Chartres in half a day

Jan 2nd, 2014, 10:46 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,132
Chartres in half a day

No, it's not what I'd like, but it may be all the time we can get. We'd have to take an early afternoon train from Paris and return late afternoon or early evening.

The point is, is it even doable. No question we'll have to sacrifice seeing the town itself, but with luck we can at least get a first visit to the cathedral.

Thoughts, advice, criticisms all welcome.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:01 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,921
It's doable just to visit the cathedral, although I was surprised on how few trains there were and how long it took when we went there. The cathedral will take only a couple of hours to visit, but if the visit is planned for this month, I would choose a lunch in Chartres and then a visit to insure better lighting of the stained glass.
Michael is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:05 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,132
Thank you Michael for your quick reply.

You make a good point about the lighting. Do you know if the scaffolding for the renovations has been removed?
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:22 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,921
I don't know.
Michael is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:40 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
I would do it. A half day is better than not seeing the church.
adrienne is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:52 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,132
Well, I have yet to determine if the renos are complete, but here is an interesting perspective on the results thus far:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/arts/arts...ation-tragedy/
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:00 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,443
The renovations will continue through 2015, but according to the website they are now working on the interior (which might or might not involve scaffolding, I suppose).

I would try to do it, but be sure to examine the train schedules carefully.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:02 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,132
Here's some photos comparing restored and unrestored sections. (note, not everyone disapproves of the cleaning, Malcolm Miller is in favour.)

http://www.a-sense-of-place.com/2013...otographs.html
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:03 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,443
Forgot to add, in case you're wondering...from November to Easter, Malcolm Miller gives tours only at noon. From Easter until the end of October, his tours are at noon and 2:45 pm.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:10 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,132
oops, just saw adrienne's and St. Cirq's replies. Thank you both.

Yes, that's what I'm thinking, that some Chartres cathedral is better than none.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:15 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Malcolm might give tours IF enough folks show up - I arrived once with my son and waited for his scheduled afternoon tour and only a handful of others were there - Malcolm arrived late, smelling of wine after a lunch and haughtily announced that unless we all agreed to pay double his normal price "I have better things to do"

we all paid and the tour went on but if we did not give into his extortion it would have been cancelled.

that said and though after several tours with unsavory incidents on Malcolm's part - berating one tour member for not paying enough attention and on another yelling at some local French youths who were he said purposefully buzzing his outside spiel on flying buttresses with their loud mopeds and no doubt they were just to provoke such reactions. Fodors thread on Malcolm report more tawdry incidents on his part

But his tours bring the cold stones to life and I've always enjoyed them - take them if you can but don't count on him actually doing them if enough don't show up or pay more than expected.

the cathedral is within view of the train station so it don't take long to get there from the train and the town center is also adjacent - like most French regional towns things are open to 7u pm or so weekdays but little open on Sundays.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:52 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Chartres has excellent rail service - going back to Paris trains go hourly until 4:30 then increase to twice hourly during the rush hour to 7 pm or so then hourly for another few hours.

and unlike TGV trains you can hop on any of these regional trains with a valid ticket - be sure to 'compost' or validate your ticket by sticking them into machines before boarding the train or you will be considered to be riding without a valid ticket as some trains are on the honor system with no ticket takers but spot checks to catch and fine miscreants - so validate the ticket before getting on the train (unless things have changed recently this is the policy with regional trains).
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:54 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,962
Got it Pal.
DO try for a Malcolm Miller tour. There are nice cafes right across the street from the cathedral.
And yes, he was abrupt with others in the cathedral who were talking!! Curmudgeon maybe, but a knowledgeable one. He even likened one of the windows to a church that is two blocks from me (and he didn't know where I lived)!!
Gretchen is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 08:55 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,753
I've been there twice and never spent a couple hours just seeing the church. I've never spent a couple hours seeing any church that I can think of for just the church itself. I think a half day is fine. There isn't that much to see in Chartres anyway, last time I was there I went to this stained glass museum but it wasn't that great anyway (and not very big).

They have a train to Chartres about every hour from Montparnasse station, I don't understand the comment about how few there are. There are trains a bit past noon, 1 pm and 2 pm. There are return trains about every hour or more, also. The trip takes about 90 minutes.
Christina is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 02:26 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Chartres does have some other fascinating things - like its Little Venice - an old canal lined by ancient mills, etc and especially Picassiette's House, ubiquitously listed amongst the world's best example of Art Brut -
"The term Art Brut was first used by the painter Jean Dubuffet to refer to a range of art forms outside the conventional dictates of the art world."

And Picassiette was a local street cleaner who would collect shards of glass, broken cups, whatever he could to fashion works of art that now fill his house and garden - many in the image of the famous Chartres cathedral - his house is about a mile from the town center and to me makes a fascinating visit.

https://www.google.com/search?q=pica...=1600&bih=1074
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 02:27 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
http://www.discover-chartres.com/mai...cassiette.html

Tells more about Picassiette and his house and gardens - the name Picassiette was supposedly given to him by local kids who mocked his 'art' by giving him the feminine name of Picasso.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2014, 03:36 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,443
I've been to Chartres at least a half-dozen times and always spend at least a couple of hour in the cathedral and on the grounds and then some more time wandering around the town, which I find fairly charming for a northern France town (which tend to hold less appeal to me than ones more southerly). I like the shops and restaurants in the small pedestrian part of town. But at any rate, no matter how much time you've got, go!
StCirq is online now  
Jan 4th, 2014, 01:00 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,058
Hi Sue
If you have the time, Chartres has a self-guided walking tour that we took; you just follow the plaques set into the pavement. You can pick up an information leaflet at the visitor centre right by the cathedral, so you have details about what you are seeing.
We ran short on time so left out one of the longer loops on the route, but it was lovely to get a bit of an understanding about the city as well as seeing the cathedral. Di
di2315 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2014, 04:06 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
chartres also has a Little Venice - one of zillions in Europe - that is about a mile from the town center but very picturesque with old mills and warehouses lining a small canal-type river.

and then there is St Piere - a monumental church that in any other town would be the centerpiece of religious architecture but sadly overshadowed here by the famous cathedral.

Nothing else in Chartres - well no if you don't look for it it is not apparent but there is enough for a whole day here.

https://www.google.com/search?q=st+p...=1600&bih=1074
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 4th, 2014, 04:54 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,108
I love Chartres and was there this past September. I was hampered by a broken toe which severely limited my walking. I can see from this That there is so much more that I must go back!

I did explore some of the old part of the city. On Saturdays there is a farmers' market just a block or so from the cathedral. I saw a few vegetables that were new to me.

If a few hours is all that you have, so be it. Do the trip!
irishface is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:56 AM.