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      We slept until 7:00 this morning - about 10 hours to catch up on our sleep.  Our hotel had a delicious breakfast buffet which was included with our room.  We packed up then went over to the train station to check on which track our train was on.

    We had decided to travel by car on this trip. We did not want to drive in Paris so we had reserved a car in Sens as it was a small town south of Paris and had an Avis rental car agency. Our plan was to take the train to Sens.

      Our train left at 10:50.  We almost had the whole very well-appointed car to ourselves...3 other people.  It made several stops before arriving at Sens at 12:18.  We took a taxi to our hotel-Hotel-Paris-Poste.  We have a very attractive room on the first floor (really the 2nd floor).   

    We were very impressed with the loveliness of Sens, which has a population of about 28,000. It is built on the right bank of the Yonne River. From antiquity the town was walled. The ramparts have been replaced by boulevards which now separate the old town from its suburbs. Sens was a very early capital of a Roman province and was converted to Christianity by St.Savinien and St.Potentien who were both martyred there.

    From the beginning Sens was one of the most important religious centers of France. The head of the diocese was primate of the Gauls and of the Germans. Two popes came from Sens: Clement VI and Gregory XI.  

    We had lunch in the front garden of the hotel. I ordered a hamburger which was the largest that I've ever seen or tried to eat. We enjoyed watching school children and their parents walked past the hotel. Then we walked to the cathedral which was about 2 blocks away. 

     The Cathedral  - ST. ETIENNE

     The present Cathedral is built on the original site of a pagan temple and three former cathedrals. Work on the present Cathedral was started by Archbishop Sanglier between 1130 and 1135. In 1163 Pope Alexander III, during his struggle with the Emperor of Germany Frederick Barbarossa took refuge in Sens and consecrated the alder of Peter and Paul. The front of the Cathedral was finished at the end of the 12th century. Like so many other towns, a fire in 1184 in the town also burned the Cathedral. When the Cathedral was repaired, they build higher and wider bays in the choir and reshaped the vaults. In the 13th century, two similar towers hadbeen built but on Maunday Thursday 1267 the south tower collapsed, damaging part of the nave, the front and the Synod Palace. The reconstruction was immediately undertaken and continued until the end of the14th century.  

    In viewing the Cathedral from the front, it is obvious that the north tower (left side) is much shorter and different from the South Tower (right side). The North Tower, known as the Tour de Plomb (lead)– 1180 – 1200, is 138 feet tall. This tower was never finished. The South Tower known as Tour de Pierre (stone) is 255 feet high which includes the Bell tower. It dates from the 13th to the 16th century. The upper part of the tower is highly ornamented with flamboyant balustrades, pinnacles with crockets, crowned by a Bell tower. The Bell tower consists of two octagonal stories held by light flying buttresses ornamented with unusual gargoyles.  

    There are three portals – doorways – into the Cathedral. The tympanum of the central portal dating from the 13th century illustrates the life of St. Stephen in several medallions. There are countless small statues surrounding the door. There was scaffolding in front of the right portal which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.


    The left portal tympanum   portrays the life of John the Baptist. The lower register shows the baptism of Christ, Harrods feast, and the beheading of John the Baptist. In the panel above, John is welcomed into heaven by Christ. Viewing the Cathedral from the street, the view of the left portal is blocked by buildings and a outdoor café.  


       Part of the interior was design by William of Sens who designed part of Canterbury. There were only about four other people in the Cathedral and the organist played the whole time.  

     The Cathedral is 370 feet long, 95 feet wide and 78 feet tall. Large pillars, can consisting of one main and for smaller shafts rise up to the clerestory Windows where they take the on the weight of the roof.





    The beautiful grill which closes the choir was for many years in the courtyard of the Archbishop's Palace.








    There are a number of beautiful stained-glass windows as well as a number of side and apse chapels. One very graphic Chapel is that of St. Savinien. On the altar was a life size sculpture of St. Savinien being beheaded.  







     After Henry II charged Thomas Becket, his Archbishop of Canterbury, with treason in 1164, he escaped arrest by fleeing to France where he spent six years at Sens Cathedral. There is a beautiful window in the Cathedral depicting the life of Thomas Becket. For more information about Thomas Becket, click here.


    We spent several hours at the Cathedral.


    We came back to our hotel, got our GPS, driver's licenses etc and took a taxi to the Avis Rental.  We got our car which is a VW Polo. Not far from our hotel was a detour and our little TomTom GPS got us around it on some back streets right to our hotel.  



    My wife had a short nap, then we went back to the outdoor courtyard for drinks. Then we walk around the town.  It is a very charming place, narrow streets, very old beautiful buildings.  








    We ate in an outdoor restaurant -L' Assiette. It was right next to the cathedral.  We ate facing the Cathedral. I had scallops and my wife wife had trout. 


    We walked back to the hotel taking some photos of the lighted buildings.  This certainly is a beautiful little town and we are so glad we were able to stay here.     









    Next Day

    Day 1 - Paris

    Day 2 - Sens

    Day 3 - Vezelay 

    Day 4 - Abbey Fontenay, Semur-en-Auxois, Vezelay -

    Day 5 - Beaune

    Day 6 - Beaune, Autun, Citeaux, Chateau du Clos Vougeot-

    Day 7 - Cluny  

    Day 8 - Cluny 

    Day 9 - Paray-le-Monial and Clermont-Ferrard

    Day 10 - Le Puy-en-Velay 

    Day 11 - Avignon 

    Day 12 - Avignon to Nimes

    Day 13 - Avignon

    Day 14 - Marseille

    Day 15 - Marseille

    Day 16 - Marseille

    Day 17 - Marseille to Aigues-Mortes

    Day 18 - Carcassonne 

    Day 19 - Carcassonne to Toulouse  (posted 10/6/15)

    Day 20 - Toulouse

    Day 21 - Albi

    Day 22 - Toulouse