Perfectly placed half-way between Paris and the Loire Valley, Chartres is unlike any other French city. You’ve probably heard of its glorious cathedral, right? A pillar of French gothic architecture in the historic old town, Our Lady of Chartres is one of the most significant and best-preserved churches in Europe! But Chartres has so much more to offer. Whether you're visiting with the whole family or on a romantic break, you're bound to find plenty of fun and cultural things to do. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags for Chartres and create your own adventure!
A Cathedral to Treasure
Way before you reach town, you will see the silhouette of the Chartres Cathedral clearly visible on the horizon. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1979, this masterpiece of architecture is the main attraction of the city, drawing thousands of visitors every year.
Look up and be awestruck by its iconic mismatched spires, its magnificent vaults, the outstanding 2500 m² stained-glass ensemble and the famous “blue” of Chartres, the monumental statuary of the 12th and 13th centuries and the painted decorations miraculously saved from the ravages of time!
Let’s be honest, Chartres is one of the most admirable and the best-preserved examples of Gothic art in France.
From the floor’s dark tiles (which seem to follow the path of a labyrinth) to the ceiling (featuring a surprisingly modern metal framework!), from the Romanesque crypt in the basement to the top of the towers, Chartres Cathedral embodies a spirit of peace and awe-inspiring divine grandeur.
Last but not least, did you know we had our very own "Mona Lisa" in Chartres? Not the notoriously famous one on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. We’re talking about "Notre Dame de la Belle Verrière" which is one of the most famous stained-glass windows in the world!
May your nights be bright in Chartres!
Chartres at night has many faces...Let the “Chartres en Lumières” show begin!
Chartres at night has many faces. Between April and October, the city puts on a free, jaw-dropping light and sound spectacle drawing our attention to architectural landmarks and stunning nightscapes.
Lights on! When night falls, Chartres lights up to showcase its heritage treasures. Churches, bridges, wash houses, media library, theater, and of course the iconic Cathedral become canvases for artistic illuminations.
There is something truly magical about seeing historic buildings lit up with projections onto their external facades.
A sparkling array of lights burst into colours all over the city, offering a unique sight of Chartres for visitors and locals of all ages and filling anyone’s heart with a surfeit of cheer.
Chartres en Lumières is a big, bright spectacle with all the shimmers, glimmers and twinkles anyone could ask for!
Wanderlust in the medieval city
Chartres is a city rich in cultural heritage with beautifully preserved medieval features.
Step 800 years into the past as you wander the gothic halls of Our Lady of Chartres, reputed as one of the most authentic Gothic cathedrals in the world.
From a photographer’s perspective, there is such a variety of shooting opportunities to allow one to capture the beauty, features, frames and light of this architectural gem! (Check out our 10 tips below for the best photographs to click onto).
One of the best ways to explore Chartres is on foot. A stroll down the charming streets and up little hills opens you upon a whole world of discovery! If you wish to explore the city and its narrow streets along the river Eure from the comfort of a seat, jump aboard the little tourist train Chart’train, sit back, relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Wow, look at the pretty wash houses!
Like stepping back into the Middle Ages, delve into the city’s past and take your time to discover Chartres on foot, by bike or abord the tourist train. You’re in for some pleasant surprises!
Strolling along the banks of the river is a great way to unwind!
After a visit of the medieval city, perhaps it’s time to indulge and treat yourself to a spa break with massages, hammam and sauna. Switch off, chillout and reboot in these heavenly havens!
Top 10 spots to capture the Cathedral on camera!
Just like any beautiful lady, Chartres Cathedral has many ways to seduce you. In the soft morning light or in the evening’s golden hours, it’s a feast for both amateur and professional photographers. This magnificent edifice offers a tremendous scope as a photographic subject and many opportunities to be creative with different perspectives of the building.
Here are some top tips & tricks we want to share as to where to find the best views of the cathedral. Hopefully, this will help you capture the most beautiful photos and selfies in the city.
1: The bridge of the boulevard de la Courtille provides a perfect point of view to snap the city’s three sacred places in one picture : the cathedral, the church Saint-Aignan and the church Saint-Pierre.
2: From the Sakuraï garden (rue d'Ablis), enjoy an enchanting Japanese atmosphere and the superb view of the cathedral!
3: From the Hélène Boucher monument (rue d'Aboville), you’ll get an exceptional view of a walk outside the city centre
4: From the Bouju bridge and the rue de la porte Guillaume one can capture the medieval atmosphere of the old city
5: From the rue des Changes, you can encapsulate the hustle and bustle of the shopping streets with the cathedral as your background.
