Famous for its Notre-Dame cathedral, city of the architect Jehan de Beauce and the famous writer Charles Péguy, Chartres is a subtle blend of history and modernity. Dynamic and lively, it conceals small architectural, cultural and gastronomic treasures

Notre-Dame de Chartres, a majestic ambassador

Situated on the highest point of the city, at an altitude of 170 m, Chartres Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can be seen from more than 20 km away. The view of this 12th and 13th century masterpiece should soon be "under protection". A procedure will soon prohibit the construction of buildings that are too high within a 30 km radius. In addition to its 4,000 sculpted figures and 5,000 characters represented on 2,600m2 of stained glass, Chartres Cathedral has a magnificent example of a labyrinth. A place of prayer, the cathedral is also a privileged place for music, with the organ holding an important place. From spring to autumn, orchestral and vocal ensembles perform regularly. Just a few steps away, you can discover the only museum in France dedicated exclusively to stained glass: the Centre international du Vitrail. Demonstrations, guided tours, workshops and courses allow young and old alike to learn about the different stages in the creation of a stained glass window by a master glass artist

The Picassiette House is also a must-see. Built and decorated between 1930 and 1963 from pieces of broken crockery and earthenware, it is an unusual example of naïve art and has been awarded the "20th Century Heritage" label. The work of Raymond Isidore from Chartres, a worker born in 1900, it required 29,000 hours of work over 33 years. It is generally open from mid-March to mid-November.

A natural heritage for beautiful walks

In the heart of the city, several green spaces make Chartres a city where life is good, with its "4 flowers" label. Classic, horticultural, natural or contemporary, Chartres' parks and gardens all have their own identity. The Jardins de l'Évêché, just behind the cathedral and listed as a Historic Monument, offer an exceptional panorama of the lower districts of the medieval city and the banks of the Eure. At the gates of Chartres, the Sakuraï Garden offers a breathtaking view of the cathedral. At the Parc des bords de l'Eure, you can take a walk in a green and shady setting

Chartres en lumières, a unique event in the world

The city has managed to preserve and enhance its historical heritage through events such as Chartres en lumières... For several years now, from April to the end of December, dozens of key sites in the heart of the city and in the lower town are illuminated from dusk to 1am (10.30pm from 31 October 2021). The Saint-André Collegiate Church, the Fine Arts Museum, the theatre and of course the cathedral make Chartres the world capital of light. Stroll through the old town to enjoy the scenographies

A cultural destination

Chartres also offers a complete cultural program. Classic or contemporary theatre, comedy, song, dance or circus, there is something for everyone.

The Fine Arts Museum is housed in the former bishop's palace. It exhibits year-round collections of ancient and modern art, including works by Zurbarán, Chardin, Vlaminck and Soutine, as well as a vast collection of Oceanic art and a set of 17th and 18th century harpsichords. Painting, sculpture, photography, mosaics: contemporary art has also found its place in Chartres. Discover all its facets in the heart of an artist's studio and three exceptional heritage sites forming the "Chemin des Arts": the gallery of contemporary mosaics in the Chapelle Saint-Eman, the Collégiale Saint-André and the Prieuré Saint-Vincent. The twinning of Chartres with the Italian city of Ravenna explains this attraction for mosaics. Ravenna is to mosaics what Chartres is to stained glass

The Conservatoire du Machinisme et des Pratiques agricoles is also worth a visit. It is the first French museum dedicated to agriculture. Machines and tools testify to the great upheavals of the agricultural world in the 20th century. But let's get back to art because, at the bend of a street or a square, works of art are everywhere in Chartres city centre. From the Art Deco facade of the restaurant Le Pichet 3 created for the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition, to Les Croisés (renamed Les Samouraïs), three bronze statues by the sculptor Rachid Khimoune at the corner of Rue du Bois Merrain and the two statues by the German artist Hanneke Beaumont to be discovered at Place Châtelet.

A gourmet spot to discover with the locals

As the town where Henri IV was crowned King of France, it is not unusual to see the famous "poule au pot" (chicken in a pot) on the menus of restaurants in Chartres in memory of this event, especially during the "Henri IV Weekend" which takes place every year at the end of February. You can also taste the Chartres pâté... This pie, essentially composed of pieces of game and filled with a medallion of foie gras, is famous since the 18th century. Otherwise to eat in Chartres, you will be spoilt for choice, the city has dozens of excellent restaurants. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, you can also enjoy a charming little food market on Place Billard, under a Baltard-style hall, near the cathedral. A flower market, Place du Cygne, takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. An organic market is also organised on Wednesdays.

Finally, if you want to discover the city in a different way, share moments with the inhabitants and get to know "their Chartres", you can book a walk with one of the Chartres greeters. The advantage is that each greeter has his or her own approach and anecdotes! To register, simply visit the dedicated website. Note also that the tourist office offers, throughout the year, themed tours suitable for the whole family. Ideal destination for a short stay, the city of Chartres will enchant and surprise you whether you are with your partner, friends or family.


When to visit? You can go there all year round. Chartres en Lumières takes place from April to the end of December, every day from dusk to 1am (10.30pm from 31 October 2021).

How to get there. By train, Chartres is 1h15 from Paris. By road, A11 motorway (from Nantes 2h45, from Le Mans 1h10, from Paris 1h)

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