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Day trips to Chantilly & Chartres from Paris

Day trips to Chantilly & Chartres from Paris

Old Oct 3rd, 2007, 02:45 PM
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Day trips to Chantilly & Chartres from Paris

Hi everyone - quick question - looking for information on how best to take a day trip from Paris to Chantilly and Chartres (on sepearate days). Do you recommend train and self tour? Any group tour I don't know about? Any lunch spots that I should look out for at either spot? Any advice/experience is appreciated. Merci!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2007, 04:38 PM
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Chartres is very easily dome by train on your own - takes only about 30 minutes.

Chantilly depends on what you want to see. I would see what tours are available - since they may be able to show you things hard to see on your own.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:16 PM
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Chartres is an hour on regional trains from Paris Montparnasse. Yes, easy to do.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Saw both towns by train from Paris. Very easy and you don't need a city guide.

In Chartes, be sure to check out Malcolm Miller's tour of the cathedral. I did a quick search on Fodor's but couldn't find a phone number. Try a more in depth search here or check when you're in Paris for timing and to be sure he's still doing these tours. There used to be tours 2x/day. This tour makes a big difference. Maybe someone else is doing it now and still worth it. Chartes can easily be done in half a day.

In Chantilly, we simply walked from the train station, visited the horse museum and the palace and headed back. Probably took most of the day.

No restaurant recommendation; just ate wherever.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2007, 07:47 PM
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I just want to add that we were enthralled by the lovely old town of Chartres, from below the Cathedral, down to the river, and meandering along. Just beautiful.
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Old Oct 6th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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Thanks for the information!
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Old Oct 6th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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We just returned from 2 wks in Paris and took a day trip to Chantilly. A self tour is easy to do. You take the RER (D line I think) to Chantilly - it's less than an hour. On arrival in Chantilly we first took a bus trip to Senlis, then took the Senlis-to-Chantilly bus, getting off at the Musee du Cheval stop to get to the chateau. There is a free shuttle bus to the Chateau that can be taken from the bus station (which is a left turn out of the Chantilly train station -- and also where you'd get the Senlis bus)but the Senlis bus connection worked better for us. There aren't any bus schedules posted at the bus station (which is really just a bunch of bus stops, with no building); we got ours from the tourist info office. If you don't have a schedule, I would just ask the driver of the first bus that comes and he should be able to tell you -- I don't know if they have schedules at the train station.
It's easy to do on your own, but be aware that parts of the Chateau can only be accessed by joining a tour with a guide provided by the chateau (no extra charge). We were unaware of this and toured the rooms that don't require a guide by ourselves until coming upon a sign that indicated the grand rooms require a guide. So we asked about this and were told when the next tour would take place and joined it (in French). After that tour was over we found that the last tour for the bedrooms had already taken place, so we didn't get to see that part of the Chateau. So, check on the tour schedule when you get to the Chateau so you don't miss out. There were lots of staff at the entrance to the Chateau, but they didn't really go out of their way to let people know about this. There may be English tours on weekends, but French was all that was offered when we were there last Wednesday. Neither of us speaks French well enough to have understood the guide, but it's the only way to see the rooms.

After reading a lot of positive comments about Senlis we decided to do both. We should have left Paris earlier. I think we left Paris about 10:30 (we just missed a train) and we ended up having to cut short our time in Senlis. If you want to do both, I highly recommend you get an earlier start than we did. We weren't as impressed with Senlis as we thought we'd be -- perhaps we didn't give it enough time, due to our late start. And we didn't have time for the Musee du Cheval. If we had it to do over again, we would have gone to the Chateau first and then Senlis after if time allowed.

When we were ready to leave the chateau (around 5:30 or so), we found there were no shuttle buses to take us back into town (maybe there are more buses scheduled during the peak tourist season). We could have gone back to where we got off the Senlis bus (Musee du Cheval stop -- which is not right in front of the musee), but there wasn't a bus due for 30 minutes and we decided we could walk back to the train station quicker. Whichever bus you take, ask the driver where to catch a return bus. The walk from the Chateau into Chantilly isn't too bad (probably 20 minutes) -- we walked back to where we'd gotten off the bus and kept heading on that road. When we got into town we were a bit unsure which direction we should go for the train station, so we stopped in a shop (think it was called the English Shop) and the lady there was a nice English woman who showed us a map of the town and a shortcut through a park to the train station.
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Old Oct 27th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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We were asked to leave Chartres 10 minutes after we arrived by train from Paris. Nothing I had read had prepared me for what would happen next. We were told to vacate because a pilgramage was on their way. There was an outdoor cafe in the square on the same hill as the cathedral so we sat to wait it out (and fume). In no time, we began to hear distant voices that grew louder and louder as they climbed the hill. Next, we saw their crosses and flags bobbing in the air on sticks. By then we could make out the sounds of children singing hymns. As they crested the hill we were blown away by the vision, sounds and all that they represented as hundreds of orderly children accompanied by chaparones walked along singing the hymns of their home churches. We discovered that they had walked and camped from their central meeting place in Paris, Notre Dame. We were so enthralled we made our way to the back of the cathedral where a kind and understanding custodian allowed us to step in and watch from the back. The interior of the church was dark except for the alter where a priest was leading the singing. The light from the front door as it stood open was like a flashlight in the dark. As the children entered the cathedral they joined the leader and sang the same hymns as they made their way to their seats.
It was the day after Pentecost and I will never forgot it.
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