Chartres, Giverny or Fontainblue?

May 29th, 2003, 06:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
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Chartres, Giverny or Fontainblue?

Has anyone been to Chartres? Aside from the cathedral, I hear the medieval town of Chartres is lovely. I'm wondering if any of the shops in town might be open on a Sunday, or if they would be closed?

I can't decide which place to spend 1/2 a day: Giverny, Chartres or Fontainblue. I've been to Versaille (though not the gardens)so I was looking for something close to Paris.
piglet is offline  
May 29th, 2003, 07:02 PM
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I have been to all three and loved them all. Chartres is magnificent,I felt an awe deep insdie me while in the cathedral and the tow is also very nice. I couldn;t say if the shops were open on Sunday as I wasn't there on one. I can say that the natives were some of the friendliest. I was traveling with my older handicapped Mother and were there during a slow time of day.
We wandered into a small hotel and wanted tea. They opened the closed restaurant made us tea and we sat there while old men played cards and chatted with us in broken english. Truly a memorable day.
Giverny was incredible both in April and late May. I felt like I was inside a painting. The Chatres and then Fountainbleu
mrsbu is offline  
May 29th, 2003, 07:25 PM
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A half day is sufficient if you time everything right. By half a day, I am looking at 8 to 10 hours or so.
Fontainebleau is quite doable from Gare de Lyon by train to Fontainebleau Avon station. A city bus takes you to the gates and back right down main street.
Giverny is more of a challenge because of the train schedule, but plan on either an early departure or leave about noon for Vernon from Gare St. Lazare.
bob_brown is offline  
May 29th, 2003, 09:44 PM
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You might also consider Auvers-sur-Oise. I'm afraid that I can't remember the exact details of how to get there (train) but if you are a Van Gogh fan you won't be sorry. I went there as a day trip from Paris a few years ago and had a pic nic by the river (the Oise), saw the church that Van Gogh painted, the corn fields (that gave me a shiver down my spine it was so familiar from the paintings) and the graveyard where Vincent and Theo are buried in simple graves side by side.
THE is offline  
May 29th, 2003, 10:33 PM
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Hi, I was interested to see someone suggesting Auvers-sur-Oise. As someone who has done Chartres & Fontainebleu (Chartres is the one that will stay in my memory - the cathedral is a totally emotional experience and the town is pleasant), I had Auvers-sur-Oise as a "must" on my next trip (Sept 2003). Does anyone know a hotel Le Cabrouillet (my spelling may be slightly out) just up the road in L'Isle-Adam? I thought I might stay there and would appreciate an opinion. Thanks, Tony
twoflower is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 10:21 AM
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Just wanted to emphasize how great Auvers-sur-Oise can be. If you are driving to or from CDG to Giverny, it makes a great stop. When exiting CDG take the exit (sortie) for Cergy - Pointoise and you are directed on a deserted motorway with NO traffic. Exit on the N14 and head toward Paris; the next exit is for Auvers-sur-Oise. Skip the pseudo-Impressionist Museum; it is not worth the time or expense. Spend your time visiting the house where Van Gogh died, the cemetery where he and Theo are buried, and the church. The town is charming and has free parking in the center of town near the Hotel de Ville (City Hall).

If you are visiting Giverny, take time to visit Chateau Bizy (spelling may be off). We were so surprised by the beauty and opulence of this chateau located on the outskirts of Vernon. Take the Vernon exit from the motorway (between Paris and Rouen) and Bizy is located on this road just before you enter the Vernon city limits. Tours are guided and in French but we had an English leaflet.
Dorothy01 is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 11:34 AM
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I've been to all those places by car/train/bus, but haven't stayed or eaten there. If you get the chance, I would recommend that you visit the gardens at Versailles, vast and nice. Chartres cathedral is outstanding and you will see many recommendations on a guide on this forum (I bought a guide book and meandered). Fontainbleau was interesting. When I went I was with 2 other people and they gave us the tour, followed by a behind the scenes tour of the non-restored rooms. Grounds are large and good for a quick look. Went to Auvers sur Oise this past January. Visited his grave, saw the church he drew, house he died in, memorial park,etc...Nice small town in the countryside. I especially liked some of the old, vine covered buildings off of the main street. If I remember correctly, this is an anniversary year of..his death (?). I picked up some pamhplets at the tourist bureau (they show a movie of his life here, free) and there were many events celebrating it (stuff is at home).Drove through town of Ile Adam, nice town (great bakery, but what else is new!) but can't help with hotel. Very easy drive from Paris (at least distance wise!)

Michel_Paris is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 11:41 AM
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generally, active churches and cathedrals are not open for tourism visits on Sundays, especially not in the mornings when services are going on.
At Chartres, even if you go to the service, the portable chairs set up for seating during a service may obscure the very interesting floor labryinth.

information on Chartres, including hotels and restaurants:

not such a good website except that you can see a map of the town:

info on the labyrinth that is set into the floor of the cathedral:

basic info, with links:
elaine is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 11:46 AM
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I meant to give you these as well Auvers-sur-Oise tourist office

An article about Van Gogh and sites near Paris (including Auvers) related to his life
elaine is offline  

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