Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tour de France 2007, Stage 7: Chaumont to Chartres - 13 July 2007

Fosse DionneTonnerre is famous for the Fosse Dionne, a spring that the town was built around; and as it was on our westward route, it was our first stop.

AuxerreNext on our way west was Chablis. Clearly one cannot drive through Chablis without stopping and having a glass of Chablis. We visited a 'Cave' where they offered tasting and sales and heard the potted history of the Chablis area and the four regions within it: Petite Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru and Grand Cru. We sampled one each of the first three and purchased some Petite Chablis and two bottles of a very fine 2003 Premiere Cru that will keep for 25 years and is thus destined to be opened on some very special birthdays.

Next stop was Auxerre on the Yonne river. The town fathers have organised a very well executed town trail which we followed, from time to time; picking and choosing our sites and routes. Although there are many fine buildings, the overall effect was not as good as Troyes or Colmar.

JoignyOn, then, to Joigny, for a brief stop at another town that the real Tour de France had just passed though. I am sure that the cyclists appreciated the fact that they were there before the temperature soared past 30C as it did for us. To go from 4C to 34C in so few days was quite amazing.

Bastille Day, tomorrowKilometre after kilometre of boring flat cropping land followed but, as the harvest was in full swing, there was the excitement of having to overtake large, non-see-through farm vehicles: always a challenge when driving a RHD car on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Tractors and trailers notwithstanding, we finally arrived at our destination for the night: Chartres.

ChartresAfter checking in at the campground we staked out our territory by pitching the outer fly of our tent then drove into town to visit the Cathedral and have a walk around the historical centre. The cathedral has amazing carvings around the choir, a true 'Bible in stone' and is famous for its stained glass windows which they are still re-instating after removing them for the two world wars.

Bible in stone

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