone can join at any point in the challenge… FOLLOW THIS LINK TO LEARN MORE AND JOIN THE CHALLENGE.

This week’s prompt is “Sorry Editor! My Common Writing Mistakes”.

Hm, what are my common writing mistakes?

Well, one of them is using the same words and/or actions over and over and over. We have a running joke in my critique group about what the word of the week was, the one that appeared more often than needed.

Apparently, the word that is my favorite word. Even more than very. I can’t believe how many times I use that in a manuscript. Some can be easily deleted without changing the meaning of a sentence, but sometimes I find myself rewriting in hopes of finding another way to express myself that doesn’t involve a that or two.

Kissing couple

Kissing couple –© bibacomua

And then there’s the same action over and over, and we see this in a lot of books. How many times can the hero run his hand through his hair? How often can the heroine let out the breath she didn’t know she was holding. How many times can the hero cup the heroine’s head before the reader wants to throw the book across the room? How many ways are there to describe a kiss? Two pairs of lips coming together. Well, if you write romance, there had better be an infinite number of ways to describe kissing. And other intimate encounters.

I write pretty clean, so grammar and spelling isn’t much of an issue for me. I start with dialogue, and sometimes end up with a page of “talking heads” with lots of white space but not much action, emotion or inner thought interspersed. My critique group points out when I’ve rushed through a scene like that. (And there’s another that!)

To learn more about other common writing mistakes, click on the linky list below.