There’s so much to do and see in Paris, but sometimes it’s nice to escape the constant hustle and bustle of the City of Lights. Lucky for me, that’s easier said than done! There are plenty of attractions in and around the suburbs and beyond Paris. All you need is a train ticket and a small weekend bag to pack the essentials.
A few weekends ago, I spent two days with my friends Lolo and Mathieu in their quaint apartment in the village of Chartres. My boyfriend was spending the weekend in Normandy participating in a regatta and I was left to my own devices. So, I phoned up Lolo and quickly made plans for that weekend.
Chartres is most known for its stunningly gorgeous cathedral, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres. For its notable difference in the architectural style of the two spires. Pictured below is an example of French Gothic and Romanesque styles. The reasoning behind the two different styles? They were simply started in two different eras.
The cathedral is also known for the stunning stained glass windows that have practically survived since the Middle Ages. That’s quite a long time! The stories told in these windows are stories from the Bible because, at the time, many of the churchgoers could not read. The stained glass windows at Chartres tell so many of those stories we are subconsciously familiar with, from the New and Old Testament alike.
The most notable and breath-taking thing about the stained glass at Chartres is the vivid and vibrant colors, especially the blue, or Chartres Blue. At first glance, these windows seem like jeweled tapestries delicately hanging on the wall of the church. But in fact, they are windows that are practically perfectly preserved in their original form (from almost 800 years ago). Thankfully, during the many wars that this country has seen, the church has withstood the test of time.
Chartres is one of my favorite places to visit if you haven’t figured that out already! And mainly for this stunning cathedral. The beauty of the architecture and the grandioseness makes one feel small and humble.
If you have the chance to visit this little town, make a point to stop and spend several hours wanding around the cathedral. Take a seat in one of the chairs and admire the craftsmanship that is both exhibited interior and exterior. Also, be sure to add the International Stained-Glass Center to your to-do list when in Chartres. This is a beautiful collection of past and present stained glass and there is a plethora of information all pertaining to stained glass.
My newest obsession: Carré Vanille Chocolatier/Pâtissier, where they craft simply divine confections. You have to buy one of their boxes of the Pavée Chocolates. These tiny little chocolates are covered in cocoa powder that makes your heart melt.
And now that you’re probably drooling on your keyboard, I’ll bid you adieu. I should probably get my day started, the apartment is not going to clean itself!