At about 75 kilometers from Paris the magnificent Cathedral at Chartres is a sensory overload. The exterior is covered with narratives in extraordinary detail and the interior is one of the great architectural experiences of my life. The modulated light through the exceptional stained glass windows and the soaring space left me speechless. Regardless of one’s religious training or belief the makers of Chartres cathedral created a truly transformative experience.
Detail of archway above an entrance door at Chartres Cathedral:
Around 106 kilometers from Chartres was the second stop on this personal pilgrimage. I was riding in a car driven by the amiable French motorcycle racer René Guili. We had entered the main grounds of the Le Mans circuit and as we drove across what I thought was an access road I shouted “The Dunlop Bridge!” René turned left, drove closer and stopped the car so I could get out. I realized we were were actually parked on the racing circuit but it was days before the race and activities were minimal. The Dunlop Bridge was such a primal image in the magazines, books and films of my racing education that standing there my heart was pounding and I was struggling for breath like when I entered the pits at Monaco. I was at Le Mans. The dreams were real.