We just finished two days of exploring Chartres, a city about a hour to the south and west of Paris but many more miles away in terms of peace and a small-town feeling evoking a time more than 900 years ago.
Chartres is not just amazing for its huge cathedral, although that is worth several photo books on its own. The town also has numerous picturesque alleyways, narrow lanes, steep inclines and half-timbered houses from the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Besides the famous cathedral there is enchanting St. Pierre, a church connected to a Benedictine Abbey which was dissolved during the French Revolution in 1798. Its stained glass windows are every bit as fascinating as the more famous ones in the cathedral at the top of the town. But, we had the ancient church to ourselves, while the cathedral is always busy.
The lower town is also the site of the Eure River and the lovely old houses and former mills and wash houses along its banks. Numerous stone bridges invite one to linger and if you are lucky, to kiss a young girl for what seemed like hours. Not that any of us fellows were noticing, of course.
Chartres is a new discovery for us, and one that we are eager to bring guests to in the future.