Dreux is a charming city located in the department of Eure-et-Loir in France. While it may not be as well-known as some of the larger cities in the country, Dreux offers a variety of attractions and activities that make it a great destination for travelers. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Dreux:
1. Château de Dreux
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A visit to the Château de Dreux is a must when in the city. This stunning castle, which dates back to the 13th century, is a blend of architectural styles and houses the royal necropolis of the Orléans family. The château boasts beautiful gardens, exquisite interiors, and a fascinating history that is sure to captivate visitors.
2. Chapelle Royale de Dreux
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Located adjacent to the Château de Dreux, the Chapelle Royale is a masterpiece of neo-Gothic architecture. This magnificent chapel serves as the final resting place of members of the Orléans family. The chapel’s interior is adorned with intricate stained glass windows and beautiful sculptures, making it a truly awe-inspiring sight.
3. Saint-Pierre Church
Saint-Pierre Church is another notable religious site in Dreux. This stunning 12th-century Romanesque church features intricate stone carvings and a magnificent rose window. The church’s interior is equally impressive, with its grand nave and beautifully painted ceilings.
4. Parc des Expositions
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If you’re interested in exploring the city’s recreational offerings, head to Parc des Expositions. This large park is a popular venue for events, exhibitions, and trade shows. It also hosts various concerts and cultural festivals throughout the year, making it a lively and vibrant place to visit.
5. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire
For those interested in art and history, the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Dreux is a must-visit. The museum showcases a diverse collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. It also delves into the history of the region, offering insights into the city’s past.
6. Saint-Louis Hospital
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A unique and fascinating attraction in Dreux is the Saint-Louis Hospital. This former hospital, founded in the 18th century, has been transformed into a cultural space. It now hosts art exhibitions, concerts, and other cultural events, making it a vibrant hub for creativity.
7. Parc Roger Noyer
Nature enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Parc Roger Noyer. This serene park offers lush green spaces, walking trails, and a lake where you can relax and enjoy a picnic. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely afternoon in nature.
8. Local Gastronomy
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Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local gastronomy of Dreux. Indulge in delicious regional specialties, such as Boudin de Dreux (a type of blood sausage), Pâté de Dreux (a savory pastry), and local cheeses. Pair your meal with a glass of fine French wine for a truly delightful dining experience.
9. Day Trips
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Dreux is conveniently located near other charming towns and attractions. Consider taking day trips to explore the nearby Château d’Anet, Chartres Cathedral, or the beautiful landscapes of the Perche Regional Nature Park.
10. Les Bains des Petits
If you’re traveling with children, Les Bains des Petits is a fantastic place to visit. This indoor water park offers pools, water slides, and play areas, ensuring a fun-filled day for the whole family.
11. Cycling and Hiking
Dreux and its surrounding areas offer picturesque landscapes perfect for outdoor activities. Rent a bicycle or go hiking along the scenic trails of the Eure-et-Loir region, enjoying the fresh air and beautiful countryside views.
12. Les Arènes de Dreux
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Motorsport enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to Les Arènes de Dreux. This motor racing circuit hosts various events throughout the year, including car races, drift competitions, and motorcycle shows. Check the schedule to see if there’s an event happening during your visit.
13. Local Markets
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Immerse yourself in the local culture by exploring the vibrant markets of Dreux. The city has regular markets where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, artisanal crafts, and more. It’s a great opportunity to interact with locals and experience the authentic atmosphere of a French market.
14. Golf de Dreux
Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at Golf de Dreux. This beautiful golf course offers well-manicured greens, challenging fairways, and a peaceful setting. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, Golf de Dreux provides a relaxing and enjoyable golfing experience.
15. Cultural Performances
Keep an eye out for cultural performances, such as theater plays, concerts, and dance shows, happening in Dreux. The city has a vibrant arts scene, and attending a live performance is a great way to appreciate the local talent and immerse yourself in the cultural fabric of the community.
Dreux offers a range of shopping opportunities, from local boutiques to well-known retail chains. Explore the city’s shopping districts, browse through fashion stores, antique shops, and specialty stores, and find unique souvenirs to take home.
17. Horseback Riding
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Discover the picturesque countryside around Dreux on horseback. Several equestrian centers and stables in the area offer horseback riding lessons and guided tours, allowing you to explore the region’s rolling hills, forests, and charming villages from a unique perspective.
18. Wine Tasting
Indulge in the world-renowned wines of the Loire Valley, which is not far from Dreux. Take a short trip to vineyards and wineries in the region to enjoy wine tastings, learn about the winemaking process, and bring home some exceptional bottles as souvenirs.
19. Outdoor Recreation at Lac des Ecluzelles
Just a short drive from Dreux, Lac des Ecluzelles is a serene lake where you can enjoy various outdoor activities. Rent a paddleboat, go fishing, or simply relax by the lakeside, surrounded by nature’s tranquility.
20. Festive Christmas Market
If you happen to visit Dreux during the holiday season, don’t miss the festive Christmas market. The market features beautifully decorated stalls offering local crafts, delicious treats, and holiday gifts. Enjoy the cheerful atmosphere, savor seasonal delights, and find unique presents for your loved ones.
21. Visit the Ecomuseum of the Perche
A little further afield but worth the trip, the Ecomuseum of the Perche is located in Saint-Cyr-la-Rosière, near Dreux. This open-air museum showcases the traditional rural architecture and way of life of the Perche region. Explore the preserved houses, barns, and workshops to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural heritage.