6: From the square, a classic shot we never get tired of! Naturally one of the best views as it’s so up close and personal.
7: From the rue Saint-Eman, climb up the stairs for a romantic view of the bell towers.
8: From the rue de la Foulerie, enjoy a more discreet view of the cathedral with the picturesque side of the old city and its wash houses.
9: From the place Châtelet, a little cliché is an obligatory check-off on your Chartres bucket list. Don’t forget to tag #chartres!
10: In front of the church Sainte Foy: capture two birds with one stone!
11 (bonus): You can actually admire the cathedral from all around Chartres, and even from 10 km outside of the city as it towers over and dominates the skyline!
Now that we’ve covered the essentials, we look forward to discovering your amazing clichés of Chartres Cathedral! Please share your posts and stories on social networks using the hashtags #eureetloirtourisme and #letitslow
Chartres or Ch'ART'res
As the capital of stained glass, Chartres perpetuates its ancestral art through several workshops organized by talented masters such as Picol or Loire, with whom a simple visit can turn into an immersion in a colorful universe. Be inspired by the beauty of stained glass during your stay in Eure et Loir and explore the depths of design, colour and use of light in your own creation while attending a workshop with other talented artists.
After stained glass, mosaics is another ancient art showcased in Chartres!
A local artist has made a huge contribution to the mosaic art movement here: his name is Raymond Isidore. This skilled (and extremely patient) inhabitant of Chartres had the genius idea to decorate his small house with thousands of shards of broken faience and glass.
Every surface of the Maison Picassiette is a mosaic artwork, and this unusual house is now considered a shining example of naive architecture.
Street art and graffiti adorn the streets of Chartres as this form of art has become more and more popular on buildings. Look around and you’ll find interesting sprayed and painted walls as you roam the streets of Chartres. In places, art is raw, in others it is offbeat, solemn or commemorative. An example of the latter, make a point to see the giant portrait of French WWII resistant Jean Moulin opposite his former offices in the city’s administrative buildings (find out more on graffiti art here)
If you are a street art fan willing to venture out of the city centre, you’ll be amazed by the district of Bel Air covered in graffiti and frescoes.
Did you know that Chartres is crisscrossed by famous cycling routes and that the city boasts the largest water park complex in France? To find out more, click here.
More information here
Cathédrale de ChartresCHARTRES
A prestigious heritage site, listed at a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the gems of 12th and 13th century art, the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Chartres has always been testimony to the enthusiasm of pilgrims and visitors. Open, guided or ...Read more
Let There Be LightChartres
Every year from April to October, Chartres en Lumières returns to transform the city into a nocturnal wonderland. When night falls, follow the spectacular light trail to discover a magical world of illuminations and marvel at historic buildings bathed in light and colours. This twinkly light walk is sure to make any viewer's jaw drop!Read more
The Art of Stained GlassChartres
Want to learn an exciting new hobby during your stay in Eure et Loir? Chartres is the capital of a very particular craft undertaken by glassmakers and stained-glass artists for centuries, initially for places of worship.Read more
Crypte de la CathédraleCHARTRES
Recognised as a listed monument in 1979, Chartres cathedral boasts an exceptional collection of 12-13th-century windows and sculptures. The Romanesque crypt is one of the longest in Europe, and houses some original frescoes alongside some ...Read more
Le petit Chart’TrainCHARTRES
Visit the streets of Chartres without getting tired - it's possible on the tourist train which winds its way discreetly through the streets of the old town with commentaries on its riches, mysteries and anecdotes.Read more
Bike Rental – La Maison du VéloCHARTRES
Located at Chartres train station, the Maison du Vélo meets the needs of users travelling within the city for work and tourists who wish to discover the city of Chartres and the green layout of the town by bike.Read more
Broken pieces of crockery form an extraordinary example of naive art: the Maison Picassiette. Between a total work of art and decoration, the artist's imagination extends to every available space: walls, floors, ceilings, courtyards, gardens etc.Read more
Stained Glass – Ateliers LoireLEVES
It is in this factory on the outskirts of Chartres, the world's stained-glass capital, that the Loire family has for 3 generations been crafting the works of art to be found in religious and public buildings all over the workd.Read more
Tour Nord de la CathédraleCHARTRES
The top of the 60-metre tower of the prestigious cathedral, known as the "Jehan de Beauce", offers a unique panorama over Beauce and the town.Read more