David Downie: Chartres: Sacred and Profane

Published by Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Permalink 0
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by David Downie

Last weekend my travel feature on the cathedral and lively town of Chartres ran in the San Francisco Sunday Chronicle Travel section — the cover story. This was the first time I’d written anything for the Chron since 2007. I was a regular contributor from the late 1980s until then, but somehow, after John Flinn left as editor, things went quiet. I had 6 books to write — three Terroir Guides, a thriller, a history of the American Academy in Rome, a book about Rome’s quiet corners… and Hit the Road, Jacques, about our 750-mile trek across France… a book my agent is currently showing to editors in New York… So, there wasn’t much time for magazine and newspaper work.

I’m happy to say that the affable “new” travel editor, Spud Hilton, in the saddle for the last few years, was glad to have me contribute again to the section. I hope this is the first of many pieces.

Back to Chartres and a teaser, the first few lines of the story, and a link. Photos are included and, believe or not, I took them. The par-blind photographer.

The voices of vacationers partying at cafés faded as I left Chartres’ picture-postcard main square and entered the dusky nave of the cathedral. Blinking until my eyes adjusted, I stared up at dozens of jewel-like stained glass windows glowing an otherworldly blue. READ FULL ARTICLE

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