Top 10 : Best Things to do in Chartres

Just a quick sum up of what you MUST see once in Chartres:

1) The Cathedral

Did you know that you can see the arrows of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres from the top of the Eiffel Tower?

This Cathedral is huge! It covers 6 000m2 (9 300 018 square in). Its’ crypt is the largest in France. If you like architecture, you will notice that one part of Notre-Dame is Romanesque and the other part is Gothic.

Observe all around the Cathedrale : all faces are different!

Inside, discover the energy of ancient maze, a powerful meditation way.

Stained-glass-windows are astonishing, I am sure you will enjoy the famous « Bleu de Chartres », unique blue pigmentation invented back in the time.

Our Cathedral has many stories and secrets to reveal…

cathedral of chartres myweekinchartres.jpg
Forcourt in front of the Catedral Notre-Dame de Chartres.

Free Entrance

2) Garden of Évêché

Just behind Notre-Dame, do not miss a walk in this beautiful garden. You will pass by the Beaux-Arts Museum and enjoy the back architecture of the Cathedral.

The garden is divided in two parts. From the top part you will appreciate the view from old city and nature. Downstairs, the maze will invite you to become pilgrim.

It is a great place to share lunch with local products that you can find in the city center.

évêché jardins chartres.jpg
View of the Garden from Top part behind the Cathedral. 

 

3) Downtown

Keep walking down the stairs and explore downtown Chartres. You will see the Collegiale Saint André from the XII century. Usually, cultural events are organized such as « Les Artisanales » where you can discover local artists and craftsmen. Explore the garden and smell the aromatics plants from Middle Age!

Keep going down and find the Saint André Fountain (also called Saint Nicolas) that used to be the only source of drinking water for the entire city!

Cross the bridge and admire old houses build on the river!

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Downtown spring season

 

4) La Petite Venise

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Pedal boat to rent : have fun!

During sunny days, it is the best park to walk around. It is peaceful and relaxing along the river. You can even rent kayak boat or pedal boat. If traveling with children they are gonna thank you for an amazing afternoon here. You have various kind of chicken to discover, a playground and even a mini-golf!

It is closed from November to March for boat renting but if you are comming during winter season you can still go running in the park if you are a sporty or go roller blading!

I advice you to get fresh drink and crêpes at La Guinguette at the edge of the Eure river.

 

5) The House of Picassiette

Name sounds probably strange for you? Don’t worry it is normal!

His real name was Raymond Isador so called « Picassiette » because he decored his all house from walls to furnitures and garden with pieces of broken glass and crockery. He represented landscape and monuments and even the famous Rosase of the Cathedral.

maison picassiette

It is worth to see and unique! More info in this article!

6) La Porte Guillaume

This is one of the gate that was build at the end of the 12th century to protect the city that possessed surrending walls all around.

Here is an old cliché from 19th century, before it was destroyed by German Army in August 1944.

Porte_Guillaume_Jean-Eugène_Durand_sans_date_Chartres_Eure-et-Loir_(France)

It is located downtown Chartres, near the river and the Saint-Pierre church.

In 2010, the city council decided to start excavations in the site and they project to rebuild this gate as original, it should be over in 2024, can’t wait to see that!!!

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What is left from the gate, after the bombing in 1944…

7) Eglise Saint-Pierre

Eglise saint pierre myweekendinchartres.PNG

After the Cathedral, it is the second most important church in Chartres. It was started by Queen Bathilde, spouse of Clovis II. In the 12th century the church was integrated in the surrending walls of the city. It has been destroyed by Normands and was burnt at least two times but always rebuild in Gothic style.

You will observe many stained glassed-windows in the church, keep your eyes up!

If you have the energy ( come on it is not too far and you are on holidays!), you may walk until the park called « La Petite Venise ». If you follow the road you will pass through the « Lycée Marceau » ( it is a high school) and on your left you will find a green way that will lead you directly to the park!

8) Museum of stained-glass-windows

As you’ve noticed, with many churches, Chartres is full of stained-glass windows, so having a museum seems logical no?

Here you will learn everything about how to make a stained-glass window, its meaning, the history , the technic and many more information! It is a real tresor!

musée du vitrail

Opening:

All year long:

  • From Monday to Friday: 9:30 am to 12:30 am and 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm.
  • Saturday: 10:00 am to 12:30 am and 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm.
  • Sunday and Holiday : 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm.

Closed on January 1st and December 25th.

Prices:

  • Adult fare: 7€
  • Reduced rate: 5,50€

Location:

5, rue du Cardinal Pie
F – 28000 CHARTRES
Tél. : +33 (0)2 37 21 65 72 – contact@centre-vitrail.org

Click here to see the map ! It is very easy, just next to the Cathedral.

9) Maison du Saumon

This is one of the historical house of the city! Built in 15th and 16th century. Translation in English would be « The House of Salmon ». You are wondering why? Indeed it is situated « Place de la Poissonnerie » : fishmongers’s place.  From 15th century until 1950 it was a commercial place where you could buy fresh fish and exchange local products. It used to be full of houses. If you look up the house, you will observe the typical colombage and a wood sculpted salmon. Observe carefully the frontage : you will discover Saint-Michel fighting the dragon.

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It used to be a famous fish restaurant and it became in 2009 the office of tourism. You can go there and get more information about the city, tours and buy souvenirs.

10) The Médiathèque

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This is one of the monument you cannot miss! It is sooooo huge! Originaly built for the post office in 1919, it was ordered in 1875! Located Place des Epars back in the time it was not an ordinary building! The architect was Raoul Brandon who studied at the prestigieuse school of Beaux Arts in Paris. He is from Lucé a small town in Chartres’ suburbs. He got his inspiration from the gothic art and of course from the cathedral. He created a mosaic, storytelling about a letter travelling from the sea, earth and air finaly delivered to a farmer in the countryside by the postman.

The building was criticized because people thought it was too pretencious. However it became also Historical monument!

In 2007, the city bought the building and refurbished it to create a place full of books, historical documents, music, movies, exhibitions…

It became the place to study !

Why is it worth to go inside?

On the top floor ( you can take the elevator) your have a breathtake view of the cathedral and the Place des Epars. On the first floor you have exhibitions about the city and its archeology.

Also you can consult books and have a coffee inside! Entrance is free!

 

So now you have the main interests of the city, but if you walk around the city, you will have many historical houses to discover and old streets! Bring good shoes!!!

Last but not least, think about looking down on the ground 😉

 

 

 

 

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