I didn’t have much desire to go back to Paris, but when my friend Rachel said she really wanted to go there after visiting me in Berlin, I couldn’t say no. While planning our week in Paris, I realized Chartres Cathedral was within day trip distance, and I really wanted to see it.
Andy went to Chartres years ago and took a tour led by a guy named Malcolm Miller. This guy is an expert on the cathedral and apparently he is the absolute best guide for seeing and learning about this cathedral. Unfortunately he does not take reservations for his tours.
Rachel and I took the train and found our way to the cathedral, and once we got inside, we found a group of people waiting for the guide to show up. As the clock ticked closer and closer to the start time, someone went into the gift shop to ask about the tour.
It turns out Malcolm Miller had some kind of emergency and was not giving tours that day.
Rachel and I settled for the audio guide, but even that was hard to follow because the cathedral was undergoing renovations and some sections were blocked off. A live guide, even one who wasn’t “the best,” would’ve been much better than the audio guide.
We also happened to be there during the midday lunch break when the tower climb was closed.
So maybe this wasn’t the best planned day trip.
>>We also went to Versailles that day.
The cathedral was really pretty despite all of the mishaps. One of the most noticeable features is that the two towers of the church don’t match. They were built at different times, so one is in a Gothic style and the other is in a Romanesque style. It definitely gives the church a unique look.
Visiting Chartres Cathedral
Chartres Cathedral is located about an hour to an hour 15 minutes south of Paris by train and can be reached from the Paris-Montparnasse train station. The ticket was 16 euros one way, and the audio guide we purchased was 4.20 euros. If you decide not to go on your own, you can book a day tour from Paris like this one.
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