Mercure Chartres Centre Cathedrale
3 rue du General Koenig, Chartres, 28000, France
More about Chartres
Chartres Musee des Beaux Arts
Wife and son at Chartres Cathedral, France
On the right, Queen Bertha's Staircase
Stone carvings of the saints
Worth more than a day-trip?
I'm thinking of taking a day trip by train from Paris to Chartres this summer. Would it be worth more than a day-trip in your mind? Are there other things worth seeing apart from the cathedral so that one should spend the night there? Places just around Chartres worth seeing? Would the countryside be nice enough to earn a photo-shoot?
RE: Worth more than a day-trip?
To my opinion a day trip is enough, the area around Chartres is quite plain, just cereal fields. You can walk around Chartres in the old city center, behind the cathedral especially, along the river, but one day is enough for that.
RE: RE: Worth more than a day-trip?
Thanks a lot for the answer. It came just as I was kinda contemplating going the other way, to Luxembourg instead...but that's a totally different question :)
Thanks a lot!
Re: Worth more than a day-trip?
If you stay in Chartres for the evening, you will get to see the post-sunset light show on and around the cathedral, which is not to be missed. To keep you occupied until then, if you get good weather, the sun will be bright until 10pm and there are nice outdoor cafes around the cathedral, a couple of restaurants with outdoor dining along the river and a few serious French cuisine options (Le Grand Monarque, Brasserie Henri IV) that will set you back a lot less than the equivalent in Paris. You can definitely see all the sites in one day, but you won't regret it if you stay in town over night.
Travel Tips for Chartres
The Stained Glass of Chartres Cathedral
The stained glass in the cathedral covers 32,300 square feet (3,000 sq m) set in nearly 200 bright-hued stained glass windows dating back to the 12th and 13th Centuries. The huge roseate windows above the cathedral's main entrances are particularly spectacular and justifiably world famous.
The extensive window area would not have been possible were it not for the flying buttress construction method. It lowered the load-bearing responsibilities of the Chartres Cathedral walls, allowing them to be taller and full of sizeable holes for the windows.
Before buttressing was invented walls were thick and bulky with no space for glass. Once builders began using buttresses, thinner walls could be supported with the buttresses and the stained-glass windows could be included in the construction. You can see these in Chartres and in the famous Notre Dame in Paris. I do think the buttresses in the cathedral in Paris has much more graceful buttresses than at Chartres.
The town of Chartres
Most people make a bee-line for the cathedral and miss the town. In fact many probably don't remember these buildings right next to the cathedral itself!
Do take the time to explore the old winding streets and the riverbank.
Distinct "Blue" of Stained Glass
Chartres is noted for its many large stained glass windows, renowned for their vivid blue colour - especially in a representation of the Madonna and Child known as the Blue Virgin Window, a traditional iconography know as the Seat of Wisdom.
They say this blue color is very hard to copy!
"Dating from the early 13th century, the glass largely escaped harm during the religious wars of the 16th century; it is said to constitute one of the most complete collections of medieval stained glass in the world, despite "modernization" in 1753 when some of it was removed by well-intentioned but misguided clergy. Of the original 186 stained glass windows, 152 survive." Thirty-four lost forever!
Notre Dame Tower
Nice view of a medieval village from the top of a beautiful cathedral. It's quite a climb up a steep narrow spiral staircase without much of a handrail, but the climb goes quickly and there are scenic stop-off along the way up. At the top, the view is beautiful. The way is narrow, but you get to explore a lot more than at Notre Dame in Paris. Plus it's more secluded. When I went up, I was the only one up there.
Popular Hotels in Chartres