Chartres, located in the picturesque region of Centre-Val de Loire, France, is a charming city renowned for its stunning medieval architecture, rich history, and cultural heritage. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Chartres:
1. Chartres Cathedral
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The magnificent Chartres Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the centerpiece of the city and a must-visit attraction. Known for its exceptional Gothic architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and the famous labyrinth, this cathedral is a true masterpiece.
2. Maison Picassiette
A unique and fascinating place, Maison Picassiette is a house entirely decorated with mosaics made from broken china, glass, and ceramics. Created by the self-taught artist Raymond Isidore, this extraordinary art environment is a testament to human creativity and imagination.
3. Chartres Old Town
Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Chartres’ Old Town and admire the half-timbered houses, quaint squares, and medieval architecture. The narrow alleys and vibrant atmosphere will transport you back in time.
4. The Fine Arts Museum
Housed in the former Episcopal Palace, the Fine Arts Museum of Chartres displays an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts spanning from the 15th to the 20th century. It offers a captivating glimpse into the city’s artistic heritage.
5. International Stained Glass Centre
For art enthusiasts, a visit to the International Stained Glass Centre is a must. This institution celebrates the art of stained glass and hosts temporary exhibitions, workshops, and demonstrations, allowing visitors to appreciate this unique craft.
6. Chartres en Lumières
If you visit Chartres between April and October, you have the opportunity to witness the enchanting Chartres en Lumières festival. During this time, the city is illuminated with mesmerizing light installations, showcasing the architectural beauty and cultural heritage of Chartres.
7. Local Gastronomy
Indulge in the culinary delights of Chartres by savoring traditional French dishes. Visit local restaurants and bistros to taste regional specialties such as Pâté de Chartres, Rillettes de Vendôme, and the delicious Bûche de Chartres, a local dessert.
8. Day Trips to Loire Valley
Chartres serves as an excellent base for exploring the nearby Loire Valley, famous for its stunning châteaux, vineyards, and picturesque landscapes. Take a day trip to visit the renowned castles of Château de Chambord, Château de Chenonceau, or Château de Blois.
9. Les Fresques de Bel Air
Embark on a unique artistic adventure by visiting Les Fresques de Bel Air, a neighborhood adorned with vibrant murals. These colorful street art creations breathe life into the walls, telling stories and reflecting the creativity of local and international artists.
10. The Museum of Natural History
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Delve into the natural world at the Museum of Natural History in Chartres. Explore fascinating exhibits on geology, zoology, botany, and paleontology, showcasing the region’s diverse flora and fauna.
11. Maison du Saumon
Take a culinary journey at the Maison du Saumon, a unique establishment dedicated to salmon. Learn about the history, breeding, and preparation of this prized fish through informative displays and interactive experiences. And of course, don’t forget to savor some delicious salmon dishes.
12. Shopping in Chartres
If you’re in the mood for shopping, head to the city center, where you’ll find a mix of well-known brands and local boutiques. Explore the vibrant marketplaces, browse for unique souvenirs, and sample local delicacies at the lively food markets.
13. Le Compa, Museum of Agriculture
For those interested in agricultural history and rural traditions, a visit to Le Compa is highly recommended. This interactive museum provides insights into the evolution of farming techniques, exhibits ancient tools, and sheds light on the region’s agricultural heritage.
14. Chartres Festival of Lights
If you happen to be in Chartres duing the winter season, don’t miss the Chartres Festival of Lights. The city comes alive with dazzling light displays, illuminating the streets, buildings, and gardens, creating a magical ambiance.
15. Les Halles de Chartres
Experience the vibrant local culture and flavors at Les Halles de Chartres, the city’s bustling indoor market. Here, you can browse stalls filled with fresh produce, regional delicacies, cheeses, pastries, and more. Engage with local vendors, sample delicious treats, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere.
16. Maison du Parc Naturel Régional du Perche
Visit the Maison du Parc Naturel Régional du Perche, located in the heart of Chartres, to learn more about the nearby Perche Regional Nature Park. This informative center provides valuable insights into the park’s biodiversity, landscapes, and cultural heritage.
17. Les Ponts Couverts
Explore the charming Les Ponts Couverts, a cluster of covered bridges that span the Eure River. These picturesque bridges offer fantastic photo opportunities and provide a unique perspective of Chartres’ scenic beauty.
18. Chartres Golf Club
If you enjoy golf, head to the Chartres Golf Club, nestled amidst beautiful countryside. This 18-hole course offers a challenging yet scenic golfing experience, allowing you to enjoy the game while surrounded by the region’s natural beauty.
19. Château de Maintenon
Take a short trip from Chartres to visit the magnificent Château de Maintenon. This grand castle, surrounded by manicured gardens, was once the residence of Madame de Maintenon, the second wife of King Louis XIV. Explore the opulent interiors, stroll through the gardens, and learn about the castle’s fascinating history.
20. Chartres Walking Tours
Join a guided walking tour of Chartres to delve deeper into the city’s history and legends. Knowledgeable guides will lead you through the streets, sharing captivating stories, pointing out architectural highlights, and providing a comprehensive understanding of Chartres’ heritage.
21. Les Écuries du Léman
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Horse enthusiasts can enjoy a horseback riding adventure at Les Écuries du Léman, a riding center near Chartres. Explore the scenic countryside on horseback, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, and appreciate the serene beauty of the region.
22. Les Bords de l’Eure
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along Les Bords de l’Eure, the picturesque riverbanks that wind through Chartres. Take in the tranquil scenery, relax on the grassy banks, and perhaps even have a picnic by the water. It’s a perfect spot to unwind and soak up the natural beauty of the city.
23. Les Docks
Discover Chartres’ vibrant cultural scene by visiting Les Docks, a cultural and artistic hub. This renovated industrial space hosts art exhibitions, concerts, theater performances, and other cultural events, making it a dynamic place to immerse yourself in the city’s creative energy.
24. Chocolaterie Durand
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Indulge your sweet tooth at Chocolaterie Durand, a renowned chocolate shop in Chartres. Sample their exquisite handmade chocolates, truffles, and other delectable treats, and witness the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into their creations.
25. Parc des Bords de l’Eure
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city in the peaceful Parc des Bords de l’Eure. This expansive park features lush green spaces, flowerbeds, walking paths, and playgrounds, making it an ideal place for a family outing or a leisurely afternoon picnic.
26. Les Petits Pâtissiers
Unleash your inner pastry chef at Les Petits Pâtissiers. This culinary workshop allows participants of all ages to learn the art of French pastry-making from professional chefs. Create your own sweet treats and gain insight into the secrets of French patisserie.
Places and Things To Do