Wednesday, 22 August 2007


For the sake of an easy post I'm delving into my father's collection of postcards again.

These ones are all from Chartres. I took my parents there for a visit when they were staying with us in Paris as it was within easy reach and one of my favourite places. Even the approach is lovely because you can see the cathedral from a considerable distance.

It so happens that we quite often see this view (with varying field coverage) as Chartres lies on one of our several possible routes between France and the UK. Which route we take depends on how the spirit moves us on that particular day.

Chartres is a lovely old town, twinned with Chichester in West Sussex, which also has a beautiful cathedral. Kate Mosse, the author, used used to live in Chichester and visited Chartres several times. It later became one of the settings in her book, Labyrinth.

Interior views

The stained glass windows are not done any justice by this card. In real life they are most beautiful vivid colours, apparently one of the most complete collections of mediaeval stained glass in the world.

I'm including it because of the message on the back from an aunt and uncle, both of whom were teachers and felt compelled always to write something informative (ie educational) on every card they sent. It is dated 1973 and some of it will mean more to anyone who lived in the UK during decimalisation. It says:

The stained glass in Chartres Cathedral is delicate and beautiful. A packet of Omo is 7/6d a car-wash is 6/= and a tin of insecticide is 15/=. However peaches are 3p.

It fascinates me: the seamless transition from stained glass windows to the laundry; how they were spending their time on holiday; and not least that two years after decimalisation the teachers were still mixing their ds with their ps!


  1. And just look at the rate of inflation, whether in "old" or "new" money!

  2. 100% agree that "The stained glass windows are not done any justice by this card". All in all, I think that Chartre Cathedral is one of those places that one has to visit in order to really appreciate -- and I'm so glad to be able to count myself among those who have visited. :)

  3. Elaine, and can you remember what petrol cost in those days? For a gallon!

    YTSL, yes I agree about having to go there to appreciate it. I think Chartres is an unsung treasure really, a little like La Sainte Chapelle in Paris. I don't know if you've ever seen that, but it's a real beauty.

  4. I've been a bit busy, so I'm late to read this post, butt never the less it's a good one and almost for the cyber cruise, which means I'll put a link to it as a Lifecruiser Tips in my sunday post :-)

  5. You know I just love these nice, charming places in France and all the history from the good old time they holds. Thanks for taking us with here - I just have to visit one day!

  6. Thanks, Captain Lifecruiser, and Rennyba!

  7. The cathedral in Chartes is one of the most beautiful ones I've ever seen. And I do agree what you say about the glass windows. We bought a transparent version, and we put put it in the window with daylight streaming through - it's like having a mini-version of the real glasses.

    Great post.

  8. Hi a. --

    "a little like La Sainte Chapelle in Paris..."

    Alas, I've not seen that one. One of these days, I really ought to visit Europe -- and France -- again...


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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