Day One

Early start, the road is waiting. Between the beginning of this journey (Maggiora) and its first goal (Ronchamp) there are only petrol-driven stops. On the Swiss mountains, I go for the tunnel (it’s warmer and drier).

Once in France, it starts to rain, and it will never stop. That’s why the road sign appears even sweeter then expected:

Ronchmap is an icon for modern architecture scholars, students and fans. I’ve heard dozens os stories about the beauty of Le Corbusier’s church, about its unequaled atmosphere. But I’ve never seen it. Now Ronchamp is right in front of my bike.

It is one of those places where you’d really deserve to be alone. After a 430 km through a 7 hours ride (yes, Im a true lazy rider) the prize should be the silence and the calm. But japanese toursits do not care about my merits, thus I’m not alone in front of the masterpiece. I wait outside for some minutes, enjoining Le Corbusier’s joyfulness.

Once inside everything changes. Mystical is not an usual experience but it happens here. The semidarkness of this simple space and the absolute grace of every single detail brought me to stillness. Architecture masterpieces are almost impossible to describe; probably these two words, with all their capacity and ambiguity, can help to understand what is going on here: simpleness and grace. Now I can finally confirm that the inner space of Notre Dame du Haut is one of the few places in the world where modernism and humanism meet and integrate.

Unfortunately almost anywhere else, bad modernism keeps humans far off from grace and integrity.

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