No need to go very far away for a breath of fresh air when you live in Paris. This time, I decided to spend a weekend in Chartres. Only 1 hour away, Chartres is worth a visit, especially during their famous “Chartres en Lumières” festival which is on every year between April and October.
The city can easily be explored by foot. The first site you can’t miss and must visit is the stunning cathedral which is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The entrance is free so whether you believe in something or not, you have no excuse. You can always appreciate the amazing Gothic architecture and stained-glass windows.
Chartres is a small picturesque town. You will surely enjoy wandering through the pretty streets of the city centre. It is filled with quaint little shops. You might also encounter random street art taglines from the famous Miss Tic.
When you are feeling hungry, you might want to stop by la Villa Toscane for lunch, an authentic Italian delicatessen. However, it is best to arrive early or book a table.
If you are in need for greenery, I really recommend taking a walk along the Eure river. You will feel like you are right in the countryside. It is also worth exploring the area again at night with the Chartres en Lumières festival. This will give you a different perspective.
When looking for dinner, I recommend the best creperie in town : la Picoterie. The owner is welcoming and the menu offers a large choice of crepes, to suit all tastes. I strongly advise to book a table before going as it gets filled up very quickly.
Now, if you come during the “Chartres en Lumières” festival, several landmarks and monuments throughout the town will be animated with a beautiful and entertaining light show starting from 9pm and including historical reading and music.
If you do understand French, you can also go on a guided tour with their little train, starting around 9.30pm.Make sure you get there early though as the tour is very popular.
Before leaving Chartres, don’t forget to bring a few delicious souvenirs, including their famous almond macaroons, slightly different from the ones you will taste in Paris, and mentchikoffs. These are chocolates made with praline and butter and coated in a fine layer of meringue.
The addresses :
La Villa Toscane, 15 rue de la Pie – 28000 Chartres
La Picoterie, 36 rue des Changes – 28000 Chartres
La Chocolaterie / La Macaronnerie, 2 place du Cygne – 28000 Chartres