France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   What to See & Do in Chartres, France
The famous cathedral, of course, but the town itself is a delight—just fun to live in for a day or two.





If you want to get out of Paris for a day or two and enjoy a nice little French town, its sights, shops and restaurants, you can't do better than Chartres, a historic town if ever there was one (map).

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres is beloved deeply by those who know it because of its harmonious pure Gothic architecture, its splendid stained-glass windows, and its historic labyrinth. But note: this is not a cathedral that you walk in, look around for a few minutes, and walk out. It is, in effect, the world's finest museum of medieval stained glass. There are hundreds of Bible scenes in brilliant colors, many containing the famous, brilliant Chartres bleu. You'll want to spend some time here, perhaps on several visits during the day as the light changes, to take it all in. If you do, you won't forget the experience. Save time also to visit the crypt and tour the roof. More...

Musée des Beaux-Arts

Behind the cathedral, Chartres's Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum) is lodged in the Palais épiscopal, former mansion of the bishops of Chartres. A nice park between the museum and the cathedral, Les Jardins de l'Évêché, offers fine views of the town.

International Stained-Glass Center

Located just 100 meters from the cathedral, the International Stained-Glass Center is a museum of stained glass. Featuring Renaissance panels from the Église Saint-Pierre, as well as models and charts of the cathedral windows, the Center is a great resource to help you appreciate the beautiful stained glass of Chartres. More...


Market days in Chartres are Wednesday and Saturday. Take a walk around the well-preserved 19th-century cast-iron Marché aux Légumes on the Place Billard off Rue des Changes. As might be expected, there are several good restaurants right around the market.

Marché des Légumes, Chartres, France
Marché aux Légumes, Place Billard, Chartres, France.

Other Churches

Chartres, like most French towns, has a number of historic churches. Two that are of interest and in easy walking distance of the cathedral are Saint-Aignan and Saint-Pierre. Both have long histories, interesting architecture, and lovely stained glass.

Vieux Ville (Old Town)

Besides the cathedral, the most historic parts of the town are along the river on the Rue de la Tannerie, Rue de la Foulerie, Rue aux Juifs and Rue Porte Guillaume. It's pleasant to walk down from the cathedral through Les Jardins de l'Évêché to and along the river to see some of the old houses and gates in the city walls.

Chartres en Lumières

Chartres en lumières is a splendid artistic illumination of the historic monuments throughout the town of Chartres, performed each year from early April through early October. More...

Esplanade de la Résistance


Monument to Jean Moulin & Resistance fighters, Chartres, France


Monument to the Resistance

M Jean Moulin, préfet (prefect, governor) of the Eure-et-Loire département (of which Chartres is the capital), was among the great Free French resistance leaders during World War II. He played an important part in organizing and leading the resistance along with Charles de Gaulle. Ultimately murdered by the Gestapo, he and other Eure-et-Loire resistance leaders and participants are honored with a Chemin de Mémoire (Memorial Walk) between Place Général de Gaulle and Place Châtelet, with monuments, descriptive signs, and a red granite statue of a clenched fist holding a broken sword, a symbol of the resistance.

Hotels in Chartres

Restaurants in Chartres

Transport for Chartres

Tourist Information

About Chartres

Chartres Cathedral

Day-trips from Paris


Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel: three girls, so many secrets...


Rose stained glass window, Chartres cathedral, France

Above, Rose window in the
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres.

Below, The main facade of the cathedral lit up during Chartres en Lumières.


Chartres en Lumieres, France


Serene - a novel of the Belle Époque, by Tom Brosnahan

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