The cathedral is what springs to mind when most people think of Chartres.
And for good reason, because it’s an outstanding piece of medieval heritage and listed by UNESCO . If you’re keen enough you may need half a day or more to get to the bottom of the sculpture and stained glass windows.
But if you’re pressed for time you should also see as much as you can of old Chartres, especially the banks of the Eure River, which are as cute as they are historic.
And whatever you do, you have to stick around after sunset in summer, when Chartres monuments take on a new beauty with the help of creative light and sound shows.
Lets explore the best things to do in Chartres:
1. Chartres Cathedral
Built during the 12th century, Chartres Cathedral is one of the greatest pieces of gothic architecture, if not in France then the entire world.
And it’s one of those buildings that will hold your attention for hours if you let it.
This goes especially for the exterior with its romanesque sculpted portals, towers and flying buttresses, to the point where it might be a long time before you actually go inside.
Once you do you can climb the north bell-tower at 70 metres, solve the pilgrims’ labyrinth, gaze at the blue stained glass windows and marvel at the 200 sculpted figures depicting the lives of Christ and the Virgin around the choir.
And even pausing to study all of these magnificent details you’ll still hardly scratch the surface of this wonderful building.