Day Trip: Chartres

Highlights: Important cathedral; quaint town; great tower views
Duration: Four to eight hours
Exertion level: Low to moderate
Accessible by: Train

Chartres Cathedral Wall

The Chartres Cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Photo: Juliette Culver.

To see

The Cathedral Notre-Dame of Chartres has been an important sacred site since the ninth century, although the cathedral visible today dates back only eight centuries (not too shabby!). After a fire in the late 12th century, the cathedral's body was rebuilt and completed in the early 13th century.

The resulting Gothic cathedral is one of Europe's most stunning. It is worth a lengthy visit, as it's full of interesting elements and details. Among these, be sure not to miss the porch sculptures and stained-glass windows that date back to the 12th century. Admission to the cathedral is free. Those wanting to ascend the tower will need to fork over €7.50.

While the Cathedral is clearly the main draw in Chartres, the town itself is very appealing as well. Little alleyways and streets are a charming medieval counterpoint to the cathedral's enormous scale. Riverside walks are also recommended.

Getting there

The train journey between Paris Montparnasse and Chartres takes just over an hour. A round trip journey costs €28.

For more information, take a look at the official Chartres tourist site.

More day trips

Looking for more getaway suggestions? Check out our article on day trips from Paris.