Sometimes I find myself stuck in a rut, sitting in front of the computer and visiting the same places day after day. A life filled with routine. Inspiring—not. But nothing can motivate me faster than breaking free of the house and going somewhere I’ve never been before.
I try to take a major trip to a new place every year or two. My last trip was to Southern France. One of my favorite cities was Narbone. After a morning filled with sightseeing around the beautiful medieval town, my friend Teri and I visited the famous market and had a wonderful lunch with a view of the Midi Canal. I told Teri I wanted to squeeze in one more historical sight before we met up with our friends who were souvenir shopping. I decided to ask a local if it was worth rushing over to see the cathedral since we had some time.
I approached an older woman loaded down with shopping bags. In my broken French, I asked, “The church by the square, is it beautiful?”
In a heavily accented English, she said, “The cathedral is old but simple. Not nice.”
How could a place with such an elaborate buttress system be simple? “Really. It looks quite large and impressive from the square.”
She wrinkled her nose. “No. Not worth your time. Go shopping!”
And with that pronouncement, she marched off toward the market to do just that. I looked at Teri. “Something in my gut tells me we should take a peak.”
She gave me a smile. “Who am I to keep you from getting your cathedral fix?”
We speed walked up the street to the church. My jaw dropped the second I caught a glimpse of the impressive height of the façade. “Wow, no wonder they need buttresses on the top. The church is ridiculously tall. My neck hurts trying to find the roof.”
The entrance to the cathedral was quite plain, as the woman said, but when I walked through the impressive doors, the sheer grandeur and volume of the space was overwhelming. One hundred and thirty feet of vaulted majesty accented by enormous stained-glass windows. Although the cathedral didn’t have the fame of its larger sisters like Norte Dame, standing in the nave no one could question its beauty.
I turned to Teri. “This church is simple? What the heck was that woman talking about? The place gives me goosebumps.”
“I guess the French are spoiled. You’ve seen one grand cathedral, you’ve seen them all.”