But what is unquestionably the most remarkable thing about our church

     “But what is unquestionably the most remarkable thing about our church is the view from the belfry, which is full of grandeur. Certainly in your case, since you are not very strong, I should never recommend you to climb our ninety-seven steps, just half the number they have in the famous cathedral at Milan. It’s quite tiring enough for the most active person, especially as you have to bend double if you don’t wish to crack your skull, and you collect all the cobwebs off the staircase on your clothes. In any case you should be well wrapped up,” he went on, without noticing my aunt’s indignation at the mere suggestion that she could ever be capable of climbing into his belfry, “for there’s a strong breeze there once you get to the top. Some people even assure me that they have felt the chill of death up there. However, on Sundays there are always clubs and societies who come, often from a long way off, to admire our beautiful panorama, and they always go home charmed. For instance, next Sunday, if the weather holds, you’ll be sure to find a lot of people there, for Rogation-tide. No doubt about it, the view from up there is entrancing, with what you might call vistas over the plain, which have quite a special charm of their own. On a clear day you can see as far as Verneuil. And another thing; you can see at the same time places which you normally see one without the other, as, for instance, the course of the Vivonne and the irrigation ditches at Saint-Assise-lès-Combray, which are separated by a screen of tall trees, or again, the various canals at Jouy-le-Vicomte, which is Gaudiacus vice comitis, as of course you know. Each time I’ve been to Jouy I’ve seen a bit of canal in one place, and then I’ve turned a corner and seen another, but when I saw the second I could no longer see the first. I tried to put them together in my mind’s eye; it was no good. But from the top of Saint-Hilaire it’s quite another matter—a regular network in which the place is enclosed. Only you can’t see any water; it’s as though there were great clefts slicing up the town so neatly that it looks like a loaf of bread which still holds together after it has been cut up. To get it all quite perfect you would have to be in both places at once; up at the top of the steeple of Saint-Hilaire and down there at Jouy-le-Vicomte.”

View of the Rue du Chêne Doré from the belfry of Église St.-Jacques, Illiers-Combray, by Dominique Ferré || Source - http://perso.wanadoo.fr/illiers-combray/