Located just an hour from Paris and on the doorstep of the famous châteaux of the Loire Valley, Chartres is known in France as the Capital of Light and Perfume.
Famous for its UNESCO World Heritage status cathedral, Chartres is a medieval city that will enchant you with its wealth of sites to visit.
In Chartres, history has always unfolded along the banks of the River Eure. The city experienced a number of invasions before becoming a spiritual and intellectual centre around the year 1000 AD. It has had to be rebuilt several times due to fires, the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of Religion. The cathedral at the heart of the city was the location for the coronation of King Henry IV of France. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, it incorporates 4,000 figures, 9 portals and 2,600 m² of stained glass windows. The spire of its steeple reaches a height of 112 metres and its two towers are visible from a great distance, acting as guide for pilgrims in the past.
Take a journey of discovery through Chartres' historical quarters: its half-timbered houses are superb, especially the oldest one which dates back to the 12th century at 29 rue Chantault. Follow the Tertre Saint-Nicolas, a little path that offers breathtaking views of the city. Visit the Maison du Saumon ("Salmon House") in Place de la Poissonnerie ("Fishmongers' Square"). Decorated with superb wooden sculptures, it proudly displays a salmon on its façade.
Every year, Chartres organises a series of "Summer Evenings" featuring concerts in the streets and cathedral. From April to October, the city gets a spectacular nocturnal makeover for the "Chartres en Lumières" event, in which a variety of buildings and monuments are lit up nightly. It is also well worth venturing outside the city to see some of the magnificent Châteaux of the Loire Valley in the surrounding areas. In addition, Chartres is situated in the heart of the area known as Cosmetic Valley, the global centre of perfumery and cosmetics. Every year the city organises the Chartres en Parfums week, dedicated to the art of perfume-making.
Walks, history, music and gastronomy are the main attractions of Chartres – a medieval yet resolutely modern city that is well worth a visit. To ensure your stay in Chartres is a unique experience, make sure you plan time to experience all it has to offer. Get ready for an unforgettable holiday!