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Sightseeing in Chartres - what to see. Complete travel guide

Chartres is a wonderful French city situated on the bank of the Eure River. This settlement is located approximately 96 kilometers from the French capital. Chartres is situated in the geographical center of the country. For many tourists, Chartres is a “city of lights”. When the sun goes down, twenty-seven buildings in the city become participants of a marvelous light show that combines visual effects, sounds, and music. Due to its rich cultural and historical heritage, Chartres is an interesting place to visit for everyone interested in sightseeing. The Eure-et-Loir department (Chartres is its capital) is a picturesque place with many mesmerizing views.
In the past, Chartres was one of the main Celtic cities. With the start of the Gallo-Roman epoch, the city changed its name to Autricum. Later, it was famous as civitas Carnutum (the city of the Carnutes). The latter name later evolved to Chartres, the modern name of the city. Normans completely burned the city down in the middle of the 9th century. The city’s authorities rebuilt the settlement, and Chartres became an important center of trade in the Middle Ages. Later, Chartres gave its name to a whole county of the Blois family. During the Hundred Years’ War, the British managed to capture the city and own it for fifteen years starting from 1417.
Chartres got an upgraded status at the end of the 20s of the 16th century. It became a duchy during the reign of Francis I. In the 1870s, when France was in a war with Prussia, German troops occupied the city and stayed in Chartres for a long time. During World War II, Chartres suffered from numerous bombings. Naturally, they caused many deaths among civilians and many buildings were destroyed by bombs thrown from airplanes. The cathedral is the only major landmark that has survived. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
Do you want to learn more about Chartres? The best way to do this is to visit the major attractions of the city. Chartres Cathedral is the first landmark that many tourists prefer to visit. The construction of the gorgeous building started yet at the end of the 12th century and lasted 31 years. This is one of the best-preserved Gothic cathedrals in the country. The cathedral consists of a basilica with three naves and two adjacent towers in the western part of the building.
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres is acclaimed for its unique stained-glass windows that cover an area of almost 2,700 square meters. Bright colors of the windows haven’t become pale over the centuries. If you take a closer look at them, you will notice pictures of different themes: scenes from the Bible and images of sponsors who donated their money for the cathedral.
There is a ring-shaped labyrinth in the middle. The length of this labyrinth is 258 meters, which is equal to the length of the road to Calvary that Jesus Christ walked for the crucifixion. In the past, Christians entered the church, fell down on their knees, and crawled in the labyrinth while saying prayers. This ritual was equal to the pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the past. According to a local legend, Virgin Mary put her cover on the cathedral, thus saving it from fires, damages, and unnecessary reconstructions.
When taking a stroll on the streets of Chartres, step into La Maison Picassiette. This is a one-of-a-kind building, the likes of which are not available anywhere else in the world. The artistic façade of the building is eye-catching, so it is impossible to pass the mansion by. The artist created a true masterpiece that has become an important landmark of Chartres. This is a fabulous example of naïve art. The skillfully made mosaic covers all outer walls of the mansion, creating a whole complex built in the same style.
Not only outer walls feature interesting mosaic. Inner walls, ceilings, floors, the garden, and inner yard – all of them are covered with identical mosaic pieces. To create this absolutely stunning architectural masterpiece, the artist used almost fifteen tons of such materials as ceramics, glass, plates, etc. All pieces form intricate patterns and are not just inserted chaotically. Tourists find it particularly exciting that even all furniture pieces inside the house have a similar mosaic. Initially, the master wanted to decorate walls only, but he got so inspired after seeing the result of his work that the thirty-year-old man couldn’t stop. It took him twenty-five years to complete the job.
Tourists can get to Chartres from the capital of France, Paris. Trains from the Montparnasse station to the right direction depart every hour. You will reach Chartres in one hour and nine minutes. By the way, there are double-deck trains that go to the city. If you enjoy looking at beautiful nature and scenic views in the train window, a ride on such a train will be very rewarding. French countryside is truly gorgeous.
Reference information
Map of all castles
Survived castles around Chartres
♥   Castle 'Château de Maintenon' Eure-et-Loir, 17.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Château de Baronville' , 17.9 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Château de Dreux' Eure-et-Loir, 34.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Château de Donjon de Houdan' Yvelines, 39.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Château de Dourdan' Essonne, 39.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all parks
National and city parks around Chartres
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Haute vallée de Chevreuse' , 50.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Perche' , 60.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Gâtinais français' , 72.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Vexin français' , 77.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Oise-Pays de France' , 113.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Sights around Chartres from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'

Sports and Recreation Center

From the series “Glass Architecture - Impressive Villas and Buildings from Glass”
Saint-Cloud is very popular city among fans of nature and adventure travellers. The main sightseeing of the city is a large landscape park with hundreds of wonderful trees, decorative plants and artificial lakes. This is a motherland of bicycle sport. The first official bike race was held there on the territory of a nice park in 1866. Nowadays the park has great cycle lanes. Vacationists will find there a lot of things to do. … Read further

The Palace and Park of Versailles

From the series “Top 15 Unesco Sites in Europe”
Huge crystal chandeliers, paintings and frescoes of impressive scale, refined furniture and variety of gilded sculptures make the place impeccable. The surrounding garden is worth the palace. It’s delightful to visit it in summer at the weekend, when a large fountain in the garden is working. On weekdays, the garden is available for public access. Guests can relax on one of the benches in the shade of trees, as well as walk through the garden and admire ancient sculptures. … Read further
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Sightseeing in regions nearby Chartres

All about Chartres, France - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the 'must see' things in Chartres, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Chartres in few days.
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