Greetings from Reims Cathedral. While supposedly not an allusion to the disorienting and processional nature of ruling, this site of French coronations was once home to a labyrinth.
In this dispatch, follow me through the winding streets of the city and try not to get lured off-course by the art deco architecture. Lose all sense of scale as you gaze at the 15-foot statues of previous monarchs that line the cathedral’s towers. And discover why a labyrinth that held four masons and an archbishop has become a symbol of France’s historical monuments.
The French town of Saint Denis is named for the bishop who, in 250AD, supposedly walked there from Montmartre – a distance of about seven kilometres – holding his own decapitated head.
Now, when you’re going through something even ever-so-slightly unpleasant, it almost never helps to consider the ways things could be worse. So, say that a thunderstorm has forced you to take refuge in an abandoned violin store. You would no doubt be cold and miserable. And while things could be worse – the violin store could be in business and flooding the world with the sharp and screeching sound of strings – the thought won’t dry your soaked clothes.
So, despite the head still attached to my body, it was with reservations that I took the metro to Saint Denis to see the oldest gothic building for myself.