22. Explore Nearby Natural Parks
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Dreux is surrounded by beautiful natural parks, such as the Regional Natural Park of the Perche and the Regional Natural Park of the French Vexin. These protected areas offer opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and observing the local flora and fauna. Take a day trip to these parks to reconnect with nature and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
23. Attend a Concert at the Chapelle de l’Hotel-Dieu
The Chapelle de l’Hotel-Dieu is a historic chapel in Dreux that occasionally hosts concerts and musical performances. Experience the beauty of classical music or other genres in the enchanting setting of this centuries-old chapel, creating a truly memorable and atmospheric evening.
24. Discover the Dreux Glassworks
Dreux has a rich tradition of glassmaking, and a visit to the Dreux Glassworks provides a fascinating glimpse into this craftsmanship. Take a guided tour of the glassworks to witness skilled artisans at work, shaping and creating intricate glass pieces. You can also shop for unique glassware as a memento of your trip.
25. Attend the Dreux Carnival
If you visit Dreux during the carnival season, be sure to join in the festivities. The Dreux Carnival features colorful parades, lively music, elaborate costumes, and joyful celebrations. Immerse yourself in the carnival atmosphere, dance along with the procession, and enjoy the vibrant energy of this traditional event.
26. Explore the Dreux Forest
Nature lovers can venture into the picturesque Dreux Forest, located near the city. This woodland area offers serene walking trails, ideal for a peaceful hike or a refreshing picnic amidst nature’s beauty. Observe the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit the forest, and enjoy the tranquility of this natural retreat.
27. Experience the Dreux Music Festival
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If you’re a music enthusiast, consider attending the Dreux Music Festival if it coincides with your visit. This annual event brings together renowned musicians and emerging artists from various genres, offering a diverse program of concerts and performances. Immerse yourself in the world of music and enjoy the live performances.
28. Go on a Wine and Cheese Tasting Tour
Dreux is situated in close proximity to renowned wine and cheese regions. Consider joining a guided tour that takes you to local vineyards and cheese producers, where you can sample a range of exquisite wines and cheeses. Learn about the production processes, savor the flavors, and deepen your appreciation for these culinary delights.
29. Enjoy Outdoor Dining at Place Métezeau
Visit Place Métezeau, a charming square in the heart of Dreux, and indulge in outdoor dining at one of the cozy cafés or restaurants. Take a seat on the terrace, savor the delicious French cuisine, and soak up the lively atmosphere of this popular gathering spot.
30. Attend the Dreux Street Arts Festival
If you’re a fan of street art, plan your visit to Dreux during the Dreux Street Arts Festival. This vibrant event brings together local and international artists who transform the city’s walls into stunning works of art. Take a walking tour to admire the colorful murals and graffiti art that add a creative flair to Dreux’s streets.
31. Explore the Dreux Natural History Museum
The Dreux Natural History Museum offers a fascinating exploration of the region’s natural wonders. Discover displays of fossils, minerals, plants, and animals that showcase the diversity of the local ecosystem. Interactive exhibits and educational programs make it an engaging experience for visitors of all ages.
32. Visit the Maison du Pain d’Épices
Delve into the world of gingerbread at the Maison du Pain d’Épices (Gingerbread House). Learn about the history and production of this delicious treat, sample different varieties of gingerbread, and perhaps even try your hand at making your own. It’s a delightful experience for those with a sweet tooth
33. Explore the Dreux Industrial Heritage
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Dreux has a rich industrial past, and you can discover its heritage by visiting sites like old factories, mills, and industrial buildings that have been repurposed for modern use. Take a guided tour or explore independently to learn about the city’s industrial history and see how these spaces have been transformed.
34. Attend a Traditional French Cooking Class
Learn the art of French cuisine by participating in a traditional cooking class. Local culinary experts can guide you through the preparation of classic French dishes, providing insights into the ingredients, techniques, and flavors that make French cuisine renowned worldwide.
35. Enjoy a Boat Ride on the Eure River
Take a relaxing boat ride on the Eure River, which flows through Dreux. Enjoy the scenic views as you glide along the calm waters, passing by picturesque landscapes and charming villages. It’s a serene and idyllic way to experience the natural beauty surrounding the city.
36. Take a Day Trip to Chartres
Just a short drive from Dreux, the city of Chartres is renowned for its majestic cathedral and well-preserved medieval old town. Visit the Chartres Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its stunning stained glass windows, and explore the charming streets lined with half-timbered houses.
37. Explore the Maison Picassiette
Venture to the nearby city of Chartres and visit the Maison Picassiette, a unique mosaic art environment. The entire house and garden are covered in intricate mosaics made from broken ceramics, glass, and other materials. It’s a visually captivating and awe-inspiring place to visit.
38. Attend a Concert at L’Atelier à Spectacle
L’Atelier à Spectacle is a cultural venue in Dreux that hosts a variety of performances, including music concerts, theater productions, and dance shows. Check their schedule to see if there’s a performance that aligns with your visit and enjoy an evening of artistic expression.
39. Enjoy a Leisurely Walk along the Blaise Pascal Promenade
The Blaise Pascal Promenade is a picturesque walkway that follows the course of the Blaise River through Dreux. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, enjoy the tranquil surroundings, and soak up the natural beauty of the river and its banks.
Places and Things To Do