Wednesday, January 31, 2007

23 December 2006

The Christmas Market mentioned previously is located in front of the huge cathedral dating from the 14th century, which might appear to be the dirtiest building in town. It's black from ground to steeple. That impression is wrong, however. The cathedral is entirely constructed of volcanic rock! Some of the other centuries-old buildings are also built of the same rock.
Inside, the impression is very different. Light streams through the stained-glass windows like rainbows. The floor is the original stone--not volcanic rock! Some of these stones have been worn smooth by the thousands of feet which have trod it. There are no benches, just unpadded chairs, bound together in rows by iron bars across their backs. Want to kneel down? You kneel on the floor! Hardy people, the French!
I love simply walking the streets, because there's always a surprise tucked in somewhere. The names of some, for instance. There's the "rue des bottiers", or "bootmakers' street". This reveals that the street existed in the days when all shoes were handmade, and the makers tended to locate on the same street, family, apprentices and all. There's also the street of the butchers.
Whether there is a street of the bakers or pastry makers, I don't know, but I can tell you that you don't have to walk far to find a bakery or pastry shop. Anything you buy is made that day, and designed to increase your waistline! My son often goes out early to walk the dog and comes back with fresh croissants for breakfast. Am I dreaming?


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