Sep 6th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
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After a couple of days in the Loire Valley we will head back to Paris via Chartres. Beyond the cathedral is there any place you might recommend to see? Or for lunch? Thanks in advance for your help.
katina_l is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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La Vielle Maison at 5 rue au Lait is very good (and close to the Cathedral). A diverse menu and excellent wine list. We had very good service. The town is pretty and it is fun to wander around in it. But certainly the highlight is the magnificent cathedral. It can easily take up 3 hours. You should also climb the tower - there is a great view of the surrounding area from up there. You should stay away from the restaurant/bars located on the square facing the cathedral. Service is bad and the food is poor but expensive. They cater to the tourist trade.
TorontoSteven is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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well there are a few really ancient churches apart from the cathedral - St Pierre i think is one with wondrous stained glass as well. In any other city they would be the star church

But also visit Old Chartres, which is a short walk from the cathedral and town center - it borders a river and there are cute old wood-built houses draped over the canal-like languid river.

And there is also La Maison Picassiette, about a mile from the town centre, in an ordinary neighborhood and this is one of Art Naive's landmarks

Raymond Issadore (i think that's it) was a street sweeper who in the 20s thru 60s or such collected bits of broken ceramics, etc. up and brought them to his house and largely in the garden made them into mosaics of Chartres cathedral and other things.

There is a mini-cathedral, etc. and the garden is practically all covered with his work.

He got him name Picassiette supposedly from local kinds who mocked him and his artistic efforts with this feminized name of Picasso. They'd yell 'Fou' at him (nut case) and mock him.

Only in later years and after his death were his accomplishments come to be considered a landmark of Art Naive (aka Art Bruit) much like Watts Tour in L.A.

Maison Picassiette is set back from a modern urban street not far from the centre of Chartres (about 80 kilometres - 50 miles - southwest of Paris). ...

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LA MAISON PICASSIETTE- [ Translate this page ]Maison Picassiette 22 rue du Repos - 28000 Chartres Tél : 02 37 34 10 78 Tous les jours sauf mardi du 1 avril au 30 septembre ...

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PalenqueBob is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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Up to 3 hours? The cathedral in Chartres kept me occupied for two entire days.
quokka is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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Try to time your visit to get with one of Malcolm Miller's tours of the Cathedral. I spent the night in Chartres and did 2 of his tours - well worth it. He is quite a character, and has spent most of his adult life studying the cathedral.
Sue4 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2007, 04:11 PM
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I just spent the day in Chartres and took their city tour (they have audioguide tours available in different languages at the tourist center), which took about 2 hours. In retrospect, I think I would've preferred to spend more time at the cathedral, followed by the train tour (dorky, I know).

There's also a fairly nice canal walk that's marked on the map you can get at the tourist center, and I enjoyed the horticultural gardens and outskirts of town (as I was looking for a bit of country).
slangevar is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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There is also a COPA (sp/) exhibition or museum of old farm instruments just behind the Chartres train station.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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From a trip report I posted a while back -- hope this helps:
Chartres: A gorgeous cathedral that reminded me somewhat of the cathedral in Strasbourg. It just dominated all else around it and was striking in its massiveness and intricacy. Chartres was much smaller than I anticipated. Look for signs to the Centre Ville and it is almost too easy to find the underground parking garage near the cathedral. Since we got to Chartres at noon and had a lunch reservation at 1 PM, we decided to stroll the streets first, have lunch, and then stop at the cathedral. There are many quaint streets with half-timbered houses near the cathedral. It was very quiet, almost deserted. We walked in the old section, near the River Eure.

Lunch: Le Moulin de Ponceau, as its name implies, was once a mill along the Eure. It is but a few blocks from the cathedral. Surprisingly, the restaurant was almost full at 1:00. Since we had a reservation, they had saved a little table right next to the big picture window for us. The back portion of the restaurant juts out over the river and so you feel almost as if you are on a boat, watching the ducks go by and the river flow past you. The river was lined with huge willow trees. Our lunch was a very relaxed affair starting with an amuse bouche of shrimp remoulade and a bottle of wine. First courses were a ravioli of goat cheese and a wedge of sautéed, crusted brie served with a mesclun salad. That was followed by nuggets of beef and veal that were painstakingly wrapped in thin slices of sausage and roasted. And I had a mushroom risotto. I also tried a chaource cheese which was pungent, sour and salty. Delicious! Total cost with wine: 84.50 euros. (note: the prices that I give for meals include everything. We normally had 3 courses each, wine, sparkling water, and coffee/tea at the end of the meal. Sometimes we also had an aperitif or a dessert wine.)

Cathedral: The stained glass was overwhelming. As we walked into the nave, we saw Malcom Miller leading a tour group. I had his book (which painstakingly describes every stained glass panel) under my arm. Since the day was cloudy, the details of the glass were a bit more difficult to see but beautiful none the less. We also saw the labyrinth on the floor which was unfortunately covered by chairs. We (or maybe I should say I, and my husband dutifully follows me) have a ritual of climbing the towers of every cathedral we visit. I had let him wimp out on Sacre Coeur since we had already climbed several hundred stairs just to get up the hill. But not so today. We climbed the 300 steps in the North Tower and are rewarded with breathtaking views over Chartres. There were little balconies for viewing the carvings and the gargoyles. We climbed down and walked around the outside so see all of the portals and carvings.
I highly recommend Le Moulin de Ponceau and the tower climb. Happy traveling.
drbb is offline  
Sep 7th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the info. Sounds like a wonderful day trip from Paris.
Iwan2go is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Thanks for the valuable insight, we'll make the most of the time there with this help. Katina....

katina_l is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 09:00 AM
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Be sure to take the tour of the crypt; you buy tickets at the gift shop, which is on the right toward the back of the cathedral. Also, walk behind the apse for a great view of part of the old town. Take binoculars with you for examining the windows of the cathedral.

If you like Italian food, head to La Passacaille, down from the cathedral at 30, rue St-Même.
Underhill is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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If you take a MM tour, IMO he is better in the morning than the afternoon - more refreshed. And then if you are so inclined, you'll have the option to do his afternoon tour, too. He really is amazingly knowledgeable about the cathedral! Do check online for the days he is available; sometimes he is out of town on speaking engagements.
ggreen is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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"He got him name Picassiette supposedly from local kinds who mocked him and his artistic efforts with this feminized name of Picasso. They'd yell 'Fou' at him (nut case) and mock him".

There is more to it than that, it is a triple entendre joke.

Un pique-assiette is someone who invites himself to a meal or to a party to get free food : (piquer)
Isidore did not pick food, he picked up and collected broken dishes (assiettes).
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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i should have written "kids" not kinds

i took this info from when i researched the house for an article i once wrote on Chartres and it came from the Republique du Centre newspaper article about the house and they gave the derivative i mention. But yes it is a triple entendre - thanks.
PalenQ is offline  

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