Orleans cathedral

France Day 12

August 16, 2022

Tourist Time

   Orléans sports a cathedral, an Old Town, a riverside and a recreation of the house where Joan d’Arc resided during her successful defeat of the English during the Hundred Years War. In other words, strap on the Skechers Relaxed Fits, black socks, cargo shorts, faded XXL T-shirts with “Branson Missouri” emblazoned across the front, a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses and maybe an Australian Outback floppy hat, because it’s going to be American Tourist Day in Orléans.

Old Town Orleans
An uncrowded Old Town was a blessing to sightsee

   Carol has gone above and beyond so far on this trip of keeping sightseeing to a minimum. Somehow she’s been able to carve out a middle ground that almost feels like my goal on trips of not seeing anything at all.  So today would be my way of giving back. 

   Yet we started off my way: a tram ride to the end of the line, in which any site to see passes by me, instead of the other way around. It took about  an hour out and back, with little visual interest, thereby providing a perfect opportunity for my favorite pastime: sitting and staring out the window.

   The real Tourist Day began with a walk to the cathedral, where I quickly found a pew, and permitting Carol free rein of the apses, naves and transepts of yet another example of 13th and 14th century overreach. I should at least marvel at the architectural and engineering genius behind the construction of these edifices, but I can’t get past the medieval human misery these churches masked. This one certainly didn’t help Joan escape a burning at the stake enabled by the very same French priestly class that built the church.

It took about  an hour out and back, with little visual interest, thereby providing a perfect opportunity for my favorite pastime: sitting and staring out the window

How vegans got started

   The Old Town was a pleasant stroll through narrow streets and crooked allies that opened to a pleasant square just in time for lunch. The riverside amenities were set too far back from the river to have much appeal for Carol. So it was smashburgers and rosé at Quartier de Mardes at the edge of Old Town. The fresh market, Halles Chatelet, was directly across the square, and we took in all the strange, less-than-appetizing cuts of meat, full bodied chickens, smelly cheeses and those beautiful fire engine red tomatoes before heading back to the apartment for a nap. 

What cathedrals were really built for

   In what turned out to be one of the most awe-inspiring experiences (I mean, what’s the competition, with someone like me ranking the nominees?).The Son et Lumière sur la Cathédrale light projection show on the facade of the cathedral drew a huge SRO crowd, even though we’d arrived a full hour before the 11:30 p.m. showtime. Somehow we found the last two chairs, and the only disappointment was we couldn’t get our walking wine cups replenished by the cafe’s wait staff. But the show was worth every minute of abstinence we were compelled to endure. 

   Part one featured depictions of the major events in Joan’s life, while part two was more or less one minute school projects that became a bit repetitive toward the end. 

   Back home for a nightcap and a couple episodes of Sneaky Pete for these blossoming nightowls.

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