Chartres Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres)
Stroll around the grounds and admire the grand exteriors and then head inside to discover stained-glass windows that are regarded as some of the best in the world. Visit the crypt, climb the Bell Tower for a views of Chartres, and find your way through the labyrinth, a medieval maze embedded in the floor of the cathedral. Tours of the cathedral are often combined with a walking tour of Chartres Town.
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Things to Know Before You Go
There’s a separate admission fee to enter the Cathedral and the Bell Tower; children go free.
Official cathedral tours are held in French only, so it’s worth visiting as part of an external tour if you want to benefit from a guide.
English language booklets are available from the Visitor Centre while souvenirs can be purchased in the gift shop.
The ground floor of the church is wheelchair accessible.
Put aside around one hour to explore the cathedral.
How to Get There
The cathedral is located in downtown Chartres and can be reached on foot from most central attractions. Trains from Paris Montparnasse take around an hour and arrive at Chartres Train Station, from which the cathedral is a 10-minute walk. There’s also a free shuttle bus that departs from the station regularly.
When to Get There
The church is open to visitors daily from 8:30am to 7:30pm throughout the year, except during the mass service that’s held daily at 11am for an hour. It can get busy in the summer months, when it’s best to plan an early morning visit to avoid the crowds. If you’re staying in town between April and October, return after dark when the cathedral is dramatically lit up as part of the Chartres In Lights festival. The labyrinth is only open on Fridays.
Things to Do in Chartres
While the cathedral is undoubtedly the star attraction, it’s worth taking the time to explore the historic town of Chartres too. A walking tour of the town reveals a maze of cobbled lanes and half-timbered buildings. Don’t miss the Gothic Église Saint-Pierre, which dates back to medieval times; Maison Picassiette, known for its mosaics; a stroll along the Eure riverside; and a visit to the International Stained Glass Centre.