Situated on the banks of the Eure River in the center of a plain known as La Beauce (renowned as the granary of France, thanks to the many miles of surrounding wheat fields), Chartres has been receiving visitors throughout the centuries. Its ancient granite stones exude a history that begins with the Celts and the Romans. Our Chartres tours evoke not only the history of the cathedral, but also that of the old town.
The cathedral we see today was constructed in less than thirty years during the 13th C., a period of remarkable purity of Gothic style, which it embodies. It stands on a site where records indicate at least three previous cathedrals had stood. A sermon in glass and stone, the building is ornamented with over four thousand sculptures and houses one of the finest collections of 13th C. stained glass in all of Europe. It also is home to a relic said to be the cloak of the Virgin, is therefore a marian church, hence its name, Notre Dame de Chartres.
Our Chartres tours reveal what makes the cathedral unique and initiates the visitor in the fine art of reading the Biblical stories, which are depicted in stained glass and stone. It may also include, upon request, a one-hour private tour of the cathedral with Malcolm Miller, who is renowned as the world’s greatest living authority on the subject. There is a separate fee for his private tour, which you can remit directly to him, if you wish.
Our Chartres tours will also take you on a walk through the old town, draped on the side of a hill leading down to the river, where numerous restored mills evoke professions (millers, dyers, drapers, tanners, curriers, fullers, and tawers, to name a few) of bygone eras that no longer exist. One of them, the Moulin de Ponceau, with its lovely views of the old town, is a charming spot to have a delightful country lunch.
We usually propose our Chartres tour in conjunction with either visits to Mont Saint Michel (during summer hours), Bourges, Versailles or Giverny—to make a complete one-day excursion from Paris. There are sites such as Maintenon and Anet that are more close-by.
For more information or to book your Chartres tour, please contact us at our US number (631) 600-1120.