Thursday, 25th May
What a wonderful time we have had in Paris, especially the renewing of friendships from far and wide. The weather has been perfect. We have just managed to close our cases and are ready for our first train journey using our EURAIL Pass.
We ate breakfast with Notre Dame Cathedral in our line of sight, walked passed a street market and were back ready for a taxi at 11:15. This took us to Montparnasse in time for our 12:16 departure to Tours -the first use of our Eurail Pass. On arrival at 12:30 we found our way to Hotel Mirabeau and are very happy with the accommodation. At about 3 p.m we were walking once more, this time without a Map (not a good idea) as we thought we would get one at Tourist Information but today is Ascension Day and many businesses are closed.
We are now in the Loire Valley which, on 30th November 2000, was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO – more about that later.
The first stop for photographs was the Saint Gatineau Cathedral (Basilique Saint-Martin) construction of which stretched from 1160 to 1547 and it was listed as a historic monument in 1862. It has wonderful stained glass windows, especially the rose windows of the Xlllth century. There is continual renovation work. The verse on the English language leaflet is – ….. ‘For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Christ Jesus…. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?’
Capital of the kingdom of France in the 15th and 16th centuries, Tours enjoyed an extraordinary artistic and architectural flowering. The 19th century saw the continuation of the development of this “rue Nationale”, which became the elegant and up market commercial centre of Tours. During this period, the theatre, law courts and town hall were built. Today Tours enjoys the benefit of one of Europe’s largest protected areas of special historic interest. The beautifully preserved mediaeval area contributes to the charm of Tours. Ours was a very late lunch today as there was much to observe and photograph along the way